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Tuscaloosa United Soccer Club- Elite     

The Elite program is a performance based program where players are selected through tryouts and other on-field play. Coaches are constantly evaluating players in 4 areas of soccer development-Technical, Tactical, Physical and Psychosocial.

Technical- Coaches look for the technical ability of a player at all times. Areas of focus are dribbling, passing, receiving, finishing (ball striking and placement). The more technically proficient a player is, the higher the rating. Often times, this is referred to as “touch” or “control” when a player is on the ball. Other technical considerations include, but are not limited to, placement over distance of a pass or shot, weight of a pass, and handling of the ball.

Tactical- Coaches look for the awareness of a player in many ways. Players who demonstrate tactical awareness do many of the following things with the ball:
    -Check their shoulders to see where pressure is
    -Place the ball into space for team members
    -Keep the ball instead of passing when pressure is limited
Coaches are also looking to identify a player’s tactical awareness when off the ball. Players with a strong sense of tactical awareness demonstrate many of the following things without the ball:
    -Communicate with team members throughout the game or training
    -Make deliberate runs into space to support possession of the ball
    -Make deliberate runs into defensive space to slow down opponents
    -Recognize and anticipate changes in possession and react accordingly

Physical- Coaches are always looking at players in their many developmental stages. As a result, players are constantly demonstrating their strength on the ball, speed with and without the ball, quickness and agility. These characteristics are in a constant state of change. As the young athlete matures physically, there will be peaks, valleys and plateaus along the way.

Psychosocial- Coaches have a glimpse into the mindset of a player at numerous points during a training session and games. Often referred to as “attitude,” it goes much further than that. Interactions between players and others are a consideration: One such interaction is the player/parent interaction. Players who demonstrate respect for their parent before, during and after play show coaches plenty. This is especially true after a tough loss or difficult training session. Another interaction is the player/player interaction. When competing, the ability to maintain composure and show respect to your opponent is critical to overall success. This interaction is important before, during and after the game. Additionally, the player/adult interaction is truly visible at all times. When in games or training, are players demonstrating respect for the coaches? In games, do players demonstrate respect for coaches when with regards to position, starting, substitutions, correction, etc? And, does the player show respect to the officials at all times? Despite missed or ‘bad’ calls, does the player have the composure to persevere regardless of the outcome? Coaches refer to this as pressure.


Frequently Asked Questions- Elite    

What are the costs involved? Elite level fees are determined based on the level of play and collected before play begins. The cost per season is $495. Each player will pay $95 to register once he or she has been offered a spot on a team. The remaining balance is due before league play begins. Check with TUSC administrators on the exact dates each season. The balance can be paid in one payment or in two installments of $200 per. Financial assistance is available through an application process and is need based.

How is playing time managed? Depending on the number of players on the team, coaches will determine the best, most appropriate playing time each game. It is important to understand, not all players are equal. Therefore, not all players will get equal time in games. The game may dictate more or less substitutions, and it’s important to recognize that Elite soccer is performance based. Attendance at training sessions is mandatory, and we recognize there will be things that interfere from time to time, but training makes players better which makes teams better, so it’s in your player’s best interest to attend as many sessions as possible. If you’re unsure why your player is getting less playing time or playing in a different position, please contact the coach, not the manager. The manager’s role is strictly logistical in nature. Soccer decisions are made by the club coaches.

What if my player plays high school soccer in the spring? Coaches have a responsibility to the program they coach for. That is the same for a high school and a club. The goal for both should be similar…develop the player’s skills and develop in the player a desire to return. The AHSAA rules regarding 6-man rule make small clubs have to do mental gymnastics in order to protect players. Sadly, the high school programs don’t seem to take the same care in many cases. What happens very regularly is that high school coaches communicate whom they want on club rosters so they can preserve their rosters for Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman teams. In a performance based program, this creates problems.

What if my child wanted to play club soccer in the spring?  Tuscaloosa United is here to serve the soccer needs in the community. While we do not wish to compete for players against high school programs, there has been a ground swell of requests for spring teams for a variety of reasons. Beginning Spring 2019, TUSC will offer spring teams. Please note…a player cannot play for a high school and a club team in the same season. Additionally, Alabama ODP has a program if you are interested in spring soccer on that level. More information on that can be found at www.alsoccer.org under the ODP tab.

Are tryouts really needed? YES! Tryouts are a process to identify players in their age groups who may need to be placed on higher teams or lower teams based on performance. From time to time, new players show for tryouts and are able to unseat a player from his or her position on the current or previous team. That is competition…that is performance based sport!


Competitive Soccer Information

Mike Bissell

Director of Coaching

Tuscaloosa United Soccer Club