Special Access at Heinz Field

On July 27th 2014, Manchester City played against AC Milan in a special game in front of almost 35,000 spectators at Heinz Field.  Relevent Sports contacted us about offering tickets to our members at a discount.  As a result of the tickets you bought, they were able to have two of our players escort players from Manchester City onto the field before the game.  While I wish we could have had open access to that environment, we were at least able to get a couple of our players out there.  There are a lot of us that put in countless hours at the field keeping things running in our league year-round.  Over the past couple of seasons the Cooke’s and Moose’s have coached multiple teams year-round as well as helping with try-outs, training programs, and hosting camp trainers.  They have made last minute efforts to help the club at the inconvenience of their family and I think having Elizabeth Moose and Ryan Cooke represent NASC at the international game was fitting.  Thanks to everyone that purchased tickets and who volunteer at all levels, year-round to keep our club healthy and fun!image

 

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Fall 2014 Registration Help

We’re getting down to the wire on regular registration.  Registrations after mid-July are subject to a $25 late fee.  Here are links in case you are confused:

  • Travel Programs (All U11 and older) (usually 5th grade & up)
    (Help 855-798-0470)
    (note – many U11 registrations may require a call to connect your child to your profile)
  • In-house Programs (All U10 and under except advanced travel) (usually 4th grade or less)
    (Help 866-258-3303)

On both sites you need to login then click the “Register button.”  If you don’t have an account, going to “Register” should prompt you to create one.

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Summer Soccer Camps in North Allegheny

Summer has only just started and those kids will drive you crazy if you don’t keep them busy.  Take advantage of the World Cup fervor and get your kids in one or more of our upcoming camps.  There are three that I want to highlight:

  1. Maximum Impact has a session the week of July 14th.  Chris Jackson is one of our coaches and the Peebles Elementary School Phys-Ed teacher.  This camp is all kinds of recreation, not just soccer.  It’s from 9AM until noon for just a week at Hosack Elementary School.
  2. North Allegheny Soccer Club is hosting Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp the week of July 21st.  This is the camp our members have enjoyed the past few summers with a crew of young British men trained especially to keeps the kids engaged within their age groups.  There are morning and afternoon sessions at Schwarz fields at McKinney.
  3. In early August, to get ready for the Fall season, Coach Ben will be back with more help from Youth Elite Soccer for a camp at McCandless Fields.  Go to this link to check out the details and register early: http://www.youthelitesoccer.com/event/show/87892287

Please check out these links and sign-up!

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NA Soccer Club Member Expectations

Attention all NA Soccer Club parents:
It’s important that you understand some basic requirements that keep our day-to-day operations running at all levels.  A recent post about behavior standards established guidelines to avoid bad situations but neglected some fundamental aspects that make it easier for a coach to run a team.  Please make sure you abide by these requirements with your child on their team:

  1. Your coach is teaching skills, not babysitting.  Be sure that you stay at games and practices.  If you cannot, make it clear to the coach who is watching out for your child and that they have your cell phone number, should your child get injured.
  2. Your child deserves not to be in harms way.  We have safety guidelines that every child participating in practice or games should be wearing shin guard and soccer cleats, not be wearing jewelry or hard hair clips, and have a bottle of water or something to keep them properly hydrated.
  3. Your coach deserves the courtesy of your child’s attendance, or at a minimum, advanced notice of their absence.  We teach teamwork, of which a large part is commitment to their role on the team.  Teams are built assuming 90% attendance.  We do our best to accommodate team changes due to practice schedule conflicts.  We schedule around major holidays and understand that random conflicts arise.  What we ask is that you make a concerted effort to get your child to games and practices on time so that a coach can be effective and your child can learn about commitment to a team and the responsibility to their teammates.

In most cases these guidelines are second nature.  As a coach, I treasure the friends I’ve made that I met as parents of kids on my kids’ teams.  Those friends are a wonderful by-product of people understanding the culture of our club between the lines of these basic rules.  As an administrator I know that without observation of these rules it becomes impossible to keep enough coaches volunteering season after season.

Thanks for participating in the North Allegheny Soccer Club and taking the time and courtesy to make it a fun experience in your family and community life.

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Lessons from My Favorite Soccer Coach

Jim Earle may be the best coach I know.  Personally, I’ve witnessed him lead our organization more than I’ve seen him lead his team.  You wouldn’t know his strong success as a soccer coach based just on meeting him, for he comes across as just a very nice man, always willing to help, and rarely without a smile on his face.

Aside from coaching two advanced soccer teams simultaneously each season, Jim has a full schedule working at Pitt and teaching there as needed.  On top of that, he wrote and published a book last year.  Where he finds the time, I’ll never know.  What I do know is that we’re very fortunate to have him in our organization and our community.

He writes on leadership and I was impressed by his most recent blog entry.  Rather than keeping too much distance from his readers as many writers and self-help authors, Jim took a break to share a very simple pleasure of golfing with his sons.  It’s a great reminder of simple pleasures with your family enriching our lives and perhaps not just holding up dramatic public contests as the hallmark of a leader.  I found his wisdom of identifying himself in a situation that we all could be in to be very grounding.  He has lots more practical advice in his book, but read his blog for a taste and follow on from there:

Lessons from My Favorite Foursome.

JVEarlebook

 

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What it Takes to Play Edinboro

by Sue Neff – Past President

So you want to take a team to play in the PA West Open Tournament at Edinboro University?

Each spring, PA West organizes an open tournament for any interested travel teams at Edinboro University, about two hours north of Pittsburgh.  The tournament is held over two weekends in mid-June, although a team will only play one of the weekends based on the appropriate division for the team.

Why would a team want to participate?  It is a fun weekend of soccer and an adventure on a different scale than their normal team functions!  Each team plays three or four games between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Players have the option of staying in dorms and eating in a college cafeteria.  It is a great way to wrap up a season!

The biggest challenge for someone organizing a team is getting a commitment from enough players early in the season.  Two options are available to address a player shortfall.  Each team can bring up to 4 guest players from other teams that play in the same or a lower age group and division.  The second option includes dual-rostering players who will play the season on other teams, but want to fill a spot on a team for Edinboro.  If you dual roster players, your total team roster cannot exceed the max for your age group and the team has to be finalized by April 30.  Please work with the club travel registrar or other board member to work out a solution.

Registration deadline is typically around April 30, but I would suggest registering earlier if possible, as the brackets get filled out in groups of 4 teams.  The club’s travel registrar must register the team.

The cost per team is $450, but NASC subsidizes most of that amount.  The team must pay the registration fee up front, and the club will reimburse the team after they participate in the tournament.  Staying in the dorm is $90 per person, including a meal plan.  The team must also provide snacks and beverages.

Additional details can be found at the PA West website by clicking here.

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The Muck and Mire of Spring

Field closures, and practice and game cancellations are a fact of life in spring in Western Pennsylvania.  We try to squeeze an 8-game soccer season in between winter and the end of the school year.  It’s typically not pretty at the beginning and even more so this year.  It is not muddy kids, car interiors, or colds that we are concerned with, but rather how playable fields are after activity on a field that is too soft.  The ground hardens and becomes a rough surface making twisted ankles and knees an unfortunate consequence of our own impatience.  After closing our fields, only to have them messed up by other local groups that are not concerned about who else plays on them, we’ve come to the following guidelines for coaches to use in determining whether to have a practice on any given night they are scheduled to when the fields are “iffy” :

  • You’ve seen the muddy fields you are supposed to play on.  If there is safe space to the side that you can use, you may want to still practice but avoid soft areas and especially the goal area, since it usually has less grass and torn up more easily.
  • Many fields were recently aerated, so if you think there was a lot of mud before, there may be much more now.
  • In weeks where there are no regularly scheduled games, and no school some days, you have no rush and potentially poor attendance anyway.
  • Cold weather means lingering water, demotivated kids, and frustrated parents, so consider what quality the practice will have for the team’s esprit de corps.
  • Of all these reasons NOT to practice, our presence in dry areas may scare away other groups still using our fields when we’ve decided not to.  If our efforts to not use the fields at all mean that other groups may go on them anyway, then I’d rather have us using the spots that we will knowingly be careful with, if it keeps others from abusing them.

We play on these same fields for the rest of the season and deal with the players’ parents as well.  Coaches should find what works for their team and gingerly make their own call.

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NASC Behavior Standards

There are over one thousand kids playing in our club each season and there are inevitably a wide range of expectations that parents have for their experience in the club.  In most cases, your child’s coach is your main interface with our club.  We appreciate that over 120 volunteers spend a good deal of their time helping the kids play soccer and develop their skills and teamwork.  Each weeknight there are roughly 20 practices going on.  Saturdays there can be as many as 17 games going on simultaneously.  Sundays we host between 10 and 20 games.  By those numbers you can appreciate how hard it is to maintain the consistency of behavior we expect of our members, so I’m communicating the standards directly to you so you understand  the club’s culture and have a chance to voice your opinion or let us know if we aren’t practicing what we preach.

Below, please find our behavior standards for all members of the club, whether player, coach, parent, ref or just a spectator.  (They are also posted on the “Coaches” page of the NASC website).  If you disagree with them, please feel free to contact me to discuss your alternate view.  If you observe contradictory behavior, perhaps apply the rules and ask the person about their actions, then let us know if there seems to be a problem, whether by contacting me or submitting an email to “feedback@nasoccerclub.org


Game and Practice Behavior Standard for ALL Members

Whether you are a Coach, Player, Parent or Referee, these are our Conduct Rules:

  • Every player with the right attitude deserves to play at least half the game
    • At least 50% play time for all players and players rotating through positions is the expectation at all levels of play (even travel and D4)
  • Save criticism for 1 on 1 conversations
    • Kids deserve instruction, not aggression
    • Issues with a player are handled in private
    • Issues with a referee need to be sent to the Head of Referees after a game
  • Holler support, don’t yell criticism
    • Cheering is encouraged.  Parents and coaches are to refrain from any disparaging remarks about players, referees and opposing teams.
  • Ask why before you condemn
    • Often times, there are is a simple explanation
  • Raise your voice only because the field is large
  • Winning is great, but learning is greater
    • Creating a positive environment that encourages playing soccer is the focus of the program.  There is a reason you see no scoreboards on our fields.
    • Equal playing time and rotating players through positions supersede strategies to win matches.
    • Kids need to learn to lose gracefully, learn from mistakes, and realize that their work will help them overcome weaknesses.  Just as learning to play defense can make you a better offensive player, losing some games can help them be a more compassionate winner.
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Rest for the Weary [Soccer Admin]

Even though it will be a couple of weeks before the kids hit the field, many people have been getting things organized and learning new roles to try to pull together a good experience for your kids this season.  You’ve not heard from your coaches yet because there is still much to do, INCLUDING filling some of those coaching slots.  Falling short of perfection should not be stopping YOU from stepping up!  Coaches will not necessarily make every game or practice.  They don’t know all there is to know about soccer and herding kids.  What our coaches DO know is that their kids appreciate the time they spend with them and their friends on Saturday mornings for a couple of months.

A decade from now when you’re folding your tattered NA Soccer Club shirt, still warm from the dryer, remembering when it was less worn and a bit looser fitting, you’ll remember some spring weeknights with your kid and be glad you did something after reading this email.  Please step up and have some fun with us by contacting me or the Age Group Coordinator for your kid’s division (find them at this link) and let us know you’ll coach.  We have some practice plans and a few training sessions that can help you get ready!

Thanks for your time and patience.  I look forward to seeing you when the games start the first weekend of April!

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Spring 2014 Soccer Registration Links

We’re getting down to the wire on regular registration.  Here are links in case you are confused:

On both sites you need to login then click the “Register button.”  If you don’t have an account, going to “Register” should prompt you to create one.

Registration is through Valentine’s Day.  After that you will have to pay a $25 late fee during the Late Registration window extending to the 1st of March.

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