Below are some questions that have arisen as a result of our Chatham United Recreation Soccer Parent Surveys. We hope the Club's responses help in your understanding of the program.
Why can't the weekday practices start later (3:45 or 4 pm) as it is difficult to get the children to practices starting at 3:30 pm?
In order to accommodate the large number of players in the program we need to start as early as possible. In addition there are field and trainer availability considerations that prevent a later start. There are over 800 players in the program and limited field space in Chatham. Parents should consider dressing their children in soccer-appropriate attire during their practice days if their child's school allows for this. Keeping their practice uniform in the car is another possibility. All of CU's programs (Travel, U8 TDP and Recreation) have their first practice at 3:30pm.
Why can't we choose the earlier or later weekday practice?
Logistically this is extremely difficult to implement. The CU Recreation program is entirely volunteer run. To accommodate individual requests for over 800 children is simply not feasible. What further complicates doing this is that we often don't get enough parent coaches until late into team formation (this happens as a result of background checks that are late coming in as well as the need to recruit more coaches when there are not enough volunteers). Thus we need to move players and teams around as the number of coaches changes. Our goal is to have small teams so our first priority is to alter the teams once we have more coaches. If we had to factor in practice time preferences there would simply be too many variables to consider.
Why doesn't Kindergarten have weekday practices?
Philosophically the Club believes one session a week at that age is reasonable for a Recreation program. This is consistent with Chatham Lacrosse which generally has one session a week at the Kindergarten level.
Why does Kindergarten typically play midday on Saturday? It would be better for the younger children to play earlier in the day.
We agree that generally it would be preferable to have Kindergarten earlier in the day on Saturday. Typically Kindergarten is run midday however since this is the largest age group in terms of number of players and there are field space issues. We need to utilize Lum Turf for the Kindergarten age groups. The Football program uses Lum Turf Saturday mornings and then breaks about midday. We then move our Kindergarten sessions on to the Turf as soon as the Football program ends.
Why do some grades have larger team sizes than others? Sometimes the team is too large and inhibits playing time.
Our philosophy is to have small teams so the players get as many touches on the ball as possible during practice and games. If a team seemed too large this past season that was a function of the number of volunteer coaches. We cannot make smaller teams if we do not get enough parent volunteer coaches.
What is the process to cancel games due to weather? It always seems a bit last minute.
The Club philosophy is to try to get the practices and games in as much as possible. It is difficult to reschedule given the player's schedules as well as the trainer and parent coach schedules. Since we use professional trainers in addition to parent volunteers we must consider the trainers and our contracts with the training organization. Given that this program is open only to Chatham residents, calling the games late seems like a reasonable thing to do given the difficulty in predicting the weather as the children and parents are all local. Decisions on canceling sessions are not easy given the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that some parents want us to cancel and others would like us to play on.
Will CU be running a program for 7th/8th grade?
Every year we open registration to 7th and 8th grade but sometimes we do not get enough players to run a program at those age groups. in recent years we have run a 7th/8th grade boys program but were not able to run a 7th/8th grade girls program. If you plan to register for 7th/8th grade please ask your friends if they would like to join the program as well. When the 7th/8th grade program has not run we have sometimes been able to place players in Recreation programs in neighboring towns.
Why can't I order a particular size jersey?
The logistics of this are very difficult. The Club orders jerseys by age group based on prior year knowledge. Given that we take registration up until close to the start of the season (for a Recreation program we want to accommodate as many as possible) we must order jerseys earlier. We tend to order larger sizes so at worst a child has a jersey too large - this is preferable to too small.
Why can't CU add a second weekday practice?
The Club is comfortable with one weekday session and one gameday session for our Recreation Soccer program. Adding a second weekday session would be very difficult due to field availability considering the size of the program. It also would make the program much more expensive.
Why isn't there more instruction from the Trainers during the actual games?
Generally the philosophy is to instruct during practice but let the players think creatively and play freely during games. This is particularly true for small-sided games where the approach is to let the game be the teacher. This is consistent with US Youth Soccer guidance also. Also the first 20-30 minutes of gameday sessions are supposed to be practice and activities as a warm-up to the game.