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10

May, 2021

Tryout Announcement for 2021/22 Competition Year

USA Families,

Here is the next big news - TRYOUTS FOR THE 2021-22 COMPETITION YEAR

Thank you for being patient waiting for this … like everything else these days, nothing is as easy as it used to be.

We are so excited to be having in-person tryouts this year.  Getting to play this past fall and this spring has been awesome, but there certainly have been challenges without having tryouts last spring.

Over the past year, the club has seen a bunch of positive changes (maturation).  The physical size of the club has grown (thank you for your loyalty and commitment) and our level of competition has grown (we now have 5 premier-level teams competing this year).  All of this while wearing masks and asking for continual patience and grace.

This email is pretty long but important as it shares a bit of big-picture for tryouts.  Beyond sharing the dates, we are also sharing why tryouts this year are of critical importance.  After this email, keep your eyes open for additional communication.  These upcoming emails will share details for pre-registering for tryouts (like we did last year), tryout check-in times and logistics, projected coaching rosters, and club fees.

Any, here we go …

Select & Elite Tryouts

We continue to focus on developing the strongest select and elite teams in the league.  These teams are the heart and sole of the club and the foundation of our ‘competitive trajectory’ (that ultimately leads to our teams competing at the highest, most appropriate levels of competition (premier)).  We look forward to continuing to field at least one team (if not more) per age group for both boys and girls and expand beyond that to support our players.

Boys - Monday, June 14 - later afternoon to evening (exact times TBD) (rain date = Wednesday, June 16) at Helder Park

Girls - Tuesday, June 15 - later afternoon to evening (exact times TBD) (rain date = Thursday, June 17) at Helder Park

Premier Tryouts

We are excited to announce the expansion of our Premier Team offerings to include high school boys and girls in addition to the teams that have been competing for the past season and those that are being promoted into the premier ranks.

All Teams (boys and girls) - Saturday, June 12 - morning to mid-day (exact times TBD) (rain date = Sunday, June 13th) at Helder Park

Boys Teams - 2009 (U13), 2008 (U14), 2006 (U16), 2005-2003 (U17-U19)

Girls Teams - 2007 (U15), 2006 (U16), 2005-2003 (U17-U19)

 The Importance of This Year's Tryouts and Thoughts About Our Current Teams

Mark your calendar with this year's tryouts and do all you can to be there (even plan for the rain dates).  Tryouts are always critical to attend but this year, perhaps, even more so.  Why? --- because we could not hold them last year and we have seen significant positive growth by your players over the past two years.  As you know, last year due to the lack of tryouts we made the decision to maintain our teams, relatively intact, from the previous competition year.  We also added several new teams.  Those teams were formed without the benefit of tryouts.

This created a couple of practical realities.  For the "legacy" teams, although they realized the comfort of continuing to play together another year, they were not able to realign based on the growth of individual players, the team's level of competition, and the inclusion of new players.  For the new teams that were formed almost purely from new players, the individuals were not able to be placed on teams that most appropriately suited their skill level.  Further, those teams, and even a number of legacy teams that took on new players, ended up being composed of players of mixed ages and skill levels.

To this point, it is our standard to form teams based on our open tryouts (meaning everyone is welcome to tryout and legacy players must also tryout to make a team).  Our tryouts are age-group specific with age groups being defined by birth year.  Based on the results of tryouts we form age group teams based on skill level, coachability, and commitment to the club.  We are fortunate to field teams at every age group (which is our intended focus) from U7 to U19.  When we have the positive occurrence of having more players for an age group than can be supported by a single team roster, we create multiple teams at that age group.  Beyond that, when we have enough players to form a partial team, we will often create a blended age-group team.  By taking this approach, we work toward ensuring that players that desire to make a team - have a team and have an opportunity to develop their individual skills.  

So, back to the importance of this year's tryout and a perspective on the team composition for this spring.  At this point, a majority of our teams have realized sustained team success. A majority of our teams have achieved higher competition brackets with several entering the Premier ranks.  Some teams have struggled, however, and that is recognized.  Some of our teams are rolling out with maximum rosters.  Some teams have "short benches".  With tryouts this June, the positives will be strengthened and the struggles will be mitigated.  Our inability to achieve our desired balance from year to year was hampered by the lack of tryouts and will be once again put on track with tryouts.

On an individual level, as our coaches talk about your teams, we universally agree that our players have matured their skill and aptitude.  We do recognize that the development of some of our players has been tempered by the COVID restrictions or by team performance, but by and large, our players have continued to move forward and achieved heighted individual performance.  This is our goal and, again, we are excited for tryouts this year because we will be able to further bolster our experience for the growth of your players.

We also want to share a big picture note, specifically on the roster size and blended age groups.  Starting at U7, every couple of years, the teams progress to larger roster sizes.  This natural progression necessitates more players.  Each year we try to hit a roster size 'sweet spot' that falls between the minimum and maximum size roster and try to achieve teams that are largely of a single age group.  However, we also do not shy away from larger squads or developing players within blended age groups.  The reason for this is because we know that each year the rosters will be aligned by tryouts and every couple of years the numbers will be balanced out by roster size expansion.  Given this inevitable expansion toward 11v11 and higher level competition we feel it is optimal, in the long run, to do what we can to provide players with strong coaching and the ability to grow individually within USA.  We know, although there may be seasons that have challenges, that having ALL the players developed within USA will create the strongest opportunities when they reach the 11v11 field.

All of this is why WE HOPE YOU WILL ALL RETURN FOR TRYOUTS.  With all of our players returning and our tryouts performed as planned, our teams will be built for even greater success and each of our players will be on teams that will best give them the platform for greater individual success.  We know there is a lot in here.  If you have questions, please reach out to your team coach, to the Club Director of Coaching (Wade Schuemann) or the Club Director of Operations (Bruce Lane).

Thank you all for being part of the USA Family of Teams.

YOUR USA Board of Directors and Operations Staff

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