In a growing effort to help provide a better environment for all players and listening to many parents suggestions for improvement, the club has decided to change its format for the In Town Soccer Division, previously know as Recreational (Rec) Soccer. As a result, all divisions within the In Town Soccer Division will be restructured. The purpose of this restructuring is to provide a better playing environment and promote more touches on the ball. The new In Town Soccer Format is to align closer with other clubs, and more importantly, match the development recommendations encouraged by United States Youth Soccer philosophy of maximizing touches for players on the ball.
Recap of the Overall Club Structure
Recreational Soccer – A traditional style of program, where all coaching and training is carried out by volunteer coaches. The program is specifically designed to be as low cost as possible. Games are all played in-town with the exception of the Seniors who play in the 3M Rec League. They traditionally will play half games at home and other at locations like East Brunswick, Manalapan, Old Bridge, and East Windsor. Our recreational program at Monroe is aimed at players aged 4 years old through 17 years of age and is open to any player.
Divisions are broken down as follows:
- Shrimps – Pre K, instructional games/scrimmages
- Munchkins – Kindergarten, 3v3 or 4v4 on small fields with pug nets. No referees, coaches may not be on the field. Let the kids play and don’t focus on positions. They will figure it out.
- Juniors – 1st & 2nd Grade, 5v5 including a goalie on smaller field. Referees may be used, and coaches may not be on the field. Let the kids play and don’t focus on positions. They will figure it out.
- Intermediates - 3rd & 4th Grade, 8v8 on small sided fields with referees
- Hotshots – 5th & 6th Grade, 8v8 on small sided fields with referees.
- 3M (Middlesex, Mercer and Monmouth Counties League) – 7th to 12th grade broken in Junior 3M and Senior 3M - part of 3M Recreational League – play full sided 11v11 games.
Little Kickers - (part of our MDA - Monroe Development Academy Program) for children ages 3-5years old. Those in Pre-K or Kindergarten as an alternative can enroll in our Rec division. Little Kickers are set sessions generally held on Fridays or Saturdays for 1 hour, and run by a Red Bulls Trainer. This is an introductory program for children who want to learn the game of soccer and have fun. This is a great program to build social skills.
Travel Program – A program for more competitive players within the soccer club which starts at U8 and goes through to U19. Travel programs are typically slightly more expensive as they include tournaments, higher referee fees, and professional trainers. Try-Outs are held in late April each year.
Monroe Development Academy Program (MDA) – This is a new training division of Monroe Township Soccer Club. For players ages 3yrs and up, who want more soccer-related education. Program follows a curriculum matrix designed to focus on the individual player. All training is carried out by a professional trainer.
Why Small-Sided Games?
From US Youth Soccer Association
US Youth Soccer has thought long and hard about the answer to the question, "Why Small-Sided Games?"
What does "Small-Sided Games" mean? These are soccer games with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field. These are fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball.
Here are some of the reasons why we believe, as soccer coaches, administrators and parents must guarantee that our young soccer players play small-sided games:
1. Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)
2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (Tactical development)
3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (Reduced field size)
4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Less players on the field and less players on the team will guarantee this! (Need to feel worthy and need to feel important)
5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more, involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)
6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)
7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (Pure excitement)
These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. The "Small-Sided" environment is a developmentally appropriate environment for our young soccer players. It’s a FUN environment that focuses on the young soccer player.
It just makes sense doesn’t it?