Benicia   Arsenal   FC  2000

Playing Time -- What to expect...


Our U11 Girls team has an obvious elephant in the room when the subject of playing time arises... we will carry 14 girls on our roster and only play 8 v 8 this year. That means six girls on the bench to begin every game.

Clearly, this subject needs to be clearly-defined and the expectations clear. Here are my thoughts on the matter...

On Our Player Development Program and Playing Time...

All players will be developed this year, regardless of differences in playing time:

        1. Every one will enhance their core strength, balance, proprioception, and speed through our PEP program;

        2. Every player will increase overall coordination skills and psycho-motor skills tremendously under the new Fiorentina training program;

        3. Every player will develop in numerous other ways through player development approaches.

        4. Every player will have tangible, specific improvement in core soccer skills as measured by their account.

The point of mentioning this is that playing time is just a part of the larger process and learning each player will experience this year.

On Meaningful Minutes and Playing Time...

There is a correlation b/t playing "meaningful minutes" and developing as a soccer player. I propose playing closer to 40 games than 30 this year to increase the total # of minutes per player. This is impossible to do if we play the same # of games as last year. Playing "meaningful minutes" means that every player will play for long stretches when the outcome of the game is still in doubt. Every player will start multiple games as well under this model.

Committing to having all players play meaningful minutes also means that each one will be given opportunities to play different positions on the field. Every player should and will be challenged to play different positions so they have opportunities to become more well-rounded players who understand each positions' demands, responsibilities, and challenges.

On The "Season" and Playing Time...

Last year we played 30 games. 25 out of 30 games every player (theoretically) played at least one half of each game. The last 5 games merit-based play took precedent over. Even so, minimum playing times just don't work w/ six girls on the bench on a per game basis.

That means that in an ideal world every player will play in every game, but this may not be the norm. We will do everything to try to even this out. Nevertheless, as a playing time policy, no player will ever not play in consecutive games.

On Effort and Playing Time...

Teams like ours have success b/c players give supreme individual efforts as team players. This season that will not change. In an ideal world all 14 girls will give supreme effort every practice and every playing minute, but that would be unrealistic. So, this becomes another factor in playing time.

The other side of the coin of effort (and attitude) should go w/o saying... No player is "entitled" to playing time w/o dedication, hustle, effort, and/or with a bad attitude. This needs to be mentioned, but this team shouldn't have any issues w/ this at all.

On Merit-Based Playing Time...

There is a balance b/t wanting to have "success" as a team, -- i.e. winning -- developing players, and playing time. We will attempt to "dance" this dance of swirling complexity again this year.

One element of this is transparent and obvious: there is no doubt that some players may play more than others. The reasons for this are numerous, but I will do everything in my power to develop your player and give her as many meaningful minutes as possible. Clearly though, not every player will get meaningful minutes as goalkeeper or in every position.

In the end, undoubtedly there will be games where some players will play more than others. Their attendance and effort(s) during practices and attitude and effort during games will be undeniable factors in their playing time over the course of the season.

On Attitude and Playing Time...

This year the girls need to mature enough to learn the lesson that they can and should continue to be good teammates wherever they are at a game--especially the sideline w/ me and the Jason. We'll do everything we can to teach them that a fierce love of soccer means being a positive role model to their teammates and encouraging them however they can. Not every girl may be able to play every game, but every girl can contribute to every team effort.