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I will try and help each area and state does things a little different.   One I have worked with many clubs and we have absolutely let kids choose to be on the lower level team.  If they don't want to make the A team commitment. So I would be frustrated that they wouldn't let you drop down obviously people can't move up but down should be fine.  

 

Goalkeeper training is hard to find period.  Even in soccer crazy places usually only really elite clubs have dedicated training.   Sometimes you get lucky but their just aren't very many goalkeeping coaches. 

The leagues the club or team may truly not know what league they will play in.  Once kids get older their are often tournaments or ranking systems. That decide team placement to make the leagues fair and competitive. 

Travel soccer can be totally nuts I mean my team was amazing and made the regionals each year that meant our season was like 16 months long.  That being said their should be a middle ground team unfortunately not knowing your area it's hard to give you advice on how to find it.  

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Yes. Soccer is based on the year of birth.

Yes, you don't find out what day you practice on until after you are placed on a team. That was frustrating -- but the coaches decide what days they are available to play and the coaches are volunteers and I don't want to be a coach. Evidently some families choose to be coaches so they can set the day of their practice!

 

And as the kids get older you do have to travel farther -- its harder to find other teams with enough kids of the appropriate age level to compete against evidently.

 

OTOH We only did rec soccer. Select is more expensive and requires more commitment that we aren't ready to give.

 

ETA: My daughter also loved goalkeeping. Our rec league had an optional additional practice you could go to to learn more about goalkeeping.  ANd there are goalkeeper summer camps. But no specific team had goalkeeping training in particular.

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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I have no advice but I am not one bit surprised.  We have a single "recreational" soccer club in our entire area.  The teams compete together and there are levels similar to what you describe.  When you sign up you at least know that you will not travel more than 20 minutes for any game or practice.  But after that, you sign up and PAY before you know when, where, or how frequent practices and games will be.  Somehow this activity is still wildly popular and there is a waiting list every year, but I do not get it.  How can anyone commit when you don't know when or where or how often you need to be somewhere?!?!?  No other local sport operates like this.  My kid has been in travel sports.  I know the drill.  It's a pain but we knew what we were getting into before committing.  Soccer was a hard no due to these issues.  What is it about soccer, specifically?

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I just want to weigh in and let you know that you are not crazy. Americans take kids' sports much more seriously than logic would otherwise dictate -- I assume there are cultural or sociological reasons for that, and I'm trying not to find fault. It is what it is.

As an outsider, I encourage you to consider using sports for recreational purposes only. Pushing sports rarely has good outcomes later in life and frequently has no outcomes at all beyond general physical fitness -- which can be accomplished recreationally.

There is literally no reason at all that he needs to dedicate himself to fully develop whatever potential he has as a soccer goalkeeper. It's a false goal set in front of him by a false system that turns a kids game into a life goal.

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I would look for other rec options in the area that have more practices per week.  Or if you're looking at summer, there are lots of private schools that host sports camps / clinics that I assume are better than typical rec training.

Not sure about goal keeper training specifically.  Maybe you could find an older student who would give your son lessons for a small fee?

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14 minutes ago, SKL said:

...

Not sure about goal keeper training specifically.  Maybe you could find an older student who would give your son lessons for a small fee?

My mom did this with several other families for swim lessons.  The moms hired a high school swim team member and lifeguard to give lessons in a neighbor's pool.

I also did tennis lessons with one other girl.  Our teacher was the top player from the high school team.

Both were really good experiences for me.  Goaltending seems like a good candidate for this!

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Random thoughts...

specialized positions in any sport like goalkeepers in soccer, lacrosse, hockey, and pitchers/catchers in softball/baseball are notorious difficult to get good coaching from team coaches. Sometimes you get lucky and have a coach or assistant with experience in the position who works with the kids. Or sometimes orgs have a program or coach that provides training for any kids in the org...so all the goalies in the org go to a special clinic at a certain time. Oftentimes, parents simply pay for individual training. 

Specialized positions are high pressure. Goalies and pitchers esp. If you’re lucky, your kid is on a supportive team. If not, it can be brutal, and your kid is blamed for “losing the game.” Situations like this, when they happen, absolutely suck the joy and benefit out sports participation.

When are tryouts in your area? Tryouts are oftentimes at the end of the previous season...so months and months in advance. You might be on a different schedule and can still get in.

and I say this with complete sympathy...given what you’ve written, it is possible you’re going to have a difficult time finding a good fit. It is hard to walk into an org and make an “A” team without having been there before. Those teams are picked before tryouts, in general. There might be a few spots open, but unless your kid is a ringer, he won’t get one. 

It’s fun to walk up to a coach and say...how many spots are open and see them bluster “the whole team” and if you push, and say...Look...don’t waste my time. How many really? Just read their faces. Most of the team is picked.

And teams very much expect you to have your time wide open for games and practices whenever. Many parents are fine with this. If baseball or soccer is their kid’s thing...they keep summer or winter relatively open. They make friends with other parents to carpool so they can have some flexibility. You are a bit out of the loop bc when families are in an org for a long time, they have kind of “historic knowledge” like U11 practices at Washington park, usually on tues, thurs, fri, and games are usually mon and wed.

i forgot what else you asked LOL

Disclaimer: YMMV

 

 

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You are not crazy.  This is why my very talented dd does not do travel soccer. She is one of four,  her father works Sundays, we have church,we don't have $6000 to spend on soccer, I have no desire to drive 2 hours to a game when my area has lots of children she could play against, etc.......  My brother's family did go the travel baseball route and many weekends they travel and stay in hotels.  It does not work for our family at all.  It is what their family does as a family.    IMO it is way out of balance. And, yes, your experience with the parents is very true, not an anomaly.  I think it's the only way things can be so crazy--shame the parents so no one says the emperor has no clothes.

So, we stay rec team and dh practices extra with her.  There is no way she'll every play soccer at college or even high school bc of our decision, but at least she'll have family time and we'll have money to send her to college.

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Just now, freesia said:

You are not crazy.  This is why my very talented dd does not do travel soccer. She is one of four,  her father works Sundays, we have church,we don't have $6000 to spend on soccer, I have no desire to drive 2 hours to a game when my area has lots of children she could play against, etc.......  My brother's family did go the travel baseball route and many weekends they travel and stay in hotels.  It does not work for our family at all.  It is what their family does as a family.    IMO it is way out of balance. And, yes, your experience with the parents is very true, not an anomaly.  I think it's the only way things can be so crazy--shame the parents so no one says the emperor has no clothes.

So, we stay rec team and dh practices extra with her.  There is no way she'll every play soccer at college or even high school bc of our decision, but at least she'll have family time and we'll have money to send her to college.

The plus to our route, I've discovered, is that the other parents who stay rec team tend to have our same values, so there is great comraderie on the sidelines.  That was not true with my kids who only did the early years of soccer and left around the time the travel teams started.

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I have a now adult son who was a goalkeeper and I have a dd who did a club sport. Finding a place that will guarantee plenty of play as a goalie is always hard because most teams only need two and one usually doesn't get as much playing time. I didn't let my son join the travel team for some of the reasons you listed and I later regretted it (at least a little) because it definitely affected his ability to get playing time when he went to the high school team. It was obvious who had played rec and who had played on travel teams. My dd did a different sport but was on a club team which are travel teams and, yes, if you are joining a club/travel team they expect that it is a priority for you, that you will expect lots of practice hours, and that you are actually willing to travel. DD traveled all over the state and into surrounding states for her sport and there was an optional very far away event that became less optional as you advanced in the sport.

In your situation, you'll probably need to stay with a recreational team that allows you to choose your commitment level. Since you live in a metro area, you should be able to find something close that can still give good skill training and competition. You might also look into goalie training camps where he can work directly on those skills.

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You’re not crazy.  We don’t do travel sports.

School teams, rec teams, even YMCA teams are fine but I don’t get the travel league stuff at all. Too expensive. Too much pressure. For what? A remote chance at a college scholarship that covers less than we spent on the sport?

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1 minute ago, BaseballandHockey said:

For my super extroverted, doesn't like to be still kid, whose home life is super stressful right now, it's a chance for him to spend the time when I'm at work making friends, moving his body, and doing what he loves in a safe environment.  That's worth a lot.  

I would also like my kid to play high school sports, and a rec player isn't going to make the cut.  Because in my experience as a high school teacher, high energy kids like mine with working parents benefit from being kept busy after school.

I do not see how, if my goal is for him to move his body, spending 6 hours sitting in a car gets us towards that goal. 

I’m not judging anyone else. I just don’t think it’s worth it for us.  And I agree high energy kids do best keeping busy. 

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Goalies are a different bird, that’s for sure,

one of my fav stories involves a lacrosse coach walking thru the school halls one day. He spotted this kid and said, “hey, Murphy, you’re insane. Will you play goal for me? I’m short a goalie.”

and Murphy did. And a legend was born...

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Seeing what kind of time commitment is required for rec league baseball for my just turned 8 year old (3x/week, could be any day except Sunday) makes me glad none of my kids are particularly athletic. I'm glad he's enjoying it, and I hope he keeps doing it for awhile, but I'll be very surprised if he's ever good enough that we need to worry about travel ball and all that sort of thing. I mean, I don't tell HIM that of course! (Although we did have a conversation where he told me he wanted to be a pitcher for the Braves when he grew up, and I told him there are lots of other baseball jobs, too. "Like a coach?" he asked hopefully. "Or maybe the person who does the numbers," I said. He's good at math.)

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

 

Now, to be clear, I haven't asked each club.  Some clubs just have one team at each level, and you try out with that coach.  When I asked whether you could pick to move down to a lower level, it was in a general soccer forum for the whole area. 

There seem to be maybe 10 clubs that offer goalkeeper training in my area.  They cluster all the goal keepers from teams in an age band and get them together once or twice a week.  So, we're focusing on those clubs.

Yeah, I just don't understand how, at a low level, there can't be enough kids in my metro area that they can't say "we're committing to playing in one of the leagues in this metro area".  For context, it's like my kid was in Philly,  and they were sending him to play in Baltimore.  Not like they'd be sending him to another suburb, or even another state.  I could live with that.  

So, I figured that if I targeted the lowest level team in the clubs that aren't that good, it would be the middle ground.   But, maybe that's not the right strategy.  I don't feel like I can call the coaches and say "so, I'm looking for a not very good team for my kid whose parents are kinda lazy".  I think they'll be offended.  

I would probably look at overall level of the associated club.  If the club is a premier club than even it's bad teams will be trying to play at a high level.

Don't know if it will be the same in your area but middling teams/clubs here would use words like select instead of elite or premier.  They would be trying to play in developmental or regional leagues instead of the premier league.   

Their are probably enough kids in a metro area to out together a league without travel but that may leave a serious imbalance in more rural areas.    The only team in the state that ever could beat us was from a rural area about three hours away from us if they only played teams close them they would have slaughtered them 10-0 everytime.

Yes, it would be ideal to be a goalie who still gets plenty of time on the field.   I wouldn't stress about it if he enjoys goalie.  He can pickup plenty of field tactics at practice and watching games. 

 

Edited by rebcoola
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I totally agree. I hate extracurriculars that aren't up-front re: costs or practice times. Like, I NEED to know these things before I commit. This isn't my only responsibility in the week, lol. 

(Totally unrelated but oldest DD signed up for online driver's ed this week and next week, from 6:30-9:30pm. On Tuesday, they let us know that we're also expected to show up at a certain location {20 min away} the following week, mid-afternoon. I can swing it but sheesh. How hard is it to be up front!)

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I’m sorry. I know it is frustrating. 
 

We have a little experience with soccer but mostly travel baseball and a couple other sports. The one thing I can tell you is that when you sign on to these things you are more often than not just agreeing to whatever happens even when it doesn’t make sense. Plans change. Practice times change. Games change. Tournaments change. Fees even change sometimes. What is promised at the outset really doesn’t hold a lot of value. 🙁 You are pretty much agreeing to jump however high they ask for the season. It doesn’t make sense and it is so annoying. But I think the families that are really successful with it just sign on and come what may. And so often it doesn’t make sense. So you trying to makes sense of it is going to drive you crazy. We sometimes traveled hours to play teams from our hometown. Made me nuts. 
 

You have my sympathy. You will go nuts trying to make it make sense, if our sports experience is at all applicable. And I tend not to trust what coaches say as far as which team kid will be on, position played, league played in, travel, etc. So if it can’t work for your family, that is ok. But you likely will be frustrated a lot if you want all the information and costs and etc set and structured. Sorry to be negative! I hope I am wrong and you find something more user friendly for you family than our experiences were.

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8 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I’m sorry. I know it is frustrating. 
 

We have a little experience with soccer but mostly travel baseball and a couple other sports. The one thing I can tell you is that when you sign on to these things you are more often than not just agreeing to whatever happens even when it doesn’t make sense. Plans change. Practice times change. Games change. Tournaments change. Fees even change sometimes. What is promised at the outset really doesn’t hold a lot of value. 🙁 You are pretty much agreeing to jump however high they ask for the season. It doesn’t make sense and it is so annoying. But I think the families that are really successful with it just sign on and come what may. And so often it doesn’t make sense. So you trying to makes sense of it is going to drive you crazy. We sometimes traveled hours to play teams from our hometown. Made me nuts. 
 

You have my sympathy. You will go nuts trying to make it make sense, if our sports experience is at all applicable. And I tend not to trust what coaches say as far as which team kid will be on, position played, league played in, travel, etc. So if it can’t work for your family, that is ok. But you likely will be frustrated a lot if you want all the information and costs and etc set and structured. Sorry to be negative! I hope I am wrong and you find something more user friendly for you family than our experiences were.

See, that's just bonkers.  How do families make that work?

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4 hours ago, pinball said:

Goalies are a different bird, that’s for sure,

one of my fav stories involves a lacrosse coach walking thru the school halls one day. He spotted this kid and said, “hey, Murphy, you’re insane. Will you play goal for me? I’m short a goalie.”

and Murphy did. And a legend was born...

This made me laugh. As I said above, DS was a soccer goalie for years. Who doesn't love getting a ball kicked in their face? He now plays on an adult team as a goalie in a league with Spanish speaking immigrants. He doesn't speak Spanish at all, but they only cared about whether he was a decent keeper. He also loved lacrosse. You get to run down the field and hit people with sticks! He's a percussionist because you get to beat on things! He and the other goalie at his high school both joined the military. Yes, they're a "different bird " all right. LOL! 

To the OP, at younger ages and in rec leagues, it is really easy to get lots of time in the goal because most kids do not want to play that position. They want to run around and score the big goal. Later it does become more specialized with either most of the playing time or almost none of the playing time.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that totally non-sportsball me should open a soccer league, or club or whatever the proper name. My soccer place would allow rec level beyond 12 or 14 years old. I made a decision, or rather circumstances did, that our family would not play select. I was going with the gamble that kids must not want to play in middle school or high school. I was wrong, I now know 2 and there is nowhere to play anymore.

I and my kids do not need jerseys, trophies or tournaments. They just want exercise and teammates.

 

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

That's the thing. We aren't even lookin gat the premier clubs.  Even if he somehow made the A or B team in this club, it would sort of make sense to me.  But this is nowhere near the top club in my area, and it just seems like their bottom team doesn't need to go so far away.  

This isn't the top league either.  Their top 2 teams play in two other leagues, which ironically don't travel nearly as far.  

Sorry, I know I'm way over reacting to this, and having a mini tantrum.  It's been a really overwhelming end to a really hard week, and I'm stressing about out this because it's way less stressful than other stressors.  I know that, so I probably shouldn't have dragged the Hive into it. 

No I don't think you are overreacting it's shouldn't be that hard to find a team that fits.  I do absolutely think most of it is nuts.  People often think I will push for kids to be more serious or intense because of my resume.  They are very surprised when I urge simplifying programs and keeping it fun.   I do try and give grace over a lot of the scheduling stuff often their is some very overwhelmed overworked volunteer trying to find fields for dozens of not hundreds of teams.

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53 minutes ago, Terabith said:

See, that's just bonkers.  How do families make that work?

Well it is bonkers. For my oldest who we did the most of it with we did work to find teams that were closest to what we were willing to do but then we did have to be flexible. And if something came up that we just couldn’t make work we would say “no”. But for the most part I think people just assume they will be playing every weekend during the season even if the details are iffy. If more than one child is involved parents divide and conquer. Lots of people have extended family help and most do not have many children involved. It’s a burden. My oldest played in college (not on scholarship) and had a fantastic experience. I’ve asked him many times over the years if it was worth all the missed birthday parties, etc. and he emphatically says yes. So some kids are wired in a way that makes it something the family is willing to invest in. 
 

I think it is bonkers but I do obviously understand why people do it. And it is not always because we think our kids are going to get scholarships or pro contracts. 

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Unfortunately that is how club sports are.  You are expected to be available any time, any place.  My daughter played club softball for 5 years.  We lived in a Seattle suburb.  Most tournaments were an hour away.  There were several that we did that were in Portland, which is 3.5 hours, with no traffic.  Others were in Eastern WA which is 3 hours away.   I drove about 12K miles a year for practices & tournaments.  As they get older it gets worse and you have to travel farther for tournaments.  I will say that staying in one local area, even a large one, kids play the same teams over and over and it gets to be less fun BC you know which teams are good/bad, which have the mean coaches & parents etc.  Trips to ID and such were fun BC you pulled in a bunch of new teams so it was more challenging and more fun. 

Mine was the oldest of 3 so I did not let her do club until she was 12, almost 13.  If I had to do it again I would not change a thing.  She thinks she missed out on opportunities bc she started so late.  I stand firm that young kids do not need to specialize so young, they still need down time to rest and play with friends and such. I see way too many 9/10 year olds that are playing select and all their time is their sport and they spend a lot of time injured bc their little bodies just aren't ready for the stress put on them by only playing one sport non-stop.  Then, by the time they get to high school they are so beat up they don't or can't play in HS anyway. 

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Have you looked at the local schools to see if he would qualify to play on thier team? Some areas allow homeschooled kids to play on their home brick and mortar school team.  Or in homeschool groups? 

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15 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

I think it is bonkers but I do obviously understand why people do it. And it is not always because we think our kids are going to get scholarships or pro contracts. 

We are one of the crazy families, and it’s not because we have any thoughts about college or beyond. We invest time and money into crazy sports schedules because my kids are athletic and competitive. They are learning how to set goals, work hard, fail, succeed, and strive for excellence using their talents and interests.

Most families have some activities or interests they pursue with passion - music, debate, reading, chess, travel, etc - without thoughts of college or professional gain. 

My oldest ds has a personal goal of being a high school state champion in his winter sport. We have supported him every step along the way the past 10 years. He fell short this year as #3, so he asked us to invest even more in him over the offseason. We will gladly support his goal, just like any other goal he would set for himself. 

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14 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Now I want to know what’s on your resume.

I was national team pool player never made a final roster.  Basically the 5th best goalkeeper for my age in the country at one point .

Edited by rebcoola
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15 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

We aren't homeschoolers, we're crisis schoolers, so hopefully numbers will be down enough that he'll be in school in the fall.  

In the public schools here, sports start in 7th and he'll be in 6th.  His previous school has sports and he could play as a member of the parish, but their soccer is very very low key, one practice one game, for a couple months in the fall.  He definitely wants more than that.  

Does your area have any indoor soccer centers? Maybe put the money toward lessons and options at an indoor center for 6th and then try out for the school team in 7th. My son was a competitive swimmer (year round). I don't regret those years, but they were sooo crazy busy with the daily practices, weekend meets and travel! 

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19 hours ago, Acorn said:

My soccer place would allow rec level beyond 12 or 14 years old. I made a decision, or rather circumstances did, that our family would not play select. I was going with the gamble that kids must not want to play in middle school or high school. I was wrong, I now know 2 and there is nowhere to play anymore.

I guess that's one thing my sports-crazy area gets right - there are rec leagues through high school and even for adults! 

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The schedules and time commitments are what kept my family from participating. We had other things to take care of and don't do well out of the house as much as the commitments would require. For my family, it would be crazy to sign up for an open ended thing like that. For others, maybe not.  You have to decide what works for your family. 

In your shoes, I might tell my kid that we would do this for ONE year. And we, the parents, reserve the right to re-evaluate on a year to year basis. Perhaps after the one year, you will know enough families to be on the "in track" to get information more easily and find other families who might be able to help with driving and such. 

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As far as finding a coach or program it's you wi just have to trust their resume. US soccer does have a goalkeeping certificate for coaches but its ridiculous and really only appropriate for professionals.  I believe some other groups do a have certs but nothing I would say actually means much.  It would be ideal if you can find I team that has two to or three keepers and rotates and allows them to still get field time. A red flag would be a coach who doesn't have the goalkeeper involved in ball skills or non shooting drills.  The modern game requires a goalie be comfortable with the ball at their feet.  I didn't play full time in goal until I was probably 16 and even than I played on the field for my high school team.  

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Ahhh the days of travel teams ..... My daughter played both travel soccer and travel softball, eventually giving up soccer for softball.

Just a few pointers from my day ... be wary of clubs that have A, B and C teams. You pay the same amount, but the A team (and sometimes the B team) get the good coaches, the good practices and the attention of the leaders of the club. The other teams are, I think, there to bring in money while having a parent coach over a real coach. It was not a good experience for us. 

The good coaches are either tied up with the A team, or are working with the Seniors to try and get them scouts and scholarships. If your child is on the B or C team you may never even see a real coach.

Also, some of the club teams can be very hard to get into, and not just due to player's abilities. Once my daughter was on the club softball team, tryouts were just a lot of show. I remember one mother complaining that they even held tryouts because all the same girls get picked and she was right. I knew that my daughter was on the team before tryouts even started. 

Like anything else, it starts from the top down. We had a great experience with softball, but I do think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that my daughter was on the A team. Better practices, better weekend trips, and believe me, all the kids know who is on what team. The kids on the C team can be really shuttled off to the side and the other kids know it.

 

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