Why do some teams seem stronger than others? The League tries to balance all the teams within each Division. This balance is first attempted in the "D" Division because after that, most players stay within the same Franchise unless they ask to be taken off a team. The league uses the prior year's team standings in an attempt to determine where to place players who do not remain in the same franchise.
What is the current method for team placements? The existing method of placing players depends on the Division or age group of the players.
E & F Division placements are primarily designed to accommodate the requests and needs of the players and their families (friends, carpooling etc.), given the young age of the players.
For placement at A-D Divisions, we rely primarily on three criteria:
1. Availability on the pre-existing teams or franchises (depends on how many players are returning to their franchise from the prior year)
2. We will consider placing players with one friend when first entering the franchises at the D Division level from E Division, but this is further assessed by information on the players’ abilities as determined by the coaches every year.
3. Typically, returning players in A through D Division are assigned to teams based on the Franchise they played on last year.
At the A-D Division level, there are 3 exceptions to placing returning players into the Franchise they played on last year:
- Returning players can ask to be moved from the franchise they played on last year. In this case, we will determine the Franchise that they will be placed on (always striving to ensure balanced teams).
- If a team is eliminated from a Division due to an insufficient number of players registered in that Division, all players from the disbanded team will be dispersed to the remaining teams based on their skill level. Attempts will be made to keep these players together if they did not ask to be moved from their franchise and their ratings make it possible to do this.
- If a parent volunteers to coach another team at the Board’s request (due to a lack of volunteer coaches), their son/daughter will automatically move with them.
As you can see, the Coaches ratings are very important to the placement process at the A-D Division level and especially at the E Division level for players moving up to D Division.
There are several other ways of assigning teams, which the Board has either tried in the past or has considered:
- an Evaluation Day in August
- a random assignment each year
- a draft similar to Brighton Baseball (without the evaluation)
Please refer to other FAQ’s for reasons why we do not use these methods at Brighton Soccer.
Why are teams not more evenly balanced? Please remember that the main objective of Brighton Soccer is to run a recreational league. We do not believe that we should move away from our “sandlot soccer” roots because that is the atmosphere we believe is important for kids to learn the most about soccer and about life. As a complement to the "have fun" objective, we encourage kids to learn how to play team sports, respect others and display good sportsmanship.
Regardless of what some coaches may think, these values are much more important than winning and losing. Although winning and losing are important, they should not be the entire focus at this recreational level. The "balance the teams" approach does put more of a focus on this aspect of the game. Win or lose, the team is a reflection of the coach and the parents. Over the many years that the league has been in existence, we have seen personal growth in players who pull together and go through a positive experience whether they are on a winning team or not. It has usually depended on the attitude of their parents and coaches.
Placing players with friends and making the teams more balanced are often mutually exclusive and it is not necessarily possible to achieve both objectives at the same time. We can and will try to do both, but need coaches to be aware of the importance of the player ratings in order to be able to achieve this. We used to make every effort to send a formal survey out by the end of the season but received very few of them back. Board members responsible for coaches used to spend an inordinate amount of time in the past chasing these Ratings down (even when we have included a self-addressed, stamped envelope).
Quite the opposite of the Vince Lombardi school of thought, it's not about winning or losing, it's how you play the game and for a good reason - these are kids! They'll learn enough about “dog eat dog” competitive adult behavior soon enough in the real world - they even get that now when they watch some of the "adult" behavior on the fields of this recreational soccer league!
The Board is made up of volunteers and running a league with over 1,200 kids takes a lot of time for Board Members as it is. We have found over the years that the current method of placing players is the most efficient and effective way to conduct team placements without over-burdening the Board Members. Increasing the number of Board members may not necessarily improve the process because scheduling meetings, etc. becomes very complex (getting people together with the current number of Board members is hard enough as it is).
In addition, most board members, coaches, parents and players (who do not want to attend Travel and Premier tryouts), take that time in August to go on vacation and are therefore not always available to attend.
Why doesn’t the League randomly assign Players to teams? Random picks will not guarantee even teams and in addition, will go against one of the recreational values the leagues strives for (letting kids play with their friends). Even this request to play with friends is dealt with by Board members within reason by using it in conjunction with the coaches' ratings when possible.
Why doesn’t the League have a Player draft to balance teams? We used to do a draft but we often ended up with unbalanced teams despite our effort to create balance! We found that the experienced coaches knew how to draft better and knew family names to key in on. Experienced coaches always had a preliminary list of names that they went in with, based on what their sons or daughters told them. New coaches were always at a disadvantage and ended up picking players blindly. Not all coaches showed up for the draft and those teams were really disadvantaged. We also found that there was more recruiting going on and more behind-the-scenes activity. Overall, this method of placement went against the recreational values of the league.
In discussing this with other leagues, we have found that they are not satisfied that they are achieving balanced teams even when they have evaluation and draft processes. The draft system works against some coaches because of the complexity of the rules that are used around the picking process, which involves both a child’s ability and their grade level at school. In addition, they have found that some coaches pick their child’s friends or schoolmates and more often than not, it works to their disadvantage.