Gerrards Cross & Fulmer FC
Gerrards Cross & Fulmer FC
Founded 2002

•    In the mini-soccer format where matches are played in a non-competitive format selection will be based on equal playing time as far as possible for all squad members.

•    However once a team is playing in a competitive format (in 11-a-side teams or even at an earlier age group depending on the league the team is playing in) selection for the match squad may be based on a mixture of ability, fitness, availability and conduct.

•    This document is produced for guideline purposes in as much as we afford the opportunity to different age groups to enter different leagues depending on their setup and preference – and those leagues may define competitive in different ways and at different ages.

•     The management by the Club’s coaches of the transition from the non-competitive format to the competitive leagues is crucial to the ambitions of the Club. It is important that this policy is understood by all from the outset of joining the Club.

GENERAL NOTES

All players who have paid their subscriptions must be given the opportunity by the coaches during training and any “friendly” matches to justify a place in the match squad.

Only where there are vacancies in age group squads can potential new players be approached to attend training sessions with a view to being asked to join the Club. There are to be no seasonal trials for members wanting to join, but the decision lies with the age group coach.

No player should be asked to leave the club for reasons related to ability but players might be advised through their parents that when the teams are primarily picked on competitive basis they are likely to spend a fair amount of time either on the subs bench or they might not make the match squad all that often. In this situation parents can be offered a “Training only” subscription which would be 50% of the normal sub but would not include provision of a kit.

In the mini-soccer age groups tournament football can offer the opportunity to be a little more competitive and coaches may decide whether to play an A & B team if entering two teams and will be supported if they do so.

TRANSITION FROM NON-COMPETITIVE TO COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL

For teams playing in the South Bucks Mini-Soccer Conference truly competitive football starts at the Under 13 age group when the transition is made from 9 a-side format to 11 a-side; however the Division you are allocated to at Under 13 can be based on the team’s performance in the previous season. The coaches in the Under 12’s year have the crucial role of gently explaining to players and parents what the prospects are when moving up to the competitive game at Under 13.

However, although the 9 a-side format in the South Bucks Mini-Soccer Conference is meant to be non-competitive (i.e. no scores / league positions are published in the same way as the 7 a-side leagues) coaches may want to use these 2 years to start to ‘stream’ the players. If numbers (and volunteers) allow it may be easier facilitating this change and ensure maximum match time for all members by splitting their squad into two groups more aligned on players’ ability and entering their teams into suitable and relevant strength leagues. As the players develop through these pivotal seasons the coaches may take the opportunity to move players from one squad to the other and vice-versa depending on their development.

Towards the end of the Under 12’s season some games should be organised on a 11-a-side basis so players can prepare and be prepared for 11-a-side where the demands on stamina and fitness as well as skill and ability increase. This can be achieved through “friendlies” and perhaps a few joint training sessions with the Under 13’s where the age groups are split up in a practice game – e.g. Under 12 forwards and Under 13 defence versus Under 12 defence and Under 13 forwards.

CONCLUSIONS

When this policy is managed sensitively and fairly we will have discharged and balanced our FA Charter responsibilities and our founding premise to provide all our members with an equal opportunity to develop (i.e. over 5 years from U6’s to Under 10’s) with our obligations and ambitions to run a successful and respected Club.

We realise there are late developers – and those who want to hang in there and hope that this will happen are to be commended – they will be given every encouragement in training so to do (see commitment in policy notes above) – but equally all should know the reality of what to expect as they move up through the age groups.

So the dialogue between coaches, parents and players is crucial and the relationships developed over the whole time from joining the club onwards should mean that there are no surprises for anyone.