From Our CEO: Welcome to the new Season
To all Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Members and Affiliates-
Tomorrow morning, nearly 128,000 children will play their first league game of the 2016-17 season. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved for the work they have done to get to opening day, including all of the folks involved in the pre-season tournaments. Thousands of adults, volunteers and professional staffs have put in countless hours of preparation towards this season. I ask all of the parents and players to join me in thanking them for what they have done so far and acknowledge that there is still a great deal of work yet to be done.
2016 has been a momentous year for the sport of soccer. Never before has the game undergone so many distinct and important changes within such a short time span. Under the direction of US Soccer this past year, we have changed to birth-year registration, mandated small-sided games, and addressed head injuries and heading the ball at our younger ages. The language of our sport is changing too. We now speak of build out lines and that our ‘02’s and ‘03’s have replaced our U15’s and U14’s. This has been a lot to process to say the least. I thank everyone again for their patience and cooperation.
As we open tomorrow, I want to ask everyone for further cooperation and patience. This Fall Season is about learning. Coaches, players and referees are all learning new rules and how to adapt to the “new” versions of the game. So when the games begin, it’s imperative that we collectively raise our level of respect and fair play towards each other. Not every referee’s call will be correct. Not every coaching decision will be understood. No player will play a perfect game. And that’s regardless of the new rules!
For those playing in the U12 and below age groups with small-sided games and the introduction of the heading rules, please focus less on the rules themselves and more on why they were created. The overarching philosophy is to create a better environment for teaching and playing the game. We can better develop children as players in this new environment. Coaches and referees must work together to teach the players, and each other. This must be a collaborative effort – always – but for sure this fall.
Parents, you will be held to this standard as well. Fair play and respect must be found on the sidelines as well as on the field. Remember, the game is for the players, and the players are children. Sometimes in younger age groups, the referees are teenagers but nonetheless referees. Treat them with respect as if it were you own child. Be respectful of everyone at the field: referees, opposing fans, coaches and most certainly the players. Honor the game and its participants.
I wish for all players to have a fun and healthy year. On behalf of the 128,000 children playing soccer in Eastern Pennsylvania, thank you all for your cooperation and preparation to make this Fall Season a positive one. Best of luck to all!
Chief Executive Officer
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer