Values / Principles

Values and Principles of Iowa Soccer Club

 

  • Every player, regardless of natural soccer ability must be given the same focus, attention, and devotion by the coaching staff.    Our coaches are dedicated to helping coach and mentor all players with the same attention and concern as any other player in our program.   A teacher in the classroom would not ignore a student that is further behind his/her peers.  No coach in any sport should give less attention to a young athlete simply because they may seem to show less potential than their peers.   

 

  • Loyalty to our players is a fundamental value that guides and influences all coaching and administrative decisions in the ISC.  Below are concrete examples of how we demonstrate loyalty to our ISC kids.
      1. Once a player has completed at least one season with our advanced year round program, we will always find a roster spot for them as long as they continue to meet our commitment requirements.  
          • Although our advanced program has had tremendous success in assisting the development of high level players for the high schools in our area and has prepared many ISC players for college soccer, we demonstrate our loyalty to all players in our advanced program by guaranteeing to players that once they are accepted to the advanced year-round team program that we will never cut them from our year-round teams.  Players may be moved from "A" and "B" teams within our system based on their development, but we will do whatever it takes to make a roster spot work for them and provide them with coaching and opportunities to develop. 
      2. We make sure that all kids play in both halves of every game in the advanced year round program for U9-U14 teams. 
          • Our long term team and player development focus means that our priorities are centered around the improvement of all of our players, not just the players that are furthest ahead.  The advanced year round program is a competitive program and we don't guarantee equal playing time, but for all players in the U9-U14 age groups, players play in both halves of every match for half of each half of play.     
          • In addition to making sure all U9-U14 kids play in both halves of every game, we do not "hide" players from responsibility in the games.  We give all kids critical roles in each match regardless of where they fall on the developmental spectrum in relation to their teammates.  We do this in 2 critical ways that we believe most other soccer clubs do not adhere to nor do we believe that most other youth sports organizations would consider following the approach we have advocated for 18 years.  First, our style of play requires that all players on the field participate fully.  While we give our players freedom to express themselves as individuals, our tactical approach is such that all players on the field must pass the ball well and have good technical ability because of the build up play that we encourage and because we attempt to be inclusive in the advancement of the ball into the attacking part of the field.  Second, we require our coaching staff to play all U9-U14 players in two positions in each match, with the only exception being the U13-U14 state cup, in order to give all players a broader experience.  We take a lot of risks in each game by moving kids in different positions in order to give all players as comprehensive of a developmental experience as possible.  We do not waiver from this approach even as some would like us to focus on the short term results of the team, because we know that the team and the players will be much stronger in the long term when we give all players such a broad learning experience in the games.  

 

  • We recognize and understand that all children develop physically and as soccer players at different rates.  Therefore, while we offer elite level coaching, we want players to choose what level of play that they would like to pursue in the ISC rather than "cutting" players off from our high level programs at the youngest ages, U9-U12, simply because they may be a late developer or have joined late.

 

  • We have proven over the last 18 years that it is possible to run a professionally coached and developmentally focused, successful competitive program without implementing tryout procedures that "cut" kids or group players on "A" and "B" teams based on ability at the U9-U12 ages.   We have named this approach a "self-tracking" approach.  In the U9-U12 ages, kids choose whether they want to make the time commitment to our highest level programs, we don't make that choice for them as long as they make the time commitment. In other words, we accept all U9-U12 players that are willing to make the time commitment to the advanced year-round team program as long as we have roster spots available in the age group.

 

  • While we do make "A" and "B teams at the U13 age group, we believe that by delaying the 'A" and "B" selection until the U13 year we are able to develop a greater pool of talented players that we believe will stay in the game for a long time.
    • Even though we form "A" and "B" teams starting at the U13 year, if a player has completed at least one season with our advanced year round program, we will always find a roster spot for them as long as they continue to meet our commitment expectations and meet our player conduct standards.   This means that players that joined our program during the U9-U12 years will still have a roster spot with us even after we make the "A" and "B" teams, but they have to tryout to determine whether they will be assigned to the "A " or "B" roster at the 13U year.   We always remain committed to our tradition of loyalty to our advanced year round players.
    • If you are new to the ISC Advanced Year Round Program starting at the U13-U18 level, you will need to tryout.  We will do our best to place all new players, as we are committed to both "A" and "B" level players that join at the U13-U18 years, but we will assess all new players to make sure that they are a good fit for the advanced year round program.  Once a player joins the Advanced year round program, even if they join at U13 and older, and completes a full season, they will always have a roster spot with the ISC.  

 

  • We understand that kids should play multiple sports in order to avoid overuse injuries.  Furthermore, there seems to be compelling evidence that participation in multiple sports at certain ages enhances overall athletic development.  With this said, most of our programs are year round programs.   Soccer is a high skill sport and players cannot have success in this sport without the correct amount of skill and tactical training at the correct ages.  There is a window of critical development that players cannot "under train" in if they are to develop the technical skills to be succesful in soccer.  We constantly try to stay abreast of the most relevant information from all sources to best guide our families and players.  Therefore, while we believe that kids should participate in other sports to reach their full athletic potential, we have done our best to structure our year round program in such a way so as not to discourage or prevent our players from doing other sports at the U9-U16 levels.

 

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  • While winning games is one way to assess soccer performance, it is not always the best indicator of a team or player's actual progress at the youngest age groups. In our view, winning games at the youngest ages should NOT take precedence over the development of each and every single player especially in the age groups from U9-U14. 
      1. In the ISC we take a long term, no SHORT CUTS, approach to the development of competent, skillful players that are capable of playing in multiple positions on the field. 
      2. Our coaches want all of our players to be successful in soccer for as long as possible.  In order to help young players have long term success in a high skill sport like soccer, our coaches have to have the courage to coach games with the intent to win but not at the expense of making sure that players have room to make mistakes.  Just as importantly, while of course we want to win games, we don't put winning ahead of giving players the opportunity to learn different positions and roles within the team and club as they grow and mature through our system.
      3. Our track record proves that if you take the long term approach with your teams and players, while you may lose some games at the younger ages, your teams will have more success when it matters, in the U15-U18 age range.