A tale of two soccer leagues

Bridgewater currently has two travel soccer leagues. C is on Bridgewater United (aka "Epic") the Bridgewater Rec Department's travel soccer organization. She has been very happy with Bridgewater United, but doesn't like one of the four coaches. We have 18 girls and four coaches - a head coach and 3 assistants.

A couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, C said she wanted to join BSA (Bridgewater Soccer Association).

Shoot me now! One year ago this week she was deciding between "Epic" and BSA. She tried out for both, and after much deliberation, chose "Epic", which became Bridgewater United. Both organizations sent "FAQ's" home last week promoting their programs.

She has been happy there all year. She has made new friends and the team has coalesced from a group of girls with very different sporting backgrounds to a team. Had she joined BSA she would have been an outsider coming in to an already formed group.

Maybe your daughters or sons are choosing between the two programs. Here are my impressions, which may be wrong!

Bridgewater United pros:
* Less parental interference.
* The organization is positive toward the fact that children do multiple activities and may not be able to make all practices/games.
* Less expense
* Less pressure - there's only one level, no A or B at my daughter's level
* Professional training mixed with volunteer coaches
* Very family friendly and welcoming
* I really like the girls. They are good to each other.
* I like the coaches, the manager and the families. The coaches and families are extraordinarily supportive of both the girls and one another. No one takes it too seriously. They realize these are innocent 10 and 11 year olds. (But we parents (especially a couple of us Moms) are still pretty loud on the sidelines).

BSA pros:
* Best reputation for quality
* Longer history, so few newbie bumps in the road
* Well trained girls with a lot of private extra training means the teams play better
* Name recognition/quality in the name
* Girls are in high flight, and the program is very challenging
* Girls get to go to lots of tournaments, including Hershey Park (Our BU team did one tournament in the fall and will do one in the spring, neither far away)

Bridgewater United Cons:
* Being as they haven't had as much professional training, some girls on the team need work on condition and it keeps them from being able to run fast enough, and others may lack ball skills, etc.
* C doesn't always agree with one of the coach's decisions, often mid-game, so I foresee some tough discussions in the fall. I personally think he is a really nice guy and cares about the girls' best interests. I don't feel like I have the experience to judge his coaching decisions. And maybe my 11 year old daughter doesn't either???
* Some girls claim it isn't challenging enough - but my feeling is that you challenge yourself. If you take a step-aerobics class and it is too easy, you lift your legs higher to compensate. So, I don't buy that too much.
* It's a low flight and we don't have the experience yet to move higher. We haven't won every game and clearly are in a flight we can manage.
* TRAVEL MEANS TRAVEL. We regularly travel over an hour, two counties away, for our away games.

BSA Cons:
* I have LOTS of friends who are Moms of BSA kids (some are among my closest friends!), so don't misunderstand me when I say that my number one CON with BSA: THE MOMS. They meddle, they criticize the girls, and speak of them as if they were NBA picks and not 10 year olds, they fight amongst themselves and they live for soccer. In our household we don't live for sports, we live in spite of them!
* It is very expensive. Plus there are the extra expenses that aren't mentioned: the pressure to send your kid for extra private training sessions, camps, extras to the uniforms like bags and jackets, overnight tournaments, etc.
* C would move from relatively strong player to one of the weakest.
* BSA says they are open to kids who play several sports, but I know that if you don't make a practice, that you aren't played much during the game as "fairness" to the girls who made practice. Also other parents notice and comment when girls aren't at practice enough.
* There seems to be an animosity between the A and B teams. A looks down at B. B families wish they were on A. C would be on B (did that make sense??? C = my daughter, A & B = are teams).

I'm a bit hesitant to post this blog. I actually started the concept a couple of weeks ago, but if you think Bridgewater families are concerned about the BOE election, you should see how impassioned they are about kids' soccer!

That's right, SCARY!

Try-outs are this week. C is only trying for Bridgewater United - sometimes I have to decide for her. She's gaining confidence on Bridgewater United and I like that!


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