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GENERAL INFORMATION - U4, U6, and U8

U4

U4 soccer is for 3 and 4-year-old kids, new to the game of soccer, and our goal is to introduce them to the ball, playing with others, and learning basic ball skills. If a player is 4 years old and participated in U4 previously, they may move up to U6 with the approval of their coach as well as the director of coaching.

The U4 program also introduces our parents into the club and for those interested, helps them to feel comfortable being a volunteer soccer coach.

U4 does not have set teams. We run skill exercises, fun games, and pick small sided (2 v 2 or 3 v 3) teams each week at random, and allow for free pay to small goals each session. There are no goalkeepers and minimal coaching.


U6 and U8

U6 (4 and 5-year-olds) and U8 (6 and 7-year-olds) In House Programs further develop the players’ skill sets, expand on their soccer individual tactical awareness, and start building the team play concept. For the coaches, U6 and U8 offers a chance to identify with a group of players (team), and support their skill development at training and team play as a working unit on game day.

U6 and U8 players are placed on World Cup (countries) Teams at the beginning of the season by the age group coordinator and director of coaching, with a volunteer parent assigned to each team. Coaches are responsible to know their players, attend training, assist in instruction of exercises, attend games, and manage their team on game day.

U6 teams play a 4 v 4 game format, with small goals and no keepers, on a 25 x 15-yard field. Emphasis is on spacing, shape, interplay and understanding the group play concept, all with good individual ball control and comfort with the ball under pressure. 

U8 teams play a 5 v 5 format (4 outfield players and a goalkeeper) on a 35 x 25-yard field. Emphasis is on shape, spacing, and positional roles in the game, all with continued comfort with the ball individually and the ability to find teammates. Players may rotate positions and try the goalkeeper position.

LEADERSHIP

Each group (U4, U6, and U8) is led by a parent volunteer age group coordinator who works with the director of coaching and organizes the sessions, assigns coaches to teams, and ensures each practice and game day is running according to plan. Every season we need a dedicated parent willing to help in this capacity. It’s fun, easy, and there is a lot of help!

We ALWAYS need parent coaches for teams as well, so please consider helping.


GENERAL INFORMATION - SUMMER CAMPS

Summer camps are offered each year for several weeks between June and August. 

Players ages 3 to 14 are accepted. 

The 3 and 4-year-olds generally attend from 9 to 10 a.m. each day of the camp week, Monday-Friday, while the 5 and 6-year-olds attend 9 to 10:30 a.m. Players ages 7 and older may attend the full 9 am to 12 p.m. each day.

The camps are meant to reinforce individual soccer skills, introduce and expand soccer tactics (individual and group), learn to play through fun group games, and experience new coaches and new training exercises apart from their usual coach and team. 

Snacks are provided at summer camp, and all participants receive a SAS camp shirt.

GENERAL INFORMATION - TRAVEL TEAMS (U9 AND OLDER)

Travel soccer typically begins at U9 (8 years older).

Travel teams are for players who have played 1 or more year of in-house, who have a good grasp of the skills and basic tactics of soccer, and just as importantly, are well adapted at working in the group and team setting and following a coach’s direction. Travel players need to be socially mature enough to handle playing competitive games against unknown opponents.

U9 and U10 ages have the following leagues:

In "community," there is no roster limit. The level of play is lower as most teams are very new to travel soccer. The play format for U9 and U10 is 7 v 7 (6 field players and a goalkeeper). Community team games are generally played on Saturday afternoons.

"Travel " is for more advanced U10 teams who may also opt to compete in the D4, D5, and D6 Sunday travel leagues. This is for higher level players who may also play Cup Soccer (see below).

U11 and older ages have the following leagues:

D5 and D6 are for teams to compete on Sundays against other community programs around Pittsburgh. There are several divisions of competition, from D6 (lowest) to D5 (highest). Within D6 and D5, there can be subdivisions (A, B, C, etc.) depending on how many clubs enter teams in each age group. U11 and U12 teams play 9 v 9 (8 field players and the goalkeeper). U13 and older play 11 v 11.

At SAS, when we form travel teams, we base the level of divisional placement on the following factors, among others:

·         age (birth year)

·         years of experience of the players on roster

·         level of play of the division in previous season

·         success of team in previous season at previous division

·         previous coaches’ suggestions based on experience

Our goal is to offer all interested travel-aged players a chance to play and be part of a team, while maintaining competitive levels of play against other community programs we face.

We strive to keep players in their birth year to follow U.S. Soccer mandates, but at times we are forced to mix ages (U9/10 for example) based on the number of players registered. All effort to be fair to the player’s ability and experience is weighed in this process.

GENERAL INFORMATION - CUP SOCCER

For highly dedicated players (U9 and older) seeking higher levels of play and professional coaching in a year-round setting, you may pursue Cup (Classic) level soccer. The commitment for Cup programs is much more than community and travel, with multiple training sessions each week, games and tournaments in fall and spring, and generally, a full winter program.

The cost for a Cup program can vary.

Most Cup programs have a website where you can research their missions, policies, staff, and level of service to the players. 

Locally there are many quality Cup programs you can consider.

For more information, feel free to contact SAS Director of Coaching, Chris Karwoski, or visit the PA West website.

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