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Travel Guide - useful information  
 
WELCOME TO SYSL TRAVEL
The SYSL was formed over 30 years ago to provide a way for the youth of Stamford to learn the fundamentals of soccer and sportsmanship in a fun and family oriented atmosphere. The success over the years of the recreational soccer club inevitably led to a need for a place for motivated and more competitive players to play. The result was the formation of the Travel Division of the SYSL.

PHILOSOPHY  
The Travel Division of the SYSL is rooted in the philosophy that the mastery of the fundamentals of soccer and the continued emphasis on good sportsmanship can still be maintained while playing at a more competitive level. These teams are comprised of motivated players who have gone through a tryout with coaches evaluating their play. The players, and their families, make a commitment to play nearly year round including practices and trainings 2-4 times per week. Teams in this division routinely travel up to 2 hours away for an away game during the regular season while committing to 6 or more hours on a weekend for an indoor winter tournament. Some teams, as they advance in skill and maturity, attend large, multi-day tournaments throughout Connecticut as well as out-of-state venues. Travel soccer players, their coaches and parents are dedicated to maintaining a higher level of play through several hours of professional training per week for 9-10 months per year. Furthermore, there is a financial commitment made by travel team players that is greater than when these children played recreational soccer. There are league and referee fees, coaching fees, uniform costs, tournament fees and travel expenses. Travel team players, their coaches and parents spend time fundraising as a means to offset some of these costs.

MEASURING SUCCESS  
How is the success of the Travel Division of the SYSL measured? Surprisingly, not through its wins and losses. Very often it is through the length of time that a player stays on a team. Players as young as 8 or 9 will comprise a team that will, at its core, still be together when they are teenagers and playing Varsity or Junior Varsity soccer for their own high schools. These players learn a great deal about staying together as a team, celebrating the wins, working harder after the losses and dealing with the inevitable adversity that comes with having 15 to 18 players spending a great deal of time together. And yet, even as the success of the Club is measured by its cohesiveness, there is also a certain amount of satisfaction in watching players move on. Many players that began their travel career in the Travel Division of the SYSL have moved on to other opportunities including Select and Premier teams, the Olympic Development Program and teams that have played overseas, as well as professional teams abroad. Many players have garnered scholarships on college teams. The success of these players, although in other leagues and on other teams, can still be traced to their roots in the Travel Division of the SYSL.

MAINTAINING HIGH STANDARDS  
The Travel Division of the SYSL provides an opportunity for the motivated, competitive player to work hard, master the fundamentals of soccer as well as grow in his or her understanding of the game at a higher level. These players excel in their abilities and promote the true meaning of sportsmanship as they represent our community throughout the region, and indeed the country. In this way, the youth of Stamford, while playing travel soccer, learn and grow in themselves, setting a standard for others to attain. In order to maintain high standards, the SYSL routinely re-evaluates its guidelines for the Travel Division in order to improve the program. For instance, one such improvement was made in 2005. After researching the more successful clubs in our country, it was found that professional coaching was common among them. Thus, SYSL has introduced a professional training program in parts of the recreational division and encouraged travel teams to be trained by qualified professionals. Overall play at the Recreational level is improving, and individual Travel teams are showing marked improvement. Improvements to the program were also intended at allowing the most advanced players to stay longer with SYSL before following their need to move on to higher levels.

SYSL TRAVEL SOCCER GUIDELINES  
In Stamford, the younger travel teams are part of a developmental program run in cooperation by SYSL and Quality Touch Soccer Academy Inc. The Quality Touch professional staff provides the training and coaching, and there is a strong focus on improving skills, learning the game, and of course, having FUN!   At the U-9 and U-10 Developmental level, each fall and spring season runs for about 10 to 12 weeks, with practices 2 times per week for 1.5 hours with a Quality Touch professional trainer/coach who will also then coach the team on weekends. However, in case of a conflict with game times, there will be some games that are coached by a floater professional coach or the parent assistant coach. In all, the Quality Touch staff will guarantee 60 total events (training sessions/games) of professional training/coaching over the course of a fall and spring season. Parent coaches are included to the extent they wish to be in practices and trainings, to prepare them to take over as coaches at the U-11 level and higher.   Winter training sessions will run for about 8-10 weeks, with practices held once a week for 1.5 hours at a facility approved by SYSL. This is usually a Stamford school gym. Throughout the winter season the team could also be entered into nearby indoor tournaments.  

TRYOUTS:    
A formal tryout will be near the end of each major season. This usually means the third week of May, and the Quality Touch staff runs the tryouts. It is anticipated that the vast majority of players and teams from the previous year will continue on, but there is no guarantee to individual players. If there is interest in participation after the formal tryouts, individuals will be invited to team training sessions for a tryout. If there is mass interest another formal tryout will be held.  

Estimate of Costs
-Registration fees per player $175
-Uniform fees per player (First Time Travel Player Supplied by SYSL)
-Replacement Uniform Kits $125 -Referee fees per team Incl. in registration
-Quality Touch Soccer Academy Training/Coaching Fee (fall season – per team) $4000 (Based on 30 events)
-Quality Touch Soccer Academy Training/Coaching Fee (spring season – per team) $4000 (Based on 30 events)  
-Facility fees per team (winter season - per team) $400-700 approx. (Based on 8-10 sessions and the length of the session, fees vary from facility to facility)    
-Quality Touch Soccer Academy Training/Coaching Fee (winter season – per team) $800-1300 approx. (Based on 8-10 sessions and the length of the session)  
-Indoor Tournament fees include (per team) $400 approx. (Coaching $200 per tournament (per day), Coach’s travel/meal fees vary from tournament to tournament)  
-Outdoor Tournament registration fees (per team) $700 approx. (Based on 2 tournaments at approx. $350 each)
on time SYSL registration includes one tourney, up to $350, in the Spring and Fall seasons.  (Coaching $200 per tournament (per day), Coach’s travel/meal fees vary from tournament to tournament)  

TRAVEL SOCCER COMMITMENT:
Travel soccer is a major sporting commitment over the course of a year. Travel teams are effectively town "select" teams that compete against the best players from other towns. Thus, SYSL requires a high level of commitment consistent with playing at a travel "select" level. It is expected that travel players will compete in all three seasons. Lack of participation in any of the three seasons will impact team placement for the following year. The commitment levels required are outlined below.      
The fall runs from late-August through mid-November and the spring season runs from early April to mid-June. Practices are held 2 times per week, league games usually on Sunday afternoons. The winter runs for mid November to mid March. Practices are held 1 time a week, tournaments will vary in during that time period.   If your child is invited to join a SYSL travel soccer team and agrees to play, they are accepting a 100% commitment to soccer. Less than a 100% commitment is not fair to fellow teammates or coaches. Your child is welcome to play other sports in the fall, spring and winter provided it does not interfere with the practice or game schedules of soccer. SYSL obviously understands absences due to family commitments or sickness. We do ask that you communicate problems/conflicts to your coach and manager as far in advance as possible. However, absences due to other sporting commitments are not acceptable. If your initial intentions are good, but fade away during the fall season through unexcused absences, coaches will address this lack of commitment through reduced playing time. In addition, excessive absences will impact future team selection. If a player or family is not able or willing to make this level of commitment they should strongly consider participating in the "rec" league, which offers an opportunity to play soccer with a lower level of commitment.  

___________________________________________________
Signature of Player Signature of Parent, Date  


SYSL Team Manager
The role of a SYSL manager is vital to the team’s and program’s success. A well-organized, strong communicating manager directly influences the team’s operational efficiency. A manager that carries out his/her responsibilities in a diligent manner sets the tone for a positive experience for all involved.
Job Scope
Responsible for team day-to-day overall operations. Takes direction from the SYSL Travel Commissioner and head coach. Team manager is a volunteer position usually held by a player’s parent to serve all members of the team equally. Managers should not expect to receive nor arrange special treatment for their individual player nor themselves. Why is the role so important?  
Representation: A team manager represents SYSL at all times.Communication: The manager serves as the liaison between the SYSL program office and the team, as well as the liaison between the coaching staff and the parents. In many cases the team manager is the first layer of communication, passing along vital program information to the coaching staff, players and parents. The ability to disseminate information throughout the organization, in a timely and accurate manner, is key to our overall success.
Organization: A well-organized manager will streamline the operation, minimize changes and confusion, contribute to overall efficiency and set forth the proper organizational image and perception.

Job Responsibilities
Liaison:- Serve as the liaison between the program office and the team, along with the coaching staff and the team
Communicate:- All program and team information
Scheduling:- Provide 12-month high-level activities outlook to players/parents- Provide detail three-month activities outlook to players/parents- Utilize via e-mail. Passing along necessary information, such as training/game location, times, and field directions. - Serve as the focal point and team representation for opponents team manager and/or coaching staff- Channel team news/game results, etc to SYSL program office and or league the team is participating in
Organize:- Player availability- Keep coaching staff informed (encourage lead time)- Player attendance- Uniform / Equipment needs (including first aid kit)  
Maintain: - Player attendance - Contact list for players and opponents - Coaching staff book - Rules - Roster - Player passes - Medical kit Well stocked - Uniform spares Game Day: - Player availability to the coaching staff prior to game day - Coaches book available - Line up cards complete - Referee funds - Water/Ice availability - Field needs; corner flags, goals anchored Tournaments: - Administer application process - Follow up on acceptance progress League representation: - When necessary attend league meetings
Finances: - Attain permission to fund raise from program office - At times distribute invoices, collect funds - Communicate debit allocations to SYSL program office - Keep track of coaches travel expenses, at times collect funds to cover expenses          


TRAINING AND COACHING

Dear Coaches, Parents, and Players
WELCOME TO SUCCESS! We are pleased and excited to welcome you to Quality Touch Soccer Academy, and we are very much looking forward to meeting and working with you this season. Our focus for the teams will be on "Success", "Achieving Goals" and "Working Together". Each week we’ll be engaged in developing character as well as soccer ability, as we set out on a wonderful journey that will hopefully continue for a lifetime. However, it is important to know and remember that success doesn’t just happen. Instead goals must be set and then hard work must be done to achieve them. This takes character, the courage to face many disappointments along the way, and above all else, teamwork.
To succeed at anything, having good character is essential, and we often find out about a person’s character when he or she is faced with adversity and challenging issues. Such aspects of character that are exposed at such times are perseverance and commitment. This year our players will face situations that will be very uncomfortable. By facing them, being committed to overcoming them and working patiently, they will achieve new goals, and in doing so, build self-confidence and self-esteem.
Another aspect of character is being responsible, which also is very important. Remembering essential items such as, clean cleats, soccer shirt, shorts, socks, shin-guards (worn underneath the socks), water and a ball is one way of demonstrating responsibility. Being prepared shows good character, and in times of poor weather, including a sweatshirt and pants, and a rain jacket is essential. Being on time and ready to begin for practice and games shows that the player is an independent and self-directed soccer student and is another way of showing good character. Taking control of their own learning helps them develop confidence and self-esteem, which will give them a feeling that no task is impossible, and with effort, any goal can be achieved.
Good character is made up of many traits, and showing that a player wants to improve as a person and as a soccer player is a sure sign of self-respect, and it also shows respect for their teammates. Players can show other team members respect by setting a positive example for working hard, even if things don’t work out as well as they might have hoped. They can also show respect for other teammates by making a positive comment about them and working with them on group and team tasks. The success of our teams will depend largely on the effort our players put forward, but just as much on how they work with other team members.
TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More! On our team, we’re all members of a community. Our community or team helps to ensure that everyone is safe and our ideas are valued. This means that they’re able to take risks and apply their learning even though they may not succeed the first time or, even ten. However, by working together, we help to create a place where learning can take place and where individual and team goals can be achieved. In life, success is not something that will just happen to us, and it will rarely happen as a result of good luck. Instead, success requires courage to face up to and overcome obstacles. It also requires effort and work, and this is the same on our teams. Additionally, success requires our players to be responsible for their lives, respectful of themselves and others, and to be a team player, which means working with others to achieve goals and complete tasks.
If you’re aiming for nowhere that’s exactly where you’ll go. Success is what you get when you achieve your goals. However, the fun part is the journey, even though the rewards come at the end. So, we look forward to seeing everybody soon when we can begin setting goals and working to achieve them, while enjoying a wonderful season/year together on the field.    

Sincerely,
Quality Touch Soccer Academy Inc.    
Program Director: Jason Segovia

The Beliefs of Quality Touch Soccer Academy Coaching     
    Children must learn to play the game of soccer in a way that is appropriate for them, not adults. This means that not just anyone can coach children to play soccer, even if the coach has played the game at a very high level. Having played the game does help, but it does not in any way directly relate to teaching children. Teaching is not coaching, and coaching is not teaching. Children need to be taught before being coached. Only those taught to teach can do this correctly and appropriately.       
    Children must be taught to understand and play soccer from people who posses a deep and clear understanding of …      
        1. Children and the affects of maturation 
        2. The principles and methods of effective and appropriate teaching 
        3. The game of soccer    

The Program Goals of Quality Touch Soccer Academy Coaching    
To improve the standards of youth soccer in Connecticut by providing children, their teams and the various soccer communities a method that is based on current research, developmentally appropriate for children, and has proven to produce improvements to the way in which players and teams play soccer.      
To maintain, and continue to develop, a very clear vision of the way children should be expected to play soccer…   
        1. A high speed, technical, direct passing game 
        2. A very aggressive and dominant manner of continuous attacking and defensive soccer 
        3. A high level of teamwork, camaraderie and collegiality    
To teach and to provide very clear guidelines to the way children should play soccer and behave.              

The Quality Touch Soccer Academy Coach    
The QT Coach is always thoroughly prepared and well planned:    
Arrives 15 to 30 minutes prior to the expected practice/game arrival time  
Plans their training sessions in advance - Preparation will allow the session/station to run smoothly
The QT coach is always well presented:   Act and look professional at all times - Sets a positive example    
Coaching Uniform - Wear only the assigned Quickstrike soccer attire    
Keeps all training areas neat and organized:    
Have players line their bags up neatly away from the training area    
Keep water bottles and jugs in a safe place away from players and training area    
Keep unused cones, pinnies and balls neatly together away from training area    
Conducts an energetic and purposeful sessions and coaches games accordingly:    
Has a clear understanding on how a team should effectively play soccer, and the necessary teaching steps required to accomplish this goal    
Includes lots of positive praise for players effort    
Corrects actions and behaviors    
Gives helpful feedback regarding what players are doing well and what they need to work on    
By possessing a clear knowledge of the theory and practice of teaching soccer specifics the QS coach is able to produce positive learning outcomes in his/her players and teams    
Emphasize on positioning, individual skill, and team play    
The QT coach is familiar with the maturation and development of children:    
What cognitive, physical and behavioral expectations are appropriate at each age level      
Take notes on the players throughout season in order to accurately complete assessments  
Dismisses players to their parents at the end of training session so that their safety is ensured  

Quality Touch Soccer Academy Team Vision  
Our Vision for improving how a team behaves and improves is very clear and specific, and relies on five key principles. Each player must learn how to appropriately apply these principles each time they play, in order for team to be at its most effective. These principles are as follows:  
1. Self-Control, Calm & Composure: Players demonstrate calm and poise, even in the face of adversity; and they must learn to focus intently on performing their assigned tasks correctly amidst distractions.  
2. Organization: Players play together in an assigned and predetermined manner so everyone knows and understands the plan.  
3. Positive Communication: Players communicate positively and constantly with their teammates, which includes verbal communication (given directions, pep-talks, etc.) and body language (facial expressions, physical gestures, etc.)  
4. Game Control & Dominance: Players control the game’s tempo and momentum through a required level of technique (receiving, passing, dribbling, shielding, l v l moves, shooting, tackling and heading) position-play (positioning the body and supporting teammates appropriately).  
5. Controlled Energy, Determination & Competitiveness: Players demonstrate a required level of energy, competitive spirit, and determination to succeed and achieve the desired goals. These principles are not to be trained and taught individually or isolation. Each one is intertwined and dependent upon the rest for effective team performance to be maximized. However, when first introducing these principles, each one must be made clear and concise to young players as to their use, importance, and later, how they work together to improve the team’s performance. By being very specific, and by making these principles the focus in practice and games, it will stimulate the players to develop them as natural habits and behaviors.  
Although team coaching is predominantly associated with teaching individual and team skills such as technique and position-play, these are useless and limiting if specific organization, individual self-control and positive communication accompanied with a competitive spirit and energy, are excluded, or even underdeveloped. Effective team play begins with each player knowing what he / she is to do and how teammates fit into this plan. They must also learn to control themselves and develop strong ties with their teammates creating team chemistry, which is essential for team success. Each player must also learn and develop ball control skills and competitive spirit. All this provides the foundation for developing game control skills, which means keeping possession of the ball, attacking the opponent’s goal, and preventing the opponents from mounting an attack.           

Team Policies  
Adopting and adhering to simple team policies is very important in creating an effective and enjoyable team experience. When players turn up randomly for practice or games, they diminish the value of being on a team for themselves and for others. In addition, they decrease the effectiveness of the team. When energy and passion are replaced by a recreational attitude to teamwork, expectations and efforts of everyone are lowered.
Instead, young players should learn the value and importance of making a commitment to a group or team. By not being held accountable to standards and policies, young people underscore values such as loyalty, effort, perseverance and commitment, and all of these are essential for successful living, and not just playing sports. Although parents want their children to be well-rounded and experience a variety of activities and sports, they, too must realize and understand that keeping a commitment is important, because their decisions affect all other team members.  

The following policies are recommended:
Equipment policies at each practice and game, each player must:
1. Wear appropriate soccer shoes
2. Wear appropriate or assigned soccer equipment and clothing
3. Bring an inflated soccer ball  

All players will be allowed one violation of one or more of the above policies. On the second violation, the player will sit out the practice or game. If this continues, the player will sit out each time thereafter. Commitment Policies For each practice and games, players must:
1. Be prepared to begin at scheduled start time (practice or game warm-up).
2. Call to inform that he / she will be late to practice or game, and why
3. Call to inform the coach in advance (at least 24 hours when possible) that he/she will be missing a practice or game, and why   When player is to be late to a tournament, discretion must be used as to whether his/her presence will be and whether or not his/her presence will affect other teammates’ playing time – players who’ve been at the tournament since the start.   Playing time should always be based on overall commitment up to that point in time, which equals attendance, tardiness and effort to improve.  

PLAYING POSITIONS:
Players should realize that they will operate in certain positions until they show they are capable of playing in other positions, effectively. This takes time for a player to learn the role of a given position, and how it operates in conjunction with all other positions. However, once a position is understood, and the role can be performed effectively, a player’s self-confidence increases.  
Where a player is playing on the field is a team and individual perspective that only the coach brings to this process. Playing randomly in a variety of positions with only limited concern for team-effectiveness does a disservice to both the players’ and the team’s development, and collective understanding of how to play the game correctly.  
Initially, some players are capable of playing in more than one position effectively, whereas other players may only be capable of playing in one. A goal should be to increase a player’s capability to play in two, and possibly three, positions, effectively over time.  

PLAYING TIME:
Many towns or leagues have a 50% playing time policy, which is meant as a guideline, and not as a rule. 50% should mean over the course of a season, and not necessarily in every game, especially in Championship or Cup games, which become much more important that a win is sought. Whenever possible, it is important to prepare players for this situation ahead of time so they remain motivated when they are required to enter a game under such circumstances.  
Playing time should be awarded for the following criteria: Attendance and punctuality (at practices and games), Continuous improvement that are visibly obvious, and Effectiveness in the game (which means that individual confidence and team-effectiveness are central to amount of playing time received).  

SUBSTITUTIONS:
Players should realize that substitutions are generally made to enhance or maintain the effectiveness of the team, and not solely to give people playing time. This is a team and individual perspective that, initially, only the coach brings to this process.  

FUN:
For any given activity or task, players should associate "fun" with striving to perform better than previous attempts. Otherwise, the idea of having fun becomes associated with participating in an activity or task without having to think or apply effort, which greatly undermines the essence of teamwork.  

SELF-CONFIDENCE:
Simply playing and participating don’t achieve self-confidence. Experiencing success whilst playing, and being able to overcome new and unmet challenges achieve it. The job of a coach, then, is to enable players to face challenges that he/she feels confident that the players can most often overcome independently. This means that each player must be monitored carefully throughout every game.   There is nothing more destructive to a player’s self-confidence than for him/her to feel and/or be viewed by the team as being in a situation that is completely over their head. Such instances demoralize players, and the team’s confidence in them, and consequently, the player gets a silent reputation as the player not to pass to, because they’re deemed less capable than other players.  

NEW PLAYERS:
New players should become acclimated to the manner in which a team plays and behaves, and must learn to value what the team values. For us, this is hard work, intelligence, positioning and excellent technique, of which the latter requires personal training time outside of practice.  
Setting the initial tone (at the appropriate times) that winning isn’t the most important aspect of participating, but nor is it to hoped for or avoided, is very important. A team should attempt to be as competitive as possible (which means trying to win the games), but in such a way that development is enhanced, not hindered. This will, initially, be difficult and uncomfortable for new players on a team, especially if this has not been the goal on a previous team.  

PARENTS:
It is important for parents to understand that their primary concern is always their child, whereas the coach’s primary concern is their child and the team (all other children). There are very few times at a young age that a coach will put the "team’s ego" ahead of the individual needs of every player, but in certain games, this will be the case. Do not coach against the coach, too many instructions can confuse the individual.  
Parents should avoid protecting their child from learning and adhering to the above policies, even though they may at times be disappointed. Instead, they should help their children to understand that sometimes (very few at a young age) the "team ego" supersedes the "individual ego", that this concept is a part of real-life, and that everyone faces these issues. Understanding the difference between emotional support during new and uncomfortable situations and emotional protection at such times is of paramount importance.