JR. VICTORY & LITTLE VICTORY GAME COMPETITION
4 Constant Goals When We Form Teams
- A Positive Team Experience For All: It is very important to Victory to provide a truly positive team experience for every player. This comes through regular positive interaction with friends, going through the highs and lows of winning and losing games in league competition, being challenged in new ways, and learning from one’s coach and teammates.
- Character Development: Team competition is an essential component of Victory because it teaches players CHARACTER, one of the club key core values. We want every player to to learn to be a TRUE CHAMPION in the midst of intense competition. This includes being humble in victory, gracious and perseverant in defeat, respectful to all in every occurrence during and after the game, and a selfless servant to one’s teammates. Learning to be this kind of person in the heat of competition takes time, but we want all the players to grow in this area in every game in which they compete.
- Fun With Friends: It is very important for every player to have fun with one’s teammates and friends by sharing in an intense competition experience together. Though the intensity and game results of competition can at times make the game not so fun, we strive to help players maintain the fun of the sport even in the midst of the challenges that comes with competition. Part of one’s character growth is learning to keep the fun in the game even in the midst of intensely pursuing excellence and winning games.
- A Strong Coach: We seek to provide a strong and stable coach who will work with, truly value, and believe in your child’s growth and development as an individual person, as a team member, and as a growing player in the game.
How Do We Form Teams?
In order of PRIORITY…..
- Geography/Site Location: Our teams are built first and foremost by players who sign-up to play at a specific site, school, or program. We seek not to mix players on teams who train at different sites or on different training days at the same site because it is very important to build cohesion between the team members from training sessions into the games. The only exception to this rule is when a team/age group at a given site has too few numbers and needs to combine with another team in order to play on game day.
- Age: Your child is placed on a competition team that is based on his/her age at the location and on the training day in which he/she is training. Players typically play on teams with children who are only 1 year older or younger than one another. In the case of smaller programs at a given site/day, the age difference between children may be a little bit more, but special care is given to create “sub-groups” to make sure children are training with and competing against children of one’s similar age (+ or – 1 year difference)
- Co-Ed & Gender-Based Teams: For teams with players ages 6 and below, co-ed teams are typically the norm as children are physiologically, mentally, and emotionally very similar to one another as they develop together in the game. However, once players turn around 7 years old, it is important to begin forming gender-based teams, either all-girls or all-boys teams, if there are enough players of one gender or another to do so. Though not a must immediately upon turning age 7 or 8, players develop far better in the game with others of the same gender due to having similar physical, emotional, mental, and social similarities, as opposed to those of the opposite gender who are progressively developing very differently in all these areas. The other very important element in the creation of gender-based teams revolves around children’s sense of identity. When children hit age 7 (give or take a year depending on the child), they all of a sudden begin gravitating towards those of the same sex due to their own awareness of the differences between themselves and those of the opposite gender. They feel far more comfortable hanging out and playing with others who are just like them. Therefore, it is at this point that gender-based teams become extremely important in order to make sure children feel comfortable playing and spending time with their teammates.
- Team Parity: It is very important to build competition teams that are as equal as much as possible to those with whom they are competing. Team parity is based on player talent and physical abilities, age, gender, and team chemistry. We will do all we can to set-up training groups in which all the children in a given group are generally equal to one another and to place teams in competition groups that are generally at the same ability, strength, and size level. The goal is to have great competition in which children learn to win with humility and lose (or tie) with grace as they play games against other teams which are generally equal to them.
- Friends: Playing with friends is a very important part of one’s competition experience, and we can usually accommodate so that buddies can play together. However, just to provide ample warning, we cannot guarantee this as team parity is more important and takes precedence of friends remaining together in order to provide a positive experience for everybody on the team and in the program. This means that we philosophically do NOT stack teams with friends simply so they can play together as this often results in either the team losing a lot of games or crushing all of their opponents which is counter-productive to teaching the children character and the fundamentals of the game.
- Team Numbers: We seek to build teams that have a minimum of 1 substitute and no more than 3-5 substitutes for a given game to make sure that there are enough players at a given game and that everybody gets plenty of playing time (We seek to have players play minimally 75% of every game depending on the number of subs).
League Competition – What League Are We In, Whom Do We Play, & Why?
- Our Little Victory and Jr. Victory teams play in the Junior Champions League, a multi-club developmental league whose mission is to develop players’ character through quality competition.
- The JCL’s goal is to set-up playing divisions in which teams will play against opponents who are relatively similar to them in strength, size, and ability in order to foster fun and development in the game and in players’ character and to provide an opportunity for all teams to both win and lose games. Though Victory and the league work very closely together to meet this standard, there is NO GUARANTEE that every team will always be in a division or play competition that is exactly their strength due to the constantly changing nature of youth sports teams. We will do our best to place each child’s team properly, but please be patient with Victory and the JCL as we develop good competition for all of the teams involved in the league which is not always an easy feat.
- All teams for children U5-U8 will play in co-ed divisions due to nature of youth recreational/ developmental soccer.
- U9/U10 teams will play in either a co-ed division or a gender-based division in the league depending on the number of teams that have similar strengths and abilities. Gender-based teams and divisions are the ideal for this age division but are not always the reality for some clubs due to number of children who have signed-up in the league.
Expectations On Players and Families
Players are expected to wear their full game uniform (jersey, shorts, and socks) as well as cleats. Shin guards are encouraged but not required until competitive soccer.
Parents and players are expected to be at all games every week. Soccer is a team sport and without the entire team being faithful to participate every week, the team cannot function. Obviously sickness and other unforeseeable circumstances happen which prevent players from participating, but we ask that parents do their best to be committed to their child’s team by scheduling vacations around game days and training sessions as much as possible.
Punctuality & Proper Warm-Ups
It is essential that parents work hard to get their child to games 30 minutes prior to game time so the coach has time to meet with the team and provide an age-appropriate warm-up so that the games can kick-off (and end) on time. We know “life happens” prior to coming to the games, but we at Victory strongly believe in building a culture of EXCELLENCE which includes being early/on-time for our team competitions.
Victory Family Competition Values, Attitude, and Conduct
- VALUES: We value EXCELLENCE & FUN over winning games: This means that we encourage our players in their pursuit of EXCELLENCE and having FUN regardless of the score of the game. The pursuit to win games is very important, but let us remember together that TRUE VICTORY is about who you are as a player, not about the results on the field.
- Our attitude on the field is one of HUMILITY, RESPECT, SUBMISSION, AND HONOR towards all players, coaches, parents, referees, etc. at all times If there are frustrations, disagreements, and things that happen which can potentially bring about outbursts of anger and disrespect towards others, such as towards referees, opposing parents, etc., then we must exercise discipline, respect, and honor at all times.
- We must maintain the fun of the sport for our children and be excellent role models for how to deal with adversity in the right way and with the right attitude.
- If anybody disagrees with the referee, then SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY over fighting for “fairness and justice” must be exercised in which one is willing to submit to the call of the authority respectfully rather than yelling at the referee. If there are concerns about a referee’s ability to carry out his/her job well and in a safe manner for the players, please speak with your coach who in turn will speak with the JCL division leader.
- BEHAVIOR: The Victory family is expected to have the following BEHAVIOR:
- PRAISE BOTH our players AND the opposing players and parents for great competition as we seek to encourage all the players on both teams towards excellence.
- Make an effort to communicate with and build a healthy and positive rapport with the parents and coaches of the opposing teams. Please don’t ignore each other. We are all on the same team working together to build great kids with character through sport.
- Parents, please respect your coaches at all times by not coaching your children from the sideline or by trying to do their job during a game. Please sit on your side of the field, and be amazing encouraging fans, NOT coaches. Then on the way home, encourage and reinforce what the coach is teaching your children. If you have any questions about what your coach is instructing, then ASK YOUR COACH, and do NOT disparage the coach in front of your child.
- Victory coaches have been trained and are expected to respect and be sensitive to both the children and their parents at all times.
- If anybody has a problem, conflict, or misunderstanding at any time related to competition day, PLEASE SPEAK WITH THAT PERSON FIRST IN A RESPECTFUL HONORING MANNER, AND THEN BRING OTHER LEADERSHIP INTO THE MATTER LATER IF THE MATTER STILL NEEDS RESOLUTION.
Victory Coaching Values, Style, & Engagement With Parents & Players
- STANDARDS FOR VICTORY COACHES: We expect all of our coaches to hold to the highest standards of the Victory’s values at all times Character, Honor, and Excellence in their verbal and non-verbal communication and interaction with their players, referees, parents, and fans. We train and expect them to be kind, gentle, intense, direct, sensitive, caring, honoring, etc. at all times as they seek to get the best out of their players both in the game and in their character.
- TEACHING CONTENT: Every Victory coach is expected to teach the the game from the Victory Soccer Curriculum Manual to his/her players at a level which is appropriate for the age group of the team for which he/she is coaching. This looks as follows per age group:
- Mini’s (U7 and below): Basic technical skills of dribbling and shooting (NOT passing and receiving), fundamentals of 1v1 offense and team defense (NOT positions), and basic rules of the game appropriate for 3v3 and 4v4 matches.
- Developmental/Pre-Competitive Teams (U8-U10): Same as with our Mini’s, but we add to that the development of passing and receiving, fundamentals of offense (1v1 and 2v2 offense; Basic positional play), fundamentals of defense (1v1), and the basic rules of the game appropriate for 5v5 -7v7 matches.
- Competitive Teams (U9 and older): Same as our Developmental/Pre-Competitive Teams, but we add to that the mastery of basic technical skills, fundamentals of offense and defense (1v1-11v11), and the basic rules of the game appropriate for competitive soccer 7v7 to 11v11 depending on the age group.
- VICTORY’S COACHING MOTTO: Victory FC coaches live by the motto, “The game is the best teacher,” especially at the younger ages as it allows players to learn, take initiative, and be creative as they play a very free-flowing, unpredictable game. This means that coaches are trained NOT to have set plays in the flow of the game, bark constant orders to their players, or attempt to control them with a “joy stick,” as if they were playing a video game, especially when they are young when children are learning to be creative. Oftentimes a silent coach during the game is the best coach as he/she allows the kids to play, enjoy the sport, and learn the game naturally as he/she experiences success and failure. Coaches are taught to give a few, helpful specific directions before the game and at half-time, stay relatively quiet during the game, and then to celebrate the accomplishments of the game (and what to work on) after the last whistle.
- ALLOW COACHES TO BE THEMSELVES: As in life where everybody is different and has a different personality, so it is with our coaches. Please don’t expect Victory coaches to fit a certain pre-determined mold in terms of how they “should” engage with children or what they “should” be teaching at a certain level. Victory expects them to “be themselves,” but in a way that follows the Victory curriculum and brings the best out of their players in the right way and at the right time.
- PARENTAL CONCERNS & QUESTIONS: We want our parents to feel comfortable asking their coaches for an explanation on an issue which bothers them. If parents have questions and/or concerns, THEY SHOULD PLEASE SPEAK WITH THEIR COACH FIRST IN A NON-ATTACKING, INQUISITIVE WAY. Coaches are expected and taught to be engaging with parents and to respond with a thoughtful answer, sensitivity, and respect as we all work together to develop their children in the game and in their character. If the matter still does not seem to resolve itself, then parents are asked to please speak to the Victory Coaching Director for a 3-way meeting so that a healthy resolution can be found. Victory very much desires to nurture healthy communication, trust, and a strong positive partnership between parents and the coaching staff.
- Teams are NOT formed to solely win games but to be competitive as much as possible in league play. We challenge and teach all of our players in light of who plays and how much time each person gets on the field that TRUE VICTORY IS NOT IN WINNING GAMES (ALWAYS KEEPING THE BEST TALENTED PLAYERS ON THE FIELD ALL THE TIME) BUT IN BEING THE RIGHT PERSON OF CHARACTER IN EVERY SITUATION.
- This means that at this developmental level ages 3-10, we will have everybody play minimally 75% of every game (probably more especially at the younger ages) depending on the number of subs regardless of one’s talent level.
- Note & Warning: A player’s playing time may be severely reduced below 75% of the game in the case of injury or behavioral/character issues. In this case, communication will take place between the team coach and the player’s parents in order to foster a healthy partnership between the two.
If you have any questions or need clarification regarding your child’s Victory team experience, please do not hesitate to call or write us at the below contact information.