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New State Competition Calendar Eases Travel, Scheduling Concerns for Parents, Clubs Statewide

In the coming weeks, Washington Youth Soccer will be releasing the competition calendar for the 2010-11 year. While many core elements of the calendar have been preserved, a number of changes have been made based on the input of parents, coaches, referees, club administrators and others involved in youth soccer in our state.

It is the goal of Washington Youth Soccer that the new calendar will provide for streamlined, delineated seasons, easing travel, scheduling and competition concerns for all parties, while maximizing the opportunity for our state's young players to develop both on the soccer field, and off.

The resulting schedule, soon to be released, accomplishes the primary goal of accommodating seasonal play in a much more effective manner:

  • Shorter time commitments, bringing Cup play closer to the end of league competition
  • A more flexible schedule with fewer structured time commitments
  • An open format that allows all teams to play to their highest level
  • A minimum number of tournament Cup games to provide better value to participating teams
  • The right experience — playing at the right level, so that all games are competitive

"What we're trying to do is to streamline the schedule and put something together that doesn't vacillate with arbitrary holidays like Easter, Labor Day and Thanksgiving," says Washington Youth Soccer's Todd Lincoln. "We looked at the Long-Term Player Development Plan and thought, ‘How can we make sure that teams are getting the right number of practices and games, in a time frame that allows them to maximize their potential and ability?' We think that this new schedule will help achieve that result."

Recreational players will notice the least amount of change to their schedule, which will continue to feature league play in the fall, followed immediately by the annual President's Cup competition in November and December.

Players wishing to play select soccer in the fall and move directly into Cup play will now have the opportunity to do so, with Washington Youth Soccer allowing those club select and RCL teams that do not wish to participate in the State Championships to compete in the Challenge Cup in January and February.

"Moving those divisions of the Challenge Cup to January and February allows those players to wrap up their seasons before the spring, which will ease the scheduling for many of the high-school players and others who want to participate in spring sports, be it soccer, baseball or anything else," Lincoln says. "It will also put the Cup play much closer to the end of their season, so there isn't so much of a break in between."

The new schedule will also break the Cup season into three distinct six-week time frames, significantly easing the strain on volunteers, referees and the hundreds of other behind-the-scenes contributors who make these events seamless for the players and teams.

Additional changes that will help streamline the playing season include:

  • Ending the playing year by mid-May as opposed to Easter. This allows for a longer girls spring season, and sets definitive beginning and end dates, as opposed a schedule that varied with Easter.
  • Balancing tryouts over a number of weekends. By running Spring cup finals through a 3-5 week period, tryouts can be spread out over more weekends, significantly easing scheduling and workload pressures on clubs that do not have their own fields.
  • Split-season format for younger ages. This will allow for fewer double-headers in the spring as a lead-up to Cups, and provides an option for some Division-3 and below clubs to opt-out of Spring play to accommodate their multi-sport athletes.'
  • Early Spring league play in December and shorter Cup time frames. These allow the girls U15 and older players to play up to 12 matches without doubleheaders.
  • Cup seeding and a play-in format. This ensures like vs. like teams at the Cup level, increasing competitiveness in all games while reducing the number of weeks necessary to execute the Cup finals.

By managing the increasing demands being placed upon volunteers and referees, addressing the concerns of players of multi-sport athletes, offering teams choices about when to participate in a year-end Cup competition, fixing the schedule to certain dates as opposed to relying on variable holidays, and reducing the need for double-headers, Washington Youth Soccer hopes to have generated a competition calendar that helps better achieve its stated mission, "to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of the State of Washington's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition."

Details on the calendar will be released soon at washingtonyouthsoccer.org. If you have questions, please contact the state office at 877-424-4318.

Washington Youth Soccer

Washington Youth Soccer • 500 S. 336th St. Suite 100 • Federal Way, WA 98003
1-877-424-4318 (Toll Free) • (253) 4-SOCCER (476-2237)

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