In June 2010, the Randolph Soccer club changed its name to FC Sonora. Along with this change came a vision to create a club that provided a strong Youth Developmental Program focused on the development of skills, game understanding and love for the game, before having the opportunity to enter the FC Sonora Competitive Program.
"Focused on Development" is the mission of FC Sonora and the Youth Development Program. The game is for the players, therefore the player’s developmental needs are always the focus. The primary responsibility of the organization is to present programs that are appropriately geared to a player’s cognitive, psychosocial and physical placement. Though we all have a tendency to lump children together in our educational and sport activities, we must understand that children grow at varying degrees with regards to the development of their minds and bodies, and the best way to characterize them is by their individual differences.
Unlike most clubs that rely on parent volunteers to coach the youngest players, the Youth Development porgram uses trainers with significant soccer experience to provide a quality learning experience where it is needed most.
The Youth Development Program sets developmentally appropriate goals, knowing what the child is able to do at each level of development. Youth soccer can be confusing at times because the game changes dramatically as the players improve in both skill and physical ability. The club recognizes and understands how the skills learned at each age are connected to preparing the player to move into the next phase of his or her development.
The developmental approach emphasizes the growth of individual skills and group tactical awareness. We feel too much emphasis in youth sport is placed on “team” play and competition in the preteen years, resulting in an environment that is detrimental to both players and adults; much of the negative behavior reported about parents is associated with preteen play. The Youth Program and the Developmental Teams believe in an inclusion model for preteen players. From this perspective, the goal is to include players in matches at an age when experience is more important than outcome. The value of matches is that they provide youngsters with an opportunity to showcase their newly acquired skill and creativity.
The FC Sonora competitive program looks to field teams in the U13-U19 age groups. Waiting until U13 or U14 before focusing on the issues of competitive youth soccer, allows our club’s players to concentrate on development of individual skills, while learning and enjoying the game in the Youth Development Program. Rather than reaching U13 burned out on a game that had consumed their childhood, FC Sonora programs are designed to maintain the player’s love of the game, and have them eager to commit to a competitive program when they have reached a physical and cognitive maturity that is ready for the rigor of a competitive team.
When forming a new FC Sonora competitive team, the club will hold open tryouts. In subsequent years, for that team only, invitational tryouts will be held to fill empty spots created by players leaving the team because they no longer have the committment to the rigors of competitive soccer. It is the philosophy of FC Sonora that winning a championship is a goal, however, it is not such a priority that players would lose their spot on the team, just because another player, deemed better, wanted to join. Team chemistry developed over the years goes a long way to creating champions, as well as lifelong friends. If we truly want a commitment from our players to FC Sonora, then we must also make a commitment to them.