COMPETITIVE PRINCIPLES & GUIDELINES
Ballistic United Soccer Club (“BUSC”) has been committed to providing its youth soccer players a fun, safe and nurturing environment in which to play soccer. To achieve this goal, clear, consistent communication between BUSC, its teams, coaches, players and parents is essential. This document, containing various principles and guidelines for parents and players involved in competitive soccer is one way of explaining in detail, our expectations of you as a member of BUSC. This document will also help identify some potential issues that may arise during the playing season and at the same time answer questions about the club’s decision making process. To make you and your son’s involvement in BUSC more enjoyable and rewarding, please take the time to read the following pages carefully.
II. CLUB AND TEAM DECISION MAKING
A. BUSC AND THE TEAM
Members of BUSC agree to put the soccer club ahead of the team on which they play. In other words, when issues arise that may present a conflict between the goals and objectives of BUSC and the goals and objectives of a particular team, BUSC will come first. The affairs of BUSC will be managed by the club’s Board of Directors, and decisions affecting the club will be made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The decisions of the Board of Directors will be final and without a right of appeal.
B. THE TEAM AND THE PLAYER
Members of BUSC agree to put their team ahead of the individual player. If conflicts arise between the team and a player or parent, the team will come first. The team coach, under the direction of the Director of Coaching will be responsible for making decisions for the good of the team. These decisions will be made after careful consideration of all relevant information and consultation with those affected individuals. The coach’s decision will be objective and will be based on his or her thoughtful evaluation of the facts. Once a decision has been made, it will be final. Players and parents must agree to abide with the decision.
III. PLAYER EVALUATION AND SELECTION
Soccer players wishing to play soccer at a more competitive level may tryout for a BUSC competitive team. These teams are presently classified as Division (formerly “Class”) I and Division III teams. There are no Division II teams (it’s a long story).
A. PLACEMENT DAYS (FORMERLY KNOW AS TRYOUTS)
Placement Days will be held annually and are open to all players who meet the age requirements for the teams in question. Each prospect will be given a fair opportunity to make a team playing competitive soccer. BUSC will announce the date(s), time(s) and location(s) of the player evaluation and selection process. BUSC reserves the right to cancel placement days if the Director of Coaching deems them unnecessary. Conversely, additional placement days may be scheduled if the Director of Coaching deems that necessary. The evaluation and selection period may occur over one to five sessions, with sessions lasting a few hours on a given day. In order to avoid wasting time and resources, BUSC and the Director of Coaching reserve the right to eliminate players at any time during the competitive player evaluation and selection process. In rare instances, the Director of Coaching may ask certain prospects to continue the evaluation process after the published tryout dates.
B. PLAYER EVALUATION
Evaluation and selection will be based solely on how players perform in the four evaluation areas according to the Director of Coaching and his or her staff. Evaluation of players presently playing for BUSC do take place during the competitive soccer season (practices and games), as well as during open placement days. No other criteria will be used to evaluate players, and the decisions of the Director of Coaching are final. Only the Director of Coaching and the team coach will confer in matters of player evaluation and selection.
Former and potential competitive soccer players will be evaluated in four areas:
1) Mental dimensions (character, discipline, and leadership)
2) Physical dimensions (endurance, strength, and speed)
3) Technical competence (soccer skills)
4) Playmaking ability and positional play (making runs, reading the game)
If you have any questions about the meaning of these terms, please ask the coaches or Director of Coaching. The Director of Coaching and his or her coaches will base their player selection decisions solely on the four areas of evaluation, and they are responsible for making decisions for the good of BUSC and the team. Politics, friendships, personal relationships, and financial contributions made to BUSC or any individual team will not enter into the decision making process when it comes to player selection.
During the player evaluation and selection process, please give us the consideration of informing us about whether or not you will commit to playing on a competitive team if your son is asked to join one of those teams. Too often a player is selected, to the exclusion of another player, only to drop out of the competitive soccer program before the playing season even begins. This is not only unfair to the player who may have been bumped by the chosen player, but it is also unfair to the rest of the team and BUSC.
Players who desire to play in an age group that is older then their own, also known as “playing up,” must inform their own age group coach and the Director of Coaching. In order to “play up” on a team, the player must be ranked skill wise in the top half of the older team and slated to start most matches. The team coach and Director of Coaching will confer and decide on any players desiring to play up.
Your understanding regarding the player evaluation and selection process is important, for just as players and parents have the freedom to select a soccer club they wish to be a part of without undue influence or pressure, and with a full understanding of what is expected, the team coach and the Director of Coaching must have the same freedom to select and place soccer players on various teams based on objective criteria. We may not always see eye to eye with respect to the decisions made about player evaluation and selection. However, we trust that you will respect our attempt to be objective in these matters and to make decisions that are good for BUSC and its teams.
IV. PLAYER PARTICIPATION
Each player is under no pressure to join BUSC. Instead, we hope that each player and his parents will consider all of their options and choose what will be best for them, taking into consideration the goals and aspirations of the player as a person and as an athlete. Should a player choose to play for BUSC, we believe that the player will have made an excellent decision about joining a soccer club rich in history, tradition and player advancement.
Once a player commits to joining BUSC, the player agrees to abide by the rules, policies and regulations of the club and the player’s team. This commitment is for one soccer season only. The soccer season begins in mid-July and continues through the following February, March, April, or May, depending on the age group and or success of the team the player will play on through State, Regional, and National competition. At the end of the soccer season, the player’s commitment to BUSC ends and the player is free to leave BUSC if the player feels it is in the player’s best interest. At the beginning of the next soccer season, the player is again free to tryout under the same guidelines mentioned above. Remember, in the event that the player’s team qualifies for State, Regional or National competition, we expect the player to fulfill his commitment to his team and to BUSC by remaining with the team through the end of that level of competition regardless of the player’s status with BUSC for the following season.
While we recognize that there are some things more important in life than soccer, the soccer we play is taken very seriously. In terms of priority, family and school work come first. However, a player who is not willing to put soccer above other recreational activities during the season may affect the player’s playing time and/or the player’s status with BUSC. As a member of BUSC’s competitive soccer program, we expect you to commit to the sport of soccer as your first recreational activity and priority during the soccer season.
BUSC expects its players (and parents) to be dedicated, ethical and honest, and to honor their commitments whether they be verbal or written. Therefore, a player and his parents should make their decisions thoughtfully and carefully. Once a player commits to play for the club, BUSC expects the player’s full participation and support for the entire soccer season. Please take into account the fact that when a player makes his commitment to play for a BUSC competitive team, the team coach or the Director of Coaching may need to inform other potential players that they did not make the team. Please be sensitive to others and consider the decision to play at this level carefully.
If the player commits to play for BUSC, please understand that BUSC will also be ethical and honest, and that it will honor its commitment to the player. No player will be released from a team during a soccer season unless it is for disciplinary reasons. The team coach will make decisions regarding a player’s temporary suspension from the club (after carefully consulting with the Director of Coaching). Decisions by the Director of Coaching are final.
B. REPRESENTATION AND PROMOTION
In order to promote BUSC and team unity it is essential that all players wear the designated team training uniform, game uniform and attire at the appropriate time. In keeping with soccer tradition, the uniform numbers range from 1 for the goalkeeper to 22. Number assignment will be up to the team coach.
Players are not to wear their practice or game uniforms to school, parties or other non-club functions. Players are encouraged, however, to wear their sweats, BUSC logo tee shirts and other BUSC logo casual clothing where ever appropriate.
C. RESPECT AND INTEGRITY
As a member of BUSC, each player is responsible for his own performance and conduct. Honesty, integrity, reliability, communication and good sportsmanship will be expected at all times. BUSC asks that the player care about himself as well as the sport of soccer. This requires that the player maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy team attitude. Any use of drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes is prohibited and may result in temporary suspension or even expulsion from BUSC.
Finally, each player will be expected to conduct himself in a respectable manner at all BUSC or team functions, and will represent BUSC and their team in a positive
V. EXPECTATIONS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE GAMES
During the soccer season the team and its players will participate in practices (also referred to as training sessions), league competition (league games), tournaments and State Cup. When not participating in training sessions, games or tournaments, each player must spend time on their own practicing and honing their craft. Many of the best soccer players in the world spent hours alone with a ball, in some instances a makeshift soccer ball, juggling, dribbling and shooting. Players who play for BUSC are expected to work on improving their game, outside of normal training sessions and games.
From the designated arrival time at all practices and games until they are released from that event by their coach, players are expected to concentrate on soccer and nothing but soccer. Players must arrive on time with the required equipment (shoes, proper BUSC uniform, BUSC warm-ups, a soccer ball, shin guards, and water) and be ready to practice or play. Since practicing and playing their best requires each players undivided attention, there will be no visiting between players and parents, players and members of their family, players and their friends, pets or anyone else who might cause a player to lose focus on soccer. This rule is in effect from immediately before the practice or game until the coach has dismissed the player. This includes half-time and after the conclusion of game, when players are expected to get water and then immediately join the team and coach for game discussion or team adjustments. When necessary, coaches may ask players to do hard physical workouts immediately following games. When team responsibilities are over, players are free to join family and friends.
The coach will make decisions about the game lineup, each player’s position, the amount of playing time each player may receive, tournament participation, and other team matters. Players must be positive in fulfilling the role they are asked to perform for the team at any moment, even if that role has them not playing at all, coming off the bench late in the game, or playing a position different then what they may be used to playing.
Rest periods between games may be spent with family members or friends if time and the coach permit. However, the period between games is not to be seen as a family time, vacation time, or a time to for sight seeing. There will be times when the coach will require the team stay together while waiting for the next game. At other times, the coach may allow players to go spend time with family or friends. This decision will be left entirely up to the coach and he or she is free to reverse any decision at any time if it is in the best interest of the team. Individual exceptions may be made if the situation warrants, but that decision as well will be left entirely up to the coach, whose decision will be final.
Finally, nutrition and rest will also be a part of the player’s personal responsibility as a member of BUSC. We expect players to eat nutritious, healthy food in a timely fashion so as not to interfere with his performance on the field. If players or their parents have questions about which foods are best for performing athletes, please ask the team coach or Director of Coaching.
VI. TEAM TRAVEL
During the course of the soccer season, teams will participate in games that will be played away from Pleasanton. It is the player’s and the player’s parent’s responsibility to arrange transportation to these games. In many instances players will be able to arrange travel with other team members. In certain cases, such as tournaments (jamborees for the younger players), the team may be taking trips which require the team to stay overnight. During overnight trips, team members may be required to stay at a designated motel or hotel and eat meals as a team. A player’s family members will always be invited to stay at the designated motel or hotel and may be invited to join the team during team meals. Final decisions regarding team travel, including timing of arrival and departure to and from locations (hotels, restaurants, game fields, and team meetings) will be left entirely up to the Director of Coaching or the team coach.
Although they are under no obligation to do so, there will be times when the team coach may make individual exceptions and be flexible in implementing team travel rules. The decision by a coach to relax or modify any rule, or to not do so, will not be done arbitrarily and will be made with the best interests of BUSC and team in mind.
VII. OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT TEAMS
During the soccer season, players from BUSC will be given the opportunity and encouraged to tryout for the CYSA ODP (Olympic Development Program) & Norcal PDP (Player Development Program). The Player’s decision about whether to participate in ODP & PDP will be left up to the player and his parents. Be aware that players who are selected for the ODP or PDP at District, State, Regional or National levels will encounter conflicts between BUSC events and ODP/PDP events. Conflicts will be resolved on a case by case basis by the team Coach and/or Director of Coaching.
Parental support and involvement in BUSC are essential. If your son is selected and chooses to commit himself to a BUSC competitive team, your commitment is also necessary. Parent(s) of a player who is selected to play on a competitive soccer team will be expected to pay BUSC a proportionate share of the team and program fees. Although not required, it is hoped that you as a parent of player of BUSC will volunteer your time and energy to the club in some way or fashion. Please see a Board member, coach or the Director of Coaching if you are interested in volunteering your time to BUSC.
If players are to make a quality commitment to BUSC and their team, parents must see to it that their player attends all BUSC and team functions including, but not limited to practices, meetings, games, and tournaments. We understand that there will be times when conflicts will be present, and cannot be avoided. We can appreciate the fact that at times there will be other more important events then soccer related events. However, what is absolutely critical to ensure that animosity and resentment do not surface during these times is communication. It is hoped that advanced planning will eliminate or at the very least minimize any conflicts; nevertheless, in the event that conflicts arise, simply communicating in advance the fact that the player will be unavailable to participate in the soccer related event will alleviate any potential problems.
It will be the club’s responsibility to present, through its Director of Coaching and coaches a periodic schedule of events and game scheduled to allow time for your planning. In general, vacations should be taken at the beginning of the summer as training and tournaments will begin toward the end of the summer. Tournaments occur in August, while league play begins in September and ends in November. However, training will continue through February and possibly beyond. When parents or players have an unavoidable conflict, BUSC expects the player or his parent to bring the conflict to the coach’s attention in a timely manner so that any necessary team adjustments can be made. The Director of Coaching or team coach will make final decisions on scheduling and adjustments after careful consideration of your needs and those of BUSC or the team.
C. NO SIDELINE COACHING
It is important that players not be distracted at practices. Parents and friends must stay off the designated practice area, especially around the goal. Players are given only one set of instructions by one voice before, during, and after practices. For this reason, BUSC insists that the Director of Coaching or team coach be the only voice or voices directing the players at all practices and for that matter, at games.
There will be no coaching by parents at games. No matter how good your intentions are, or how knowledgeable about soccer you may be, we must insist there be no shouting of instructions to any player or yelling (complaining) to officials during games. Your vocal support and positive encouragement are welcome after a good play. “Go” or “Shoot” are interpreted as instructions and as such are not desirable.
No one other than those listed on the official game roster may sit on or near the team bench before and during games. Parents will be directed to sit on the side of the field opposite the team so as to minimize any distraction to the players and to maximize the parents’ enjoyment of the game. Please respect the space and privacy necessary for the coach and team to carry out their game responsibilities.
D. PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
While BUSC is interested in developing players who can demonstrate superior soccer skills under the pressure of a game, the club’s primary concern is the long term growth and development of your son as a person. There will be times when your son’s coach will make decisions that you may not agree with or understand. Please be patient and understanding. Ask questions at an appropriate time and place if you are unclear about what is happening.
Long term development of the team, and in some instances the club, may sometimes take precedent over individual player development or winning, especially in the years prior to high school. Parents must understand this and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a healthy team environment. Remember, playing only to win without taking into account the long terms goals of developing players and a team with solid soccer playing fundamentals will result in creating an unstable foundation upon which frustration and dissatisfaction will be built.
Again, whenever appropriate please feel free to communicate to the Director of Coaching or his coaching staff and ask questions about your son and his development as a player and as a person. Please also take the initiative to teach your son to speak up and communicate with these individuals whenever possible. Your coaches will always express their observations and views of an individual player in terms of the four areas of evaluation.
IX. THE COACH
BUSC is fortunate to have as part of its coaching staff some of the most dedicated, educated and experienced professionals in Northern California. BUSC coaches are instructed to conduct themselves first as teachers, and second as soccer coaches. Nothing positive will come of this soccer club’s efforts if we produce quality players who do not know how to conduct themselves as positive and respectable human beings. In this regard, you can expect BUSC coaches to conduct themselves as positive role models and to display the appropriate behavior. Our coaches recognize they can be role models and do not overlook the impact they can have on players’ lives.
BUSC coaches have been responsible for developing numerous players of Regional, State and National caliber, many of whom have received college scholarships and have gone on to play on top college and Olympic Development Teams. The commitment the club and the Director of Coaching makes to its players under no circumstances guarantees that any player will be offered a college scholarship, or be considered for a state or national Team. However, BUSC and its coaches do guarantee that their players will be given the tools and skills to enable them to become as good as their ability, desire, commitment, and effort allow.
The Director of Coaching and team coaches are responsible for creating an environment where a player can play quality, competitive soccer. However, do not expect the coaches to praise everything a player does as good. At some point in time, there will be things the coach will come to expect from every player. There will be times when the coach will say very little, and there will be times they may yell out instructions. There will be times when the coach will be critical of a player, and there will be times when they will be generous with praise. Players and their parents are both expected to take constructive criticism along with praise for a job well done, and be able to deal with both.
The team coach will be available to provide instruction in soccer for 3-5 hours per team per week. During the later parts of the season, instruction hours will go up due to tournament play (sometimes Saturday and Sunday practices) and State Cup preparation. The team coach will attend practices and will coach at games. In situations where conflicts occur, and they will, the Director of Coaching will designate a coach to cover that particular practice or game.
It is important for players and parents to understand that coaching in soccer is often overrated. Once players reach a certain level of skill, maturity, and experience, they become more important to the team’s success than the coach does.
The expectations set forth herein are a reflection of the rules, regulations, and policies that govern BUSC. So that every player in BUSC can get the maximum benefit of what the club has to offer, we need every player and parent to abide by the rules, regulations and policies of BUSC. In the unlikely event that a player or his parent fails to abide by the rules, regulations or policies of BUSC so that disciplinary action becomes necessary, please understand that the following steps may be taken by BUSC:
1. The team coach and/or Director of Coaching will discuss the problem directly and privately with the player or parent, with the assumption the problem will be corrected immediately.
2. If the problem with a player persists, the team coach and/or Director of Coaching will communicate with the player’s parents to discuss the problem and lack of response on the part of the player. Parents will have the opportunity to be involved with correction of the problem at this time.
3. If the problem with the player still continues, the Director of Coaching and/or team coach may temporarily suspend the player from the team. If the situation warrants, the Director of Coaching may recommend to the Board of Directors that the player be expelled from BUSC. The parents will be notified by the Board of Directors of the Director of Coaching’s recommendation.
4. The parents of any player recommended for expulsion from BUSC may request to meet with the Board of Directors and the Director of Coaching.
Our desire is to work with the players and their parents in a positive, constructive way. Everyone has problems from time to time and we will make every effort to work with you to help solve the problems you may have. After we have exhausted all efforts to solve the problem, we will be left with little choice other than to pursue disciplinary action as outlined above.
The goal of this document is to provide players and their parents a thorough understanding of what will be expected of them and what players and parents can expect of BUSC, their teams, and the coaches. If you are uncertain about what is expected, it is your responsibility to ask one of the coaches, the Director of Coaching or a member of the club’s Board of Directors. Knowing and understanding the principles and guidelines that govern the club will simply make participation in BUSC more enjoyable and positive. After all, the goal here is for players to develop soccer skills of the highest level possible and to have fun doing it. We have high expectations of our organization, its teams, its coaches, it parents and its players. You have our word that we will always do our best to bring to the players and parents the best soccer product possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read this important document. Your understanding an acceptance of these guidelines and conditions will help to ensure a positive soccer experience for you and your son. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Club.