LAFC is responsible for providing the players and teams with an experienced technical staff. All coaches are USSF licensed and dedicated to assisting youth players pursue their passion for the game of soccer. Some of our coaches have had very distinguished playing and coaching careers. Coaching assignments will be based on individual coach’s experience and the team’s age, gender and level of competition. All teams will have designated Head Coaches at the start of the club year. All coaching staff report directly to the Directors of Coaching (DOCs) and the DOCs report directly to the VP of Soccer Operations.
Coaches are expected to serve as teachers and leaders whose attitudes and behavior will set the tone for the players and the sideline.
In addition to the above applicable standards, coaches are expected to:
- Set high standards for their players’ conduct and attendance as well as their own conduct and attendance
- Treat all players honestly, fairly and with respect
- Be committed to help all players reach their maximum potential
- Refrain from releasing players from the team during a soccer season unless it is for disciplinary reasons or non-payment of team dues and fees
- Conduct themselves as positive role models and display appropriate behavior at all team and club functions
- Be responsible for the conduct of the team on and off the field when the team is together as part of a team event
- Conform to the rules established by the team and the club
Club tryouts will be held annually and are open to all players who meet age requirements (see website for age matrix, ) for teams in question (e.g. teams with openings). Multiple tryout sessions are offered and teams will be selected and rostered by the team coach with the assistance of the respective DOC. Selections will be based on technical ability first, then attitude, commitment, and willingness to be coached.
In addition to annual scheduled tryouts, potential players may be asked to tryout for teams during nonscheduled tryout events to fill roster openings. This will be by invitation only and coaches will make final decisions based on available position and talent.
Within a week or two following tryouts, team rosters will be announced. The coach, with the assistance of the DOCs will have reviewed, in depth, the qualities of all players and selected those who show the most promise for a successful team. Skills and technical ability, speed, agility, endurance and decision making are all important components of the selection process, as are commitment and coachability.
A/B/C Team System
The A/B/C team system is in place to provide a competitive learning environment for a variety of levels. LAFC understands that young players progress at different rates and therefore this system provides the best avenues for learning at each level. LAFC feels this provides all young players that are placed on a team the best opportunity to accomplish their own long term goals.
A Team: At each age these are the boys and girls that mature the fastest mentally and physically. Players also bring a certain skill set that enables them to compete against other players at similar stages. These attributes along with their ability to solve problems quickly enable them to compete at the highest level.
B Team: These teams usually consist of a combination of two types of players. One type has matured physically and/or mentally but lacks the soccer skills and technique to compete at the highest levels and the other type has exceptional soccer skills and technique but lacks the physical and/or mental maturity.
C Team: These teams often consist of players that show great enthusiasm for soccer and show an aptitude for learning quickly. They don’t yet have the necessary soccer skills and technique and/or the physical and/or mental capabilities to compete at higher levels.
We encourage all coaches to follow the progress of each player in respective age groups. This lends itself to promotion or demotion of all our players throughout the year. Being placed on any team is a fluid situation with changes often occurring during the transfer windows.
Number of Teams
In the 2010/2011 season, LAFC fielded 48 competitive boys and girls teams in the local gaming circuit — Coast Soccer League, plus two US Soccer Developmental Academy teams (U16 and U18) that participate in the US Soccer Developmental Academy League.
Coast Soccer League allows clubs to field three teams per age group per gender from U9 to U19 and it is our goal to field the maximum number of teams in the 2009/2010 season.
AYSO/Recreational Leagues (U9 — U11)
Players are encouraged to play as often as possible, as the game is after all, the best teacher. Therefore, players are permitted to participate in AYSO and/or recreational leagues when they join LAFC but only between U9 and U11 age groups. Players are not permitted to miss any LAFC training sessions or games due to playing outside of the club. Players are subject to suspension if this rule is not followed.
Player Dedication (U12 — U19)
For under 12 and older teams, we expect our players to be 100% dedicated to their LAFC team, and therefore insist that those players no longer continue to play in AYSO, Recreational and other leagues, in order to avoid overplaying, burn out and/or injury.
If approached with the proper mindset, any cup competition can provide a rich learning experience for players. At the youth level, tournament competitions should be approached as competition in the name of development.
The choice and decision to participate in tournaments will be made jointly with the coach, the DOCs, and the VP of Soccer Operations.
LAFC determines tournament participation based on the following principles:
- Participation in tournaments should fit into the rhythm of the season and appropriateness to the team
- Participation in tournaments should fit the level of competition of the various teams
- Choice of event should present team with a developmental opportunity
- The game-practice-game cycle is a learning process that should allow enough time for players and coaches to experience the game, reflect on the game, discuss the game, apply the lessons to practice and to prepare for the next game, play the next game and begin the process again
Coast Soccer League
The Coast Soccer League is the largest league in the nation in membership with over 2,100 teams featuring over 30,000 players that compete in over 15,000 games on 540 fields throughout Southern California.
Coast Soccer League is a state, regional and national leader in the competitive youth soccer landscape. With more than 170 clubs and 2,100 teams covering the 330 miles from San Luis Obispo to the U.S. — Mexico border, Coast Soccer League has drawn praise from soccer organizations both inside and outside the United States. In particular, Coast Soccer League has focused on club and player development, corporate partnerships that provide direct benefits to Coast Soccer League members, and the use of technology to organize programs and promote Coast Soccer League players.
There are currently four bracketing levels of competition for U9 through U15, namely, Gold, Silver Elite, Silver and Bronze levels. This ground up philosophy has resulted in several programs that set new standards for league organization and player development in the United States. These include Coast Soccer League Premier, an invitation only league for top boys and girls teams in the U16, U17 and U19 age levels.
State and National Cup
While it is great fun for the players, we place minimal importance on the results of preparation tournaments. However, we do emphasize the need for our teams to win State and National Cup tournaments.
State and National Cup is a CYSA (Cal South) sanctioned event that begins in February for younger teams and April for older teams. Winning an age group leads to inclusion and participation in a Regional championship tournament held in mid June, followed by a National competition in mid July.
At the younger ages in general there is an effort to give every player roughly equal playing time, particularly during tournaments and league play, though this may not be the case if a player does not satisfy practice attendance and effort expectations. However, at State and National Cup, it is possible that only the starting eleven will see considerable playing time. State and National Cup is the culmination of a year’s hard work and effort. We acknowledge that players may be disappointed as a result of this policy. Players and parents should not be surprised by the different approach toward playing time at State and National Cups.
Prior to or during the December break, the club asks players and parents to participate in a coach’s evaluation. The sources of input are confidential and we encourage parents and players to participate as this is a critical way for LAFC to improve our coaching staff. This gives the DOCs an opportunity to analyze players’ and parents’ satisfaction with their coaches. These evaluations are a factor in determining whether a coach will be retained with the team and/or club.
The player evaluation is a formal communication between the player and the coach. The club provides coaches with some guidelines to follow suggesting that more information provided in a thoughtful manner is best, but as with most communications, coaches may approach this sort of thing very differently and more or less effectively.
The first evaluation may take place during the December break with the second evaluation a reasonable time after California/State/National Cup. The timing is largely up to the coach, but ample time to improve player strengths and work on weaknesses is the goal of this process. Evaluations can be scheduled either before or after practice, but not during practice. Good preparation by coaches and players will produce better results. In advance of the evaluation, players should prepare a list of questions they may have about their performance.
Player evaluations serve an important role in determining the following year’s placement process. Any player who is unhappy with an evaluation should discuss the details with the coach at to be sure of his or her position on the team. If a player thinks they might be on the cusp it is incumbent on the player to ask the coach the appropriate questions. There is no reason why a player should be surprised if they don’t make the team at tryouts and players are encouraged to assume responsibility for knowing their own status at all times.
It is often difficult for parents to accept that their child may be on the cusp. A parent is encouraged to meet with the coach to discuss what their player can do to improve and what the expectations for their player might be going forward into the future. Solutions might be to send the player to extra training sessions, which may improve the player’s skill level, but may or may not improve it enough to keep a position on the team. A coach may suggest physical training sessions at CATZ to help with injury prevention, agility, strength and conditioning.