It is the desire of Lexington United to create a proper learning environment for the game of soccer which is both fun and develops proficient skills in the game of soccer. The values of fair play and sportsmanship are ones we hope to instill in all of our participants. LUSC offers two distinct programs, Travel and In-town, for players to participate in. Below is an explanation of the team formation process for these two programs.
Travel Soccer Team Formation
Travel teams are formed by placing similarly skilled players on the same team (skill based). We believe that this leads to the most positive experience and is mostly likely to keep kids playing, having fun and loving the game of soccer. Teams are formed each fall on the basis of player evaluations that are conducted by independent evaluators in May. Minor adjustments to teams may be made between fall and spring to accommodate such things as: changes in fall to spring registration numbers, new players moving into Lexington, and significant changes to a player’s performance during the fall season.
- Keep the players’ interests as the top priority in the formation process
- Incorporate multiple input sources by evaluating all LUSC players with independent evaluators to maximize objectivity
- Maintain a consistent process across all age groups in the LUSC Travel program
Fall Travel Team Formation Process
- In May, independent player evaluations are held for each age group that will participate in the Travel soccer program in the coming fall. Players that plan to play Travel soccer only in the spring of the following year should attend evaluations.
- The evaluations are organized by LUSC’s Director of Coaching.
- To maintain independence in the process, the evaluators are professional soccer coaches from outside Lexington.
- The independent evaluators observe players in mini-game formats and activities focused on specific skills. The evaluators are charged to judge each player’s comfort level on the ball (technique), decision making ability (tactical ability), and athleticism.
- The input from the evaluators is submitted directly to the LUSC Registrar.
- For more detailed information on the independent evaluations, please visit http://lexingtonunited.org/evaluations.
- In late May/early June, LUSC Travel team coaches prepare and submit to their age group Division Director their own evaluations for each player.
- Similar to the independent evaluators, the coaches assess each player, primarily on his/her technical skills and tactical awareness.
- The coach evaluations are submitted to the age group’s Division Director, who in turn submits them to the LUSC Registrar.
Formation of Preliminary Travel Teams
- Once all data (independent evaluation ratings and coaches’ ratings) has been collected by the LUSC Registrar, the LUSC Registrar prepares a rankings spreadsheet directly from the ratings of the independent evaluators, while also having coaches’ ratings in a separate column to serve as a reference point for possible player movement in the team formation process. This data is sent to the Division Director.
- The Division Director reviews the data and identifies any aberrations from the independent evaluators’ ratings. The Division Director should make adjustments (player movement) in consultation with the Director of Coaching, other LUSC pro coaches, and the coaches in his/her division. There must be compelling data to support any proposed adjustments.
Finalizing Travel Teams
- The Division Director submits his/her proposed teams to the LUSC Evaluations Committee, which is comprised of 5-6 appointed LUSC Board members and the Director of Coaching. Note: If a Division Director is a member of the Evaluation Committee they remove themselves from the approval process of their division.
- Each member of the Evaluations Committee conducts a thorough review of the submitted proposed teams, focusing on a) confirming the independent evaluator input has been used as the primary input for team formation, b) understanding any proposed adjustments to the preliminary teams and validating that there is sufficient data to support all proposed adjustments, and c) presenting additional challenges regarding proposed adjustments and/or adjustments that are not proposed but maybe should be considered.
- Once any questions are resolved, each member of the Evaluations Committee must submit in writing his/her approval of the final teams.
- Division Directors communicate final teams to coaches, and coaches contact families with their players’ team placements by July 15th.
Spring Travel Team Formation Process
Recognizing that continuity is an important component to the development process, every effort is made to keep teams as consistent as possible from the fall to spring. However, there are situations that necessitate teams changing for the spring season.
Reasons for a potential fall to spring change of team:
- A player was far outpacing or was struggling in a manner that made it a negative experience for that player.
- The number of players registered changes in a manner that alters the number of teams formed (e.g., fall registrations warrant 6 teams in an age group but spring registrations warrant only 5 teams). If the number of teams changes, then it’s obviously difficult to maintain continuity with the fall teams.
- There are new players to the Travel soccer program (a child is new to Lexington, a player chooses to play Travel soccer instead of In-town, etc.)
Spring teams are reviewed by the Director of Coaching before becoming final.
Division Directors communicate final teams to coaches and coaches contact families with their players’ team placements by February 15th.
In-town Soccer Team Formation
The LUSC In-town program forms teams by mixing players of varying abilities in an effort to provide balanced teams to ensure that games will be competitive with no team having more “strong” players than another team. In-town teams will often try to accommodate requests to place friends together on the same team as long as team balance is maintained.
Please see special section below regarding the LUSC Kindergarten team formation process.
Guiding Principles of the In-town Team Formation Process
- Utilize available player assessment data to, first and foremost, create balanced teams — a key component to the success of the In-town programs.
- Within reason and only when feasible, accommodate requests to play on the same team with a friend or two.
- Maintain as consistent a process as possible across all age groups in the LUSC In-town program.
- Ensure each team has adequate coaches who are organized and committed.
Fall In-town Team Formation Process
- In early June, LUSC coaches prepare and submit to their age group Division Director a brief assessment for each player.
- The coaches assess each player, primarily on his/her technical skills and tactical awareness.
- The coach assessments are submitted to the age group’s Division Director.
- In July/August, the age group Division Director forms teams using the coach assessments, keeping the guiding principles in mind.
- Division Directors communicate final teams to coaches and coaches contact families with their players’ team placements as soon as possible. This should not be any later than August 30th.
Spring In-town Team Formation Process
- Every effort is made to keep teams as consistent as possible from the fall to spring.
- There are situations, however, that necessitate teams changing for the spring season:
- Competitive imbalance across teams that necessitates a re-balancing.
- The number of players registered changes in a manner that alters the number of teams formed (e.g., Fall registrations warrant 8 teams in and age group but Spring registrations warrant only 6 teams).
- Division Directors communicate final teams to coaches and coaches contact families with their players’ team placements as soon as possible. This should not be any later than March 25th.
Kindergarten Team Formation Process
- As Kindergarten players are new to LUSC, there is no evaluation data available.
- The Director of Coaching (or designee) and the Registrar form Kindergarten teams.
- Generally, teams are formed by creating small clusters of 3-4 players from the same elementary school and combining those clusters to form a team that is 10-12 players.
- Within reason and only when feasible, requests to play on the same team with friends are accommodated.