Letter from Stoddert

June 2014

Dear DC Stoddert Travel Parent:

Congratulations on your child’s selection to play on one of DC Stoddert’s travel soccer teams! DC Stoddert’s travel soccer program is intended to provide players an opportunity to develop their soccer skills in an environment that offers a level of play that is significantly more competitive than recreational soccer. Our travel program seeks to give our players the opportunity to broaden their soccer potential, while deepening their joy for the game. As such we do not lose sight of the fact that soccer is a sport to be enjoyed in every aspect, whether during training, in games or simply as part of the camaraderie of teammates seeking to achieve a common goal.

Especially for parents of our youngest players, playing on a travel soccer team is likely to be the first time your child will be expected to devote a significant amount of time to an activity that is not part of his or her school curriculum. For this reason, we believe that in accepting the invitation that has been extended to your child to join one of our teams, it is important that you understand and acknowledge the expectations and concomitant obligations, both in terms of time and financial commitment, that will accompany your child’s involvement with DC Stoddert travel soccer.

Costs and Registration

The costs associated with playing on a travel soccer team are substantially higher than those required to play for a recreational team. DC Stoddert does have limited funds available each year for our families who may need assistance with these costs. The Registration process, both through the Club and the Team itself, is also more involved. The following will give you a sense of what is both involved and required:

  • The Registration fee is $800 per season. A $300 Deposit and completed Online Registration is due by July 1 to secure your child’s spot on the Team.
  • If you expect to apply for financial assistance, a completed Online Registration is due by July 1 to secure your child’s spot on the Team
  • All financial assistance applications and $100 Deposit are due by July 15. Please note, as funds are limited, it is important to submit your registration packet in a timely manner.
  • You may be asked by your Team Manager for various important documents, which are required to register your child to play in the league: birth certificate or passport, 1×1 inch photo, contact information. Please provide these in a timely manner, as the registration process takes some time to complete, and many teams play pre-season tournaments.
  • Parents are required to purchase uniforms. Two (2) kits: one for home, and one for away games. In addition, parents are required to purchase a red practice jersey. Parents may wish to purchase other gear (please note, financial assistance includes uniform costs). Costs for uniforms are about $250+/player.
  • DC Stoddert Travel Teams enter various tournaments. Tournament fees and coaching costs are not covered by the season registration fee. The costs are rather split evenly among the players on the team and are required regardless of attendance.
  • DC Stoddert Travel Teams also require winter training. Training sessions may be indoor or outdoor, and fees and costs associated with winter training are not covered by the season registration fee. Like tournaments, they are split evenly among the players on the teams and are required regardless of attendance.
  • Each Team will provide a Team Budget at the start of the year which will outline the additional costs more specifically.

Before play resumes each season, families must have all outstanding balances paid and current. Balances owed to DC Stoddert or to team managers that remain outstanding from Fall at the time of registration for Spring play or from Spring at the time of registration for Fall play, may result in players not being permitted to participate in practices, training sessions or games until outstanding balances are paid in full.   If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Registrar at Registrar@stoddert.com.

Team Practices, Games and Off-Season Training

Teams will generally practice two days per week from mid-August to mid-November and from mid-March to mid-June, in conjunction with the Fall and Spring playing seasons. This training, will be age group specific and will focus on technical skill development, rather than team strategies which is why all players in a particular age group (i.e., all U12 boys) will participate in together on one session per week. .

On average each team will play 8-10 league games per Fall and Spring season. In most cases, games are played once a week, primarily on Sundays although it is possible that games will be scheduled on Saturdays or on successive Saturdays and Sundays.   Between the Fall and Spring seasons, teams generally have mandatory winter training during the months of January, February and into early-March. These sessions give coaches the opportunity to work with players on skill development and fitness.

By accepting the opportunity to fill a roster spot on one of our travel teams you and your child are committing to attend all games (both league and tournament), practices and off-season training sessions throughout the seasonal year. Our coaches understand that occasionally conflicts will arise – – significant family, religious and academic events – – that may have to take precedence over soccer. Coaches should be informed in writing by email well in advance of such potential conflicts. Accommodations will be made for such circumstances; however, repeated absences from games and/or practice/training sessions is likely to impact your child’s development as a soccer player and, accordingly their playing time during matches. While DC Stoddert does not expect travel soccer players to forego other activities or sports in order to focus exclusively on soccer, we do expect that in making the commitment to play travel soccer, players will make participation on a DC Stoddert travel team their highest athletic priority and that they and their families will do all that they can to eliminate conflicts that would interfere with punctual attendance at practices, training sessions and/or games.

Game-day Preparation

It is critical, both in terms of being prepared for play and to avoid injuries, that prior to taking the field, players are properly warmed-up. The general rule is that on game days, players are expected to be at the field of play no later than 30 minutes in advance (some coaches require 45 minutes in advance) of the scheduled kick-off, in full uniform with shin guards on, shoes tied and any jewelry (rings, pierced earrings, watches, bracelets) removed. Failure to abide by your coach’s rule can disrupt the team’s preparation for a game and could result in diminished playing time for the offending player. Matches periodically are scheduled at fields up to an hour outside of the District of Columbia. It is essential that directions are obtained in advance so that sufficient travel times from home to playing fields can be planned to enable an arrival at the designated fields at the time specified by your coach.

Tournaments

Often teams will enter tournaments, in addition to their league play. Younger age group teams tend to play in fewer tournaments than older age group teams and most tournaments, particularly for the younger players tend to be in the area.   Most teams, at the U10 levels and above will play in at least one pre-season tournament in the late Summer and early Spring as part of the team’s preparation for the upcoming season of league play.

DC Stoddert is a member of the Atlantic Soccer League (ASL) which provides opportunities for teams at the U14 and above level to play in some of the nations most prestigious youth soccer tournaments (college coaches regard many of these tournaments as excellent opportunities to scout players). As a member organization of ASL, DC Stoddert teams are each obligated to play in at least three ASL tournaments per year. A good number of these tournaments are held in the immediate metropolitan area but some are held in Richmond, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As a result, teams competing in ASL tournaments are likely to play in at least one out of town tournament per year. In addition to these tournaments some teams will register to play in the Virginia or Maryland State Cup competitions. State cup is a single elimination format and games are played at local venues during the course of either the Fall or Spring seasons, depending on the state, and league schedules are adjusted when conflicts arise with state cup matches.

DC Stoddert is aware of the burdens that can be imposed on families when children play in tournaments outside of the area. The Director of Coaching for the Travel Program will work with each coach to develop a tournament strategy that is appropriate for each team. Our procedure is to have the coaches provide tournament plans in advance of each seasonal year so that each family is informed of this additional commitment (both in terms of time and possible costs). Your team’s projected tournament plans for the coming season are listed in the attached budget plan, which is discussed in greater detail below.

Parental Conduct

The behavior adults exhibit on the sidelines during matches reflects on the team and on DC Stoddert. It is also serves as an example to our children. Parents of DC Stoddert players are expected to exhibit the highest levels of sportsmanship at all times. This means refraining from being critical of calls made by referees or of the specific play of opposing teams or responding to annoying comments made by the parents of players on opposing teams. It also may include favorably acknowledging a notable play on the part of an opposing player or applauding when an injured player leaves the field.

Parents also should refrain from shouting instructions to their children during the course of a game. To the extent any instruction needs to be made during the course of a match, the decision of what to say and when to say it, should be left to the coach, who has worked regularly with the team on a system of play.

It may be necessary for teams to take responsibility for field preparation – – refreshing lines, setting up goals – – or take-down – – breaking down goals and returning materials to designated storage areas. This is not an every week obligation because at least half of each team’s games will be at the field of another club; however, it becomes a burden if these tasks performed by only one or two parents. We rely on all parents to help in performing such tasks as well as in policing both sidelines at the conclusion of a match. If DC Stoddert is to continue having access to the number of fields it does today, we need to be sure that we leave each field at least in as good shape as we found it.

Player Evaluations

At the conclusion of each season (Fall and Spring) coaches will provide each player with an assessment of their play during the prior season. Such evaluations will help players understand facets of their game that should be the focus of additional work and may help families understand their child’s fit on a team and the trajectory of their development and likely role on the team in the coming season or year. Parents should refrain from lobbying coaches for additional playing time for their child but should not hesitate to engage coaches if aspects of the player evaluations are not clear. Evaluations can be provided in writing or orally.

Tryouts

Near the conclusion of each Spring season, teams will hold tryouts. Tryouts provide opportunities to compare players playing on other DC Stoddert travel teams in the same age group, as well as those interested in joining a travel team from the recreational program or other clubs. While positions are not guaranteed, it is usually not the case that tryouts result in sweeping roster changes. To the extent that a player is not invited back to his or her team, some indication of that possibility should be conveyed in advance to families by the coach either in the form of the seasonal player evaluation or other communications. There is no process for appealing decisions once the results of tryouts are announced.

Acknowledgement

 

I am the parent/guardian of [                                                                                ], who has been invited to play on the U[                                                                   ].

My signature below is confirmation that I have read and understand the foregoing and that I accept the invitation that has been extended to my child to play on a DC Stoddert Travel Soccer team. In accepting the invitation that has been extended to my child, I agree that my child and I will fulfill each of the obligations and abide by the conditions, specified herein.

 

 

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Signature of Parent or Guardian

 

 

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Printed Name of Parent or Guardian