Announcement Regarding Small Sided Games (SSG)
Recently the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) mandated several new initiatives for all of its member leagues throughout the United States. The initiatives address age divisions (calendar year vs. school year) and small sided games (which refers to the number of players on the field). US Youth Soccer, our national governing body, and Cal South, our state governing body, are mandating implementation of the two initiatives for this upcoming fall season. Presidio Soccer League, our gaming organization for the Blast teams, is also implementing these changes this season as well. While our league agrees with the concept of small-sided soccer, we did not choose to implement the changes so abruptly but given that this is a mandated change from USSF, US Youth Soccer and Cal South, PYSL (and all other member leagues) will be ripping the bandage off and moving forward with the changes for this fall. We ask that you be patient and trust that this change will only bring better skills to each player.
Some parents have expressed concern that the move to smaller sided games is a “step backward” for their player and hopefully the following information will dispel that concern. The SSG initiative has the intent and effect of giving all players on the field more opportunities for involvement in the game. For example, when our Division 6 (formerly U8) players had 8 per side (including goalie), there were several kids who were given the “defense only role” and never even touched the ball during the game and were only standing around on the field. With a change to 4 per side and no goalie, the opportunity for all players to be engaged in the game is far greater and allows the players to replicate relational player interactions (e.g. diamond formations and spacing) that will occur when they ultimately move to 11 v 11. Thus, the players will not be taking a step back, they will be moving their development forward. There will be more touches on the ball by all players, more goals scored by more players rather than just the two fast forwards, more necessity for all players to play both offense and defense without a defined position role, and greater focus on quicker decision-making on the field and transition play all of which improves the overall development of the players. There is a lot more information on the reasoning behind small sided games on the US Youth Soccer website if you are interested in exploring this further. (http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/SmallSidedGames/)
The league appreciates your patience as we implement these changes, and we look forward to the 2016 season. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our league President, Eli Kerch, or the Director of Recreational Coaching, Jenny Goodman.