What is the difference between Premier and Select tryouts?
Select and Premier soccer are different levels of competitive travel soccer.
Select soccer entails varying levels of commitment from “in season” only to more year round teams, travels in the greater West Michigan area, and is more inclusive of various levels of athlete. If a player loves the game the right level of competition can generally be found in select soccer.
Premier soccer is a more year round commitment, travels throughout the State and sometimes the Midwest, and requires athletes with the highest levels of ability and talent to be competitive. Accordingly the costs reflect a more year round program with travel, tournament, and year round coaches fees included.
We encourage all players, u13 and older, to try out for Premier teams.
Aren’t teams already preselected?
Most definitely not. Tryouts are open, each player is given the chance to make a team. Each year some players are surprised and some disappointed. It is not unusual for a team to change more than 25% of its roster.
During the Spring, current Crew players should receive an evaluation from their coach and part of that evaluation can involve what the coach sees as the future for that player. That is an evaluation, not an offer of a roster spot. Each year potential players come to the club from the outside, existing players choose not to return, and players within the club move up or down teams.
The opportunity to make a team exists for every potential player. However, athleticism, natural ability, dedication, preparation, conditioning, and many other factors will play into whom actually is selected. Each year some good players show up out of shape and then are frustrated because they don’t make the team they wanted. Soccer is like most other worthwhile pursuits, you generally find yourself getting out of it what you’re willing to put in.
What is “Playing up?”
Players generally play in their own age group, so if they are a u9 player they typically develop best within the u9 age group. Occasionally there is a player who developmentally is ahead of their peers and so will play with a team older then that player in order to continue developing their own game as effectively as possible. Teams also will occasionally play up. For example, if a u8 team is dominant in their own age in the fall we may move the entire team to u9 in the Spring to make sure the team is playing the proper level of competition.
There is significant debate in regards to the effectiveness of playing up. The club provides the opportunity for those players deemed “dominant” in their own age group by the executive coaching staff to play up. Some of those players chose to, some prefer not to. Many of the top players in the club have elected to play their own age group as they believe they develop best against their peers. By the time players reach premier age, playing up becomes very, very rare.
In some clubs, playing up has become a status issue, decisions to do so in those clubs are more based on social factors than good objective evaluations by the professional coaching staff. At the Crew, playing up is allowed only with specific permission from Josh Sheldon. He and the executive coaching staff discuss candidates for playing up and make a decision.
Who is coaching next year?
Specific coaching announcements will be made starting near the end of May.
We are very excited about our overall training program for the club. We have an outstanding lineup of team coaches, we consider our staff the best in West Michigan. In addition to the regular practices, we have committed our top coaches to our Friday night program during the Fall and Spring. During those seasons, every player in the club has access to additional technical, finishing, and goalkeeping training by our specialists in those respective areas. Our winter academy is not only staffed by best trainers in the area, but is roughly half the cost normally charged by the other high quality clubs in West Michigan.
The combination of outstanding team coaches and professional training provided for all the players is something we feel will continue to keep our club in the forefront of travel soccer.
What if my player doesn’t make the “A” team?
The players who make the “A” teams are generally those in the age group who are most prepared to compete physically, mentally, and in terms of skill development. There are many wonderful players in our club who don’t play at the “A” team level because they are just a little behind in one of the afore mentioned elements. “A” teams also usually require more commitment than other teams and so sometimes very good players play on second or third teams because they prefer to focus on another sport or activity.
In many clubs it is important to make the “A” team because those are the only teams with quality coaching. Here at the Crew, that is not the case. We have professional, quality coaches at all levels. Additionally, every player has access to the most experienced coaches in the club through the Friday night trainings and the Academy training. Many players are best suited to develop on a “B” or “C” team competing against similar levels of opponents, and gaining confidence in themselves. Our premier teams have many players on their rosters who were “B” or “C” team members when they were younger.
What will happen after tryouts?
Premier players will be notified very quickly as to whether they are being offered a spot or not. Premier players can be required to commit on the spot and many kids will be expected to accept their spot and register on June 16th. Parents are required to be with their premier players when asked to register. A down payment of $400 will be required to register for a premier team spot.
Select players cannot be asked by any club to make a binding commitment until June 20. We expect to start making calls to the first team selected starting shortly after the tryout. Until we round out that team, the second team’s coach can’t start making calls in case some of the first team offers are turned down. After the second team is completed then we’ll get to the third team and so on.
Are there scholarships available?
There is player assistance available, funded largely through sponsorships and fundraisers. It is offered on a basis of need; there are required forms including proof of income. The forms and procedure are available on the "Forms" page. Application prior to tryouts is strongly encouraged. No “full rides” will be offered this year. Note that the application deadline is June 21 for premier players and July 1 for select players.
There is also a payment plan option available which will help spread the costs across a longer period of time.
Players receiving player assistance may be asked to volunteer for various Crew activities that require staffing.
Who can I contact if I have other questions?
Before making calls or emails, please read the attached flyer and this email carefully. Also, check our website carefully to see if the answer to your question is already available.