Players who decide to participate in a select soccer program have numerous choices in Southeastern Wisconsin. With potentially 9 years of play ahead of them, their player development needs the type of program that Sockers FC Wisconsin delivers. Six great topics to think about when choosing a club for select soccer include the following: club coaches, club results, training programs, club philosophy, cost, and proximity. All these factors are covered here in regards to how Sockers FC Wisconsin operates:
- Club coaches – we have experienced Directors of Coaching (DOCs), and 35 State titles across our coaches.
- Club results – we consistently rank in the top 5 clubs in Wisconsin, and our elite girls program typically ranks in the top 2 programs in Wisconsin.
- Training programs – we run longer seasons than most other clubs, and we believe our winter program is one of the best in Wisconsin.
- Philosophy – player development is always first, and provide the best soccer programs in the Midwest, bar none. More: Sockers WI philosophy
- Costs – affordability for the highest level of quality is a primary goal for us. We will work as hard as we can to keep our program value consistent with clubs attempting to provide comparable soccer offerings.
- Proximity – we run three regions: Hartland/Waukesha N (North Region), Delafield/Waukesha W (South Region), and Oconomowoc (West Region).
Junior Select covers U11 and U12 age groups. Because these age groups are critical to individual player development, our junior select program focuses on developing individual players’ skills, even if it is at the cost of team results.
Senior Select, from U13 to U18, continues a strong focus on individual ball skills, and progressively increases the importance of tactics and team results along with the growth of the players.
To emphasize the difference in these two stages, our junior select programs report to a specific Academy and Junior Select Director of Coaching (DOC), whose focus is individual player development.
practice location – determination
Because we have developed one of the top Select programs in Wisconsin we draw our players from a wide and diverse geographical base. As such the decisions we make on where our Select teams practice within our practice field choices are made with thought and care.
In 2013-2014 we will be a part of the Wisconsin Developmental Academy (WDA). At U11 and U12 we will identify a pool of 24-28 players whose main competitive environment will be the WDA. This group of players will train 2 times per week in the region they prefer and 1 time per week as a complete group together at sites that rotate weekly. All other U11 and U12 teams will be formed regionally and will practice in their home regions.
As we have stated often player development comes first at Sockers FC Wisconsin. We select our U13-U19 teams based upon tryout evaluations. Any other method would not be consistent with a player development focus. These teams practice sites will be determined by a combination of the roster make-up and the level/league the team plays in. If a team is mainly composed of players from a certain region, and appropriate fields exist for that team in that region, we will plan to have them practice in that region.
coaching and management
U11 and U12 junior select teams are supervised by the regional DOC (Director of Coaching) where they practice. All junior select teams come under the overall supervision of the Director of Academy and Junior Select. U13 and U14 boys teams, U15-U18 boys teams, and U13-U18 girls teams are each supervised by their own DOC. Our select DOCs together have more than 80 years of coaching experience. All programs are supervised by an overall Technical Director.
Beyond great DOCs, the key to great development is great coaches. Together, our select coaches have more than 35 state championships, 5 Midwest regional championships, one national champion and several national runner-ups. We are proud to have members of the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame on the staff along with numerous other decorated coaches. All of our coaches have at least a D license, many have C or B licenses, and we have several A licenses (very rare across the US). We continuously look for and recruit the best coaches we can find in the Midwest.
- U11 and U12 play 8v8 – up to 14 players to a team roster
- U13 and U14 play 11v11 – up to 18 players to a game day roster, although team rosters can do up to 22 (we typically roster teams up to 18)
- U15 through U18 play 11v11 – up to 18 players to a game day roster, although team rosters can do up to 22 (we typically roster teams up to 18)
All age groups field gender-specific teams. As a result, there are girls teams and boys teams. As our players age, the practice and training needs of the two genders progressively grow apart: coaches who are very successful with teenage girls may well be suboptimal for teenage boys and vice versa. To allow us to provide the best possible training to each gender, our U13-U18 boys and girls teams currently report to different DOCs.
In order to belong to a select team, a player needs to go through a competitive tryout in mid June. Shortly after tryouts, the club issues offers for each team, which must be accepted or declined within a very specific schedule. A player accepts an offer by registering online with Sockers WI.
There always are several teams per age group. These teams often play in different leagues. Travel requirements for these teams can be different. In general, the higher the league, the further the travel, the more frequent the practices. Our best teams travel extensively across the Midwest. Higher level teams usually have more diverse rosters from a geographical standpoint: thus practice locations may be further away from some members.
player development: junior select U11-U12
The focus in these early select years is ball mastery and technical skills. The goal is to develop key skills such as juggling, settling, and trapping the ball such that a player can control the ball and the game. Our players learn various technical skills so that they can be confident in taking on one or more defenders at a time, while both maintaining control of the ball and attacking the goal. Creativity and confidence are encouraged through small sided game play (8v8) and a focus on building the skills of each individual player.
player development: U13-U14
The game moves to full sided at this point (11v11), and additional skills are added to ball mastery basics. A greater focus on passing, movement without the ball, field positioning, and finishing are added to the practice plan. Practice sessions designed for teaching specific positional play are part of the curriculum. There is a stronger focus on moving in unison and communicating on the field.
player development: U15 – U19
At this level the focus moves to team formations and tactics for both defending and attacking, while maintaining and enhancing the technical foundation. Fine tuning dribbling, passing, and finishing remain a key piece of the curriculum. Significant time is spent preparing for situations such as free kicks and corner kicks, to create scoring opportunities while on the attack and prevent scoring by the opposition. The curriculum continues to build on the team tactics introduced at U13 and U14 to refine team play.
Teams play in external leagues as well as in internal leagues. They are expected to attend two or more tournament or events per fall/spring. Teams may also play winter tournaments. If the club believes that the team needs more challenge than can be provided within its regular age group, the team may play up an age group.
It varies by age group and by league. Up to U12, players will play a solid amount of available game time when averaged across the season, if showing regularly and timely attendance to all practices and games. From U13-U19 playing time can vary based on team level, but commitment to training session attendance remains a key to earning playing time.
Sockers WI coaches provide written player evaluations once a year, at the end of the fall season. Evaluations are delivered in person to parents and player together. Additional evaluations can be requested.
Select teams play three and a half seasons, although winter and summer are optional.
Fall and spring offer the regular practice regimen of two to three practices per week, typically of 90 minutes each, and one game (on average) per week-end.
Winter season is an essential season for our competitive teams, and our winter program, described below, is a critical part of skills development.
In summer, the players keep their skills sharp by playing in our Summer 3v3 League on Sunday evenings and by taking some of the summer camps our club offers. These programs have additional costs. Please watch this web site and club wide emails for the details on dates, places, and costs.
Our club takes winter training very seriously: winter is when skills are forged. For this reason, we have put in place a very extensive winter program open to every academy and select team member.
All winter practices are optional – but, in general, we find that 90% of the players decide to participate in winter training. The winter program has two components: practice sessions, and futsal games. Practices generally run in two sessions, November – December, and January – March, with 2 practices per week in teams or by skills.
Winter program is very cost effective, as all costs are shared across all players participating in a session, and costs are reviewed annually.
We aim to offer the best training programs and the best coaching in Wisconsin. We work very hard at keeping our programs as affordable as they can be. Because of these efforts our programs provide excellent value in comparison to other soccer offerings of this nature. We do not want to exclude any child who really wants to play soccer because of financial issues, and we offer financial aid on a case-by-case basis.
- Program fees include club, league and referee fees, coaching fees for fall and spring, and winter Futsal League fees. Program fees may be different between different team levels.
- Coaching fees, a part of program fees, include two (sometimes three) training sessions per week in fall and spring.
- Full select uniform (2 jersey, shorts, socks)
- Tournament fees: are collected separately and can vary widely between teams of different levels
- Fundraising fees: if applicable will be communicated with sufficient notice
- Refundable volunteer fee
2013-2014 program fees have not been determined yet. Please check back soon!
Like most clubs in the US, and probably all clubs in WI, we are a non-profit organization run primarily with volunteers. To make it possible for us to run our programs, we require all player families to volunteer a small number of hours per year, be it in the concessions, field striping, tournament organization or any other task that may come up – there are too many to list:-) At registration time, you are charged a refundable volunteer fee, which you are refunded after your volunteer obligations are satisfied.
More information: select program volunteer requirements