In order to provide players with the most fun and best possible development environment, they should be playing with and against players of similar ability on a regular basis. In order to group players by ability, they must be evaluated. The DSA evaluates players and selects teams based on a combination of Tryout Evaluations and Season Evaluations. The process is designed to be as thorough, accurate and fair as possible, while keeping costs, administrative burden and player/parent time commitment at reasonable levels.
As described in more detail below, it is important to emphasize that the Tryout Evaluation is the first and primary determinant of a player′s team placement. This puts all players on an equal footing each Spring and gives each player a "clean slate" opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in an unbiased and thorough tryout involving all players in the age group.
Tryouts are held each spring for each age group
Our goal is to give each player the opportunity to participate in two 1 to 1.5 hour tryout sessions. Some older age groups may only have 1 tryout if numbers are low.
Players are evaluated by professional coaches for individual skills and will also play small-sided games (4 v. 4 to 8 v. 8)
Efforts are made to ensure that players play with and against different players over the course of the two tryouts
The DSA tries to maintain a player/coach ratio of no more than 15 to 1
Evaluators may or may not be coaches who also train some of the players being evaluated
No player parents are involved in the Tryout Evaluation process
Players are evaluated for SKILL, ATHLETICISM and ATTITUDE on a scale of 1 to 5
The evaluators are asked to recommend a tentative competition level (A, B or C)
Importance of Tryouts
Tryout Evaluations are the first and most important determinant of a player′s team placement
Any player wanting to maximize their chances of making the team of their choice should participate in both tryout sessions
Professional Coaches for Current Travel players will evaluate each player on their team each season using identical evaluation forms to ensure consistency and comparability across teams
The coaches are asked to "force rank" the players with no more than 1/3 being ranked in any of the highest, middle or lowest categories.
Players are evaluated for SKILL, ATHLETICISM and ATTITUDE
The coach also has the option of providing brief comments about each player
Team Selection Process
The DSA Board collates the Season Evaluation and Tryout Evaluation data for each age group
Players are initially ranked by tryout scores and grouped into preliminary "A", "B" and "Club Excel" groups
The Season Evaluations of all "borderline" players (those near the cutoff lines between "A" and "B" or between "B" and "Club Excel" teams) are carefully reviewed
The "borderline" players′ rankings are then adjusted, when appropriate, to create revised team groups
In most cases, the proposed team selection is then discussed with the relevant Professional coach
Professional Coach input may result in one or two final adjustments to the final team selection
The DSA board generally oversees the evaluation process and is not necessarily directly involved in individual player selection.
Approximately 100 "man-hours" are spent by the DSA solely on the tryout selection process (ignoring the time spent organizing tryouts, registering players, mailing acceptance letters, etc.)
Effectiveness of Selection Process
This process is similar to that used by a wide variety of town soccer associations, premier clubs and other soccer and athletic organizations
Experienced observers agree that this process, though not perfect, generates very accurate placement of players
Over the course of 2 to 3 hours of tryout games, it is very rare that a player fails to play at their "true" playing level (be that level weak, average or strong)
Despite the extensive nature of the evaluation process, it remains difficult (by definition) to make reliable distinctions between players with very similar abilities
Mistakes and Differences in Perception
Despite all reasonable efforts to make fair and good decisions, some mistakes will be made when evaluating approximately 500 players. In addition, there will inevitably be differences between some parents′ perception of their child′s ability and the perceptions of the coaches and evaluators. The DSA fully understands that differences in perception can create disappointment and frustration on the part of the players and parents affected.
However, the DSA is committed to providing a quality soccer opportunity to all players, regardless of which team they are selected for (i.e., professional skill training, appropriate game competition, etc.). Thus, disappointing decisions need not derail a committed, enthusiastic soccer player′s development. To stay on track, however, it is critical that the player and the parents do their best to stay positive and take advantage of the opportunities they have to improve over the year so that they are well positioned to "succeed" at the following year′s tryouts.