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Try Out Tool Kit

Player Development


What is development?  

The basic premise of our development model is that we place like players with like players.  The opportunity for the club to play at multiple levels within SLYSA is the club vision.  We expect to have teams that compete for top Premiere level divisions and we expect to have multiple teams fulfilling Championship and Division 1.  

We have adopted an organizational model that educates our coaches and motivates each coaching member to be actively involved with training sessions.  As coaches, you will receive training information each week.  We educate our coaches with training content as well as overall soccer content.  To take development a step further, we know that traditional clubs have a coach who trains a team.  We have embraced and promoted the idea that a group of coaches train the individual player.  It's more than common to have multiple coaches interact with a player during training sessions. 

Each player is taken through various stages of player development.  This experience encompasses athletic, technical, tactical, nutritional and social development.  Some players will choose not to take this same path and our responsibility is to place those players with individuals who have the same interests as they do.  We train individuals and we rarely focus on the team aspect of development at the younger ages.  In Fall 2020 we will be offering Zoom meeting tactical sessions for teams that are interested.

Development in sports is not linear.  Please communicate to your parents because it's  your responsibility to teach so that families understand that at the beginning of the season a child might be on a certain level team.  As the season progresses you might have an opportunity to move up or down.  That is development specific to a child.  There is no guarantee either way.  A player could be asked to move down and then come right back up and the reverse.  These are simply experiences. You can learn and grow with success and failure as an individual. According to Arsenal FC Head of Youth Academy- Liam Brady, the key to success at the youth level is "You focus on the individual, not the team."  That is true development.

As a club, we expect each parent to support their child.  If you have a parent who gets involved with the coaches every time conflict arises then you could be delaying a child's own personal development with problem solving skills. Sometimes failure is our best teacher.  So even if things are tough wouldn't you want to teach your player persistence?  Development is persistence. And it doesn't always work out.  Sometimes this is also a great life lesson.  Sometimes being told to work harder is healthy.  Falling short of a goal is healthy.  So, development in this club is reality.  In the end, a child's performance is not a reflection of their parent.  But how a child responds to failure is a reflection of the parent.  


Our three pillars of development include:
  Development- (technical, tactical) learn how to train
  Put like players with like players- train to train together
  Compete at your highest level- Train to compete

Here are the colors of the club and their association with teams:
Strong competitive attitude, Focused on competing at the highest level, athletically advanced, strong desire to play soccer as their primary sport


Strong competitive attitude, Focused on competing at the highest level, athletically advanced, strong desire to play soccer as their primary sport.  These players should be getting Blue team experiences if the child is a fit

Developing competitive attitude, focused on playing additional sports and soccer might not be their first choice, athletically able to challenge Royal and Blue level players
Desire to compete against like players
 Plays soccer with friends, could still be highly committed to CYC program
 Athletically challenges players on own team could potentially challenge white team players


Development team, usually a CYC team looking for games in the Spring, enjoys playing with school friends, has multiple interests outside of soccer


We feel like this model provides success for development. The club has spent a lot of time building a culture focused on development.  Development doesn’t always shine brighter on the outside. Sometimes development is what’s on the inside. Dealing with adversity, dealing with change and being able to grow from experiences truly is development.  Make no mistake, there’s a lot of opportunity for you as a coach. We enjoy being involved with our coaches and we expect to continue to provide experiences for your teams.

Offer Letter to Player
Here's a template you can use when making an offer to a family/player

Thank you for attending St. Louis Steamers Soccer Club try outs.  We are encouraged by the fantastic turnout and would like to invite your child to participate in the _________________________.


The __________ age group level is to ensure player development during your player’s soccer experience. It’s very important that players are offered every opportunity to grow and learn the game without the stress of adults forcing children to win and lose at the youth level.


The ______________________ age group is designed to position players to play on teams within SLYSA that compete in divisions that match the skill level of the team.

We know there’s a bonus to learning the right skills early; it not only gives each player a creative style but also provides enjoyment for the game and breeds confidence for each player. When players realize they are getting better it makes them enjoy the game.   The environment for each player should provide a platform for them to learn the game of soccer, build on mistakes and develop into a young responsible person.  


In review, each player will be given an opportunity to train at least twice a week play SLYSA league games as well as play in house league play on Friday nights in an environment suited for players who are developing their abilities.  Since this is a time sensitive and space limited opportunity we would like to hear back from you as soon as possible.  

Cutting a Player

This one is tough.  Hopefully there is minimal activity surrounding this situation.  Here's some info to educate yourself:

Resources to Use When Talking to Families About Being Cut

Coaches are being pressed for answers after try outs which can make things difficult.  Here's some info with regard to having some "battlecards" prepared as you discuss the negative outcome for players.  This isn't easy but as we said at the coaches meeting, we are not a club that takes every player.  We are a select soccer club.  Within 12 months we want every team to be at Division 1 or better.  When we were growing up there were less than 8-10 teams in your age group within the entire city of St. Louis/ St. Louis County.  Now there's over 1,000 teams across the area.  Select sports has turned into pay to play.  We do not want our organization to simply take every player.  You have to earn your spot.  Anyways, here you go-

It is far more difficult to handle the situation where a player is not able to perform at the required level.  The following guidelines are intended to address these types of cases.

  1. When you first present your concerns to the player and parents, also present a plan for her to improve her performance. 

    • As the expert, it is your place to decide what this plan might entail.  Examples could include extra clinics or camps, a conditioning program, working out with other teams, and the like.

    • Do your best not to allow this plan to raise unreasonable expectations in the player's mind, (e.g. ‘If you do these clinics you will be able to stay on the team.')

    • The child must understand that it is not the execution of the plan that will save his/her roster spot. Rather, it is dramatic performance improvement, which may or may not result from following the plan.

  2. Keep the player and parents informed of progress throughout the year

    • Is he/she doing better? Worse? No change? New problems?

    • While the frequency of these progress discussions can vary, it is recommended that at least twice during the season is reasonable.

  3. When making decisions about player selections ensure that you do not drag out the final decision and be honest! 

    • Ensure that the player and family are informed right away.

    • Don't give false hope. If it still looks grim, tell them you haven't seen what you are looking for.  You have done right by the child and have been honest. You won't be able to control what the parents say about you behind your back, so don't loose any sleep over it.

  4. Your sincere concern and affection is required at all times - from the day of first try-out to the moment you deliver the bad news. 

    • You should never show disgust or anger toward a player because he/she does not have the talent you are looking for.

    • Frustration or disappointment is okay if accompanied by sincere concern and affection for the kid.

    • If you feel more strongly about how the kid has damaged your chances of winning than about how the kid feels then you need an attitude adjustment!!!

  5. Make it a policy to give a formal evaluation to all players/families immediately after each season ends. 

    • This may be the best time to cut a player who will certainly not survive tryouts.

    • Telling the player and parents sooner than the end of the season may have a negative effect on team chemistry and performance for those last matches. Yet waiting longer will reduce the time she has to try out for other teams for the upcoming season.

    • What about those players to which you have given a season-long warning, and on-going evaluations, but for whom you are still not absolutely sure. Again, honesty is the best policy. You may advise them not to come to tryouts, or tell them that surviving tryouts will honestly depend on how good the new talent is. Do not tell them that they will probably survive tryouts, even if you believe it. Most kids will take this as a positive signal and begin to adjust to the fact that the improvement plan worked. They will be crushed if you then replace them with an expected superstar that showed up for tryouts.

    • In fact, it is probably a bad idea to tell any of your players that they will probably survive tryouts. Kids talk and compare notes. It won't take them long to come to some inaccurate conclusions about who the coach is going to keep and who he's going to dump.

  6. Tell the parents the bad news first. 

    • Tell them you want to tell the child privately, and you want to do it now. But give them the option of telling the player.

    • Sometimes the parent will tell you that the child has already decided not to continue with the team.  In that case, they made the decision and you just need to thank them for all their efforts while on the team.

  7. The message needs to be honest and caring. 

    • Every coach has a different personality and style of communication, and every player has a different level of maturity.

    • Be honest and caring, and don't try to shift the focus, e.g. don't say, "It was a close decision. Maybe you can go to some mid-summer camps to improve your skills and try out again at our late-summer tryouts."

  8. Develop relationships with other teams that play at a lower level or have a different philosophy.


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