7v7 & 9v9 Replacing 6v6 & 8v8
US Soccer are mandating that U9 & U10 age groups move to 7v7 and that U11 & U12 age groups move to 9v9. Not only do the number of players on the field increase, the size of the current fields will either stay the same on the smaller fields or be made smaller by a few yards.
An extra two players on a field is not a big problem. When we practice we do so in smaller areas than a full size soccer field. This is to put the players under pressure and make them think quicker about the decisions they make in a congested area. This is something that they are focused on by not increasing the field size but adding a player on each team. In the long term players will improve their close control and skill so when they move to a larger field they have more space and the game seems easier and slower for them to shine.
Maitland Soccer Club's partnership with Global Premier Soccer (GPS) puts us in a great position in terms of helping our teams play in this new way. GPS was formed in Boston, MA and they have been playing 7v7 and 9v9 for years, so have FC Bayern Munich. Our coaches have access to FC Bayern Munich and GPS curriculum so that they can implement the best practice sessions to help our players continue to improve. Our staff will also be in contact with the coaches in States that have played the new way so that we can understand it quickly. There are absolutely no excuses for the Maitland Soccer Club coaches not to be ready for this change with all our resources.
In my opinion I have not heard any compelling arguments why 7v7 and 9v9 are much better for player development than 6v6 and 8v8 but I have also not heard that vice versa is so much better either. I am excited to see how players think and deal with this situation and who have the soccer intelligence to play well on a busier field.
What I don't feel is necessary is that the Greater Central Florida (GCF) League to mandate this change for the Spring season which has a few problems for clubs. Changing field sizes can be an issue for some clubs, Maitland Soccer Club will not have a problem here. The biggest beef that I personally have with the implementation of this change early is that when all the Florida teams held tryouts in May it was for 6v6 and 8v8 teams. Some teams do not have a full roster so they might go from one sub to no subs. If we knew that this was going to happen when we had tryouts we might have taken more players on a roster or even decided a team cannot go ahead as we would not have enough players. We are not allowed to hold new tryouts, we are not allowed to contact players from other clubs under the poaching rules. I do not see why they could not wait for the summer so that all the teams could have tryouts for 7v7 & 9v9 teams.
This will be an interesting change and I am excited to read up on the information to help our players become as good at soccer as they possibly can!