8 Year Old Soccer: Development Soccer or Competitive Soccer

Posted: July 22, 2013 in LIFE, SOCCER
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jay and Chris

By Jason Sutcliffe

My nephew has been playing soccer this season in the SCARDESO (Scarborough Development Soccer) League, and by definition this is supposed to be a league created to focus on the development of young soccer players in a non-competitive environment with no score, or standings, so everyone is a winner.

It is a beautiful thing, the kids don’t play in tournaments, they play in festivals—nice right? The best kids don’t play all the time; all the kids get equal opportunity and a chance to play the different positions, for development purposes—beautiful.

It all sounds really great, right up until you actually attend one of these “festivals” and sit back and watch how the adults behave, and it is these same adults who were involved in the creation of this “development league”.

I have attended two of these festivals and here are just a couple of things that I have heard coaches of various teams say to their kids:

1)“Maybe we can get pizza when the next game is done, but only if we win”

2)“Don’t talk to him we play him next, he is the enemy, you can talk to him after the game”

3)“We didn’t come here to lose so pay attention”

Now my issue is not in the competitive nature of these coaches because I to believe that in sports there is a winner and a loser, and that kids should know how to win and how to lose right from the very start. Do I think it should be shoved down their throat no absolutely not, but I don’t agree with this everyone wins crap.

So, you might be asking then what the hell is you problem Jason? My problem is that a group of adults have created this league and advertised it as a development league free of serious competition so we can focus on the healthy development of these young 8 and 9-year-old players, but no one has any interest in seeing that through.

Basically adults have created a big lie so they can feel good about themselves. So they can feel as though on paper they are doing what is right for the kids. The whole day Saturday I consciously watched the coaches of the various teams as they screamed at their kids, threatened to take them of the field for making a mistake, put two teams in and stacked one to win all their games well the other one went through the entire “festival” with out a win.

If this is how we are going to behave at these “festivals” then let’s just scrap the lie and start saying it for what it is. It is competitive soccer and winning matters, just say we are going to put two teams in and the A team is going to have all of the best players, and the B team will be everyone else, don’t patronize the parents and players by saying that, that is not the case and that is not what you have done, when it is blatantly obvious.

I mean these kids have to deal with all of the regular pressures of competitive soccer but they don’t get to compete for trophies, they don’t get the feeling of winning a tournament.

Every one of these kids knows when they win or lose so what are we protecting them from? The answer, nothing, we are screaming at them, pushing competition down their throats the same as generations before them, the only difference is they don’t get to experience the feeling of playing in a championship game, or winning the big trophy.

If it is unhealthy for kids at this age to be dealing with pressure during sports then let me be the first to say, this league is failing miserably. To the public however this is a beautiful little league, and the kids get to participate in parades, go to some soccer games and obtain soccer skills in a stress and pressure free environment.

Call it what it is, it is not a development league it is competitive soccer.

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