Soccer is a tricky sport. Played and loved by millions on the planet, it is indeed a source of unity for the world. Though it began long ago and faced many ups and downs; but still it manages to have the biggest fan-base of any other sport. To no surprise, there is a colossal budget spent on adult Soccer Leagues world-wide. But the thing that might surprise you most is the gradual increase of budgets on the different levels in Youth Soccer Leagues. There’s been a general trend of a rise in registration of newbies in Youth Soccer Clubs since 2018, showing a developing craze of youngsters for Soccer.
If your kid wants to join a Youth Soccer Club just because he loves the game or wants to pursue Soccer as a career, then you must have a profound knowledge regarding;
- Nature of Play
- Categories in Youth Soccer
- Levels in Youth Soccer
- Credentials required from your Kid to enrol in any soccer club
- Necessary Equipment For Playing Football
So to help you out, we’ll be discussing several Levels in Youth Soccer;
How are they formulated? What are the specifications of each level and how each level helps build players for the next on? To make the young athletes technically sound and develop a sense of adoration and delight towards the game of soccer in them, various levels in youth soccer, especially, are formulated.
In the beginning, we’ll describe the different divisions of levels in youth soccer, based on age groups followed by the age classification in Youth Soccer.
So, let’s start;
Division IV Recreational 10U-Younger
Fun training sessions and short demonstrations are provided. Children grasp the basics of soccer. Coaches make every effort for the maximum participation of children in the game.
Division IV Academy 7U-10U
In the fourth division academy programs, trainers are allowed to teach individual skills to 7U-10U players in a team training format. This level of play is offered to clubs by a process of application.
Division III Recreational 11U-19U
Players who enjoy the sport for its social aspect and interested in skill development are added to this division. The requirement is that each player should participate in at least 50% of the game.
Division II Competitive 11U-19U
The players who want to continue to develop their skills are allowed to play through this level.
Super II Competitive 11U-19U
Players are selected from a broader spectrum based on talent and ability. Teams participate within the district which demands more dedication regarding travel and exposure.
Division I Competitive 11U-19U
Players are selected from across the state as Division I is acknowledged as the highest level of play with in-state. The selection criteria is based on a player’s ability, skill, and commitment to the sport. The game schedule and practice are more demanding. For 13U-19U, no playtime is required at this level.
Age Classification in Youth Soccer
In this case, age group variation mainly depends upon the league type;
Most of the clubs do not allow players in the 8-10 age group to tackle children but some clubs allow 80 percent of their children to play similar to the adult way. Restricting most of the exercises to scaled-down competitive groups, continuing up to 10 minutes, is the right practice.
The coaches enjoy this age group because they are energetic, and naturally have some poor habits but the good thing is that they are impatient to learn thus responsive and respectful towards authority. Be a little patient with this age group, could test you in terms of this. Children have the urge for prizes and rewards so this age group performs well when given the ambition for prizes.
This age group is a bit mature and less stubborn than the 13-14 age group because some of them have already played in the 8-10 age group. So yeah, they do listen to coaches pretty well. Sometimes, they perform things their way rather than listening to their coaches which might feel odd. But don’t worry as these habits can be left behind by setting proper and clear standards regarding accountability, techniques, and discipline. It takes absolute devotion of the coaches to train the players to their maximum potential.
Coaches have to make sure that they establish the required standards for everyone to keep the players in form. Praising them, rewarding them for extraordinary performances, correcting them on errors, will help them develop and reach their true potential.
The coaches find this age group challenging and frustrating. Kids may present weird behaviour, mostly due to a lack of interest in the sport. This is also the age of puberty which has to have an impact on the child’s psychology as dealing with that alone can be overwhelming.
At this age kids get an exposure of several things that may result in depiction of disrespectful behaviour. Lack of essential parental support also leads to a situation where players face a lack of interest in the sport. There are other cases where children don’t develop much and remain weaker concerning their age group. They are trolled or bullied by other teammates and due to a lack of knowledge of their predicament, they lose interest.
Slow-developing players figure out that soccer is not something they can continue further. They start losing hope and as a result lack interest. Coaches need to be more devoted and caring towards them as their concentration is breaking.
They, sometimes, face injuries, are scolded by parents for grades, face family issues, or take medical leaves. Thus it gradually becomes difficult for them to continue. Some players are weak, under confident, have insecurities but want to play. Such players need special attention.
Sometimes timidity among the players can be lethal on the field, you just need to motivate them and make them believe in themselves. Many players have brilliant intellect and skill regarding soccer. They would surely try to use their ideas rather than following the instructions. The coaches should persuade them on following the correct strategy and do share it with them if they have got any idea in their mind. Listening to such a player has a huge impact on their confidence and future performances.
At this age group, players are more sensible and develop a certain level of maturity. The players show a serious attitude towards the sport which is helpful for the coaches.
The coaches communicate on a better level to their players. This is because it is the time when they are being trained for under 19 tournaments. Players above 16 also play open age football. Coaches focus on skill development in their teams. New techniques and strategies are introduced at this level.
A proper schedule and even diet plans are followed. Training time also increases up to 1.5-2 hours a day depending upon intensity of the schedule.
At the age of 16, most of the clubs offer scholarships. Players intend to join other clubs and explore other avenues. Training is more demanding and drills are more hectic. Those who want to pursue soccer as a career perform up to their maximum potential and mark their names in Youth Soccer Leagues.
Several training techniques are observed in this age group, elite among those are mentioned as follows:
- 1v1 Diamond Shooting Drill
- 7v7 Scrimmages
- To lines or small goals
- Attack vs Defence
- Four corners passing game
- Shooting and defending drills
Balanced diet plans are meant to keep the players physically fit and healthy, so that their bodies are not stressed, they perform properly in drills and present the best of themselves on the soccer pitch. Players of this age group must have to follow a diet plan that consists of 60-65% carbohydrates, 20-25% fats, and 10-15% proteins.
Players that have joined since age 13-14 have well-developed soccer sense after all the years of conditioning through a well-versed system.
Winding this up, different age groups show different behaviour depending upon their maturity level and interest in the sport. Being the brightest is of the utmost regard in society.
The children are identified from an early age whether they are inclined towards sports or academics. Those with an interest in the sport are at an advantage. The age group 8-10 are the most easy-going children, 11-12 are enthusiastic about sport, 13-14 have various issues and often depict weird behaviour, 15-19 are mature and more passionate about the sport.
Before letting your kid join any level in a youth soccer club, as Guardian you must do the proper homework. Don’t be careless in showing hustle to fulfil your kids desire to join the club. Focus on player development must be appreciated rather than focus on winning.
Do have a check on your young gun, counsel him, show him love and respect so that he feels comfort opening up to you. In the end, Youngsters must understand that their current ability doesn’t decide their future in the sport. All you need is skill development, consistency and passion for the sport, future is all yours.