AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Spring 2016
Club House
Inside This Issue
- Quick Links -
For Coaches
SAC 10’s
Training Tip
Heading
SAC For Life
Club Culture
Ask SAC
New Initiative
The Rondo
New Mandate
Alumni
Kit Colors
Age Mandates
Coaching Resources
Coaching Education
Performance Training
Welcome to the Soccer Association of Columbia’s online newsletter
For Players
Four decades of serving the community has yielded many accomplishments our Club
members can be proud of. Not only did SAC pioneer soccer development in Howard County, we continue to be a driving force regionally, and beyond, in the development of youth
Summer Camps
Holiday Clinics
College Prep
athletes and their coaches. We created a remarkable facility at Covenant Park- nine beautiful fields called home by more than 300 boys and girls teams wearing the Blue and Gold.
Perhaps the greatest source of pride to me, though, is that SAC currently boasts over 1000
For All
active volunteers all working hard to make our Club successful. Surely our progress comes
SAC for Life
Fall 2016 Tryouts
Covenant Park Info
Field Directions
Official Fanwear
FAQ’s
as a result of our collective efforts.
Now I am proud to introduce our newest endeavor, the next chapter in our Club’s commitment to its players, coaches and families. We call it “Around the Pitch”. ATP is a SAC
online newsletter with topics to capture your attention and create conversation. We hope
you find the quick reads and video links interesting, informative and even inspiring.
Thank you for being a part of the Soccer Association of Columbia and for everything you
do to bring passion to the game and our Club.
Wilma Moran-Wylie
Soccer Assn of Columbia
VP Recreational Program
4560 Centennial Lane
Ellicott City, MD 21042
www.sackick.com
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SAC 10’s - New Player Development Initiative
SAC10 is a new player development initiative aimed at dramatically improving the skill level of our recreational players by giving them access to the kind of elevated technical training that is a critical component of our
club’s travel program. Specifically, SAC10 is a series of ten attacking moves. Going forward we strongly encourage every player at our club to practice, master and employ these moves to significantly impact their level
of success on the playing field.
Continue Reading
Training Tip - Barcelona’s Secret Weapon Revealed
No longer a secret, the Rondo is a daily staple of F.C. Barcelona’s training. Introduced by head coach Johan
Cruyff, players from the youth academy to the first team use this simple keep-away game to sharpen skills at
practice and in pre-game warm-ups. Director of Recreation, Aki Lake, describes the value of the Rondo and
shares coaching points that will help trainers at every level to maximize the impact of Barcelona’s simple secret weapon on their team. Be sure to check out Coach Aki’s suggested video links at the end of the story!
Continue Reading
Heading - New US Soccer Mandate
Although not considered a full contact sport like American football or ice hockey, collisions frequently occur in
soccer between players. It is not uncommon for ball and object (goalposts) to collide with players. These collisions often lead to injuries including concussions. It is reported over 50,000 concussions occur annually in
men's and women's high school soccer alone in the United States. It has traditionally been thought concussions in soccer occur from player to player collisions involving the upper body of the involved players.
Continue Reading
SAC For Life - Alumni Program
Whether you are 8 or 18 the time you spend at SAC, with a ball at you’re your feet and a teammate at your
side, will provide memories and lessons that will last long after scores are forgotten. We encourage all High
School Seniors who are enjoying their final season at our Club to reflect on their experience. Their comments
are recorded for prosperity by our SAC for Life program and our SAC Scholarship Essay Contest.
Continue Reading
Why we wear the Blue, White and Gold
SAC legend has it, when Club founders were weighing color options for our club crest, the list of considerations was a short one. In homage to their favorite team, Leeds United F.C. of England’s professional league,
they chose to replicate their colors. Indeed, Blue, White and Gold won the day, right down to the tone and
vibrancy of their shades. Our connection to rich European soccer history reaches even farther, however. A
tenaciously scrappy side, Leeds United experienced its share of ups and downs. Prior to the 1963-64 season
the team lingered in the second division without any critical success.
Continue Reading
Birth-Year Age Groups - New US Soccer Mandate
US Soccer has passed down new mandates regarding the grouping of players by age. Starting Fall 2016, SAC
will be adopting these new mandates which require that players be grouped by their birth-year for competition. We will no longer be using the split-year age chart that everyone has become accustomed to.
Continue Reading
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
SAC 10’s
Player Development Initiative
S
AC10 is a new player development initiative aimed at dramatically improving the skill level of our recreational play-
ers by giving them access to the kind of elevated technical training that is a critical component of our club’s travel program.
Specifically, SAC10 is a series of ten attacking moves. Going forward we strongly encourage every player at our club to
practice, master and employ these moves to significantly impact their level of success on the playing field. The best
soccer players in the world, from Lionel Messi to Alex Morgan, spent hours mastering moves that enable them to beat
defenders consistently and rise to the top of the game. SAC is committed to developing the next generation of great
technical players.
To that end our coaching staff is producing a series of short training videos. Each video will break down a single SAC10
move with simple and clear coaching points to make learning fun and challenging. In just a short period of time a player
should be able to grasp the basics. With continued practice an inspired player can learn the nuances of each move and
begin to apply them effectively in a game situation. As long as players are encouraged to attempt SAC10 moves, despite the immediate results, continued implementation will lead to a more consistent success rate and increased confidence on the pitch as they become increasingly creative and unpredictable in 1v1 situations on the field.
We hope our recreational program coaches, players and parents alike will embrace the SAC10s and take advantage of
this new training tool. As we strive to improve the quality of every soccer player’s experience who wears the blue and
gold we encourage you to share your successes through video posting in future newsletters.
Click here to see the first SAC10 video: Scissors
Show us your progress by submitting short video, pic, gif to: vp-specialprograms@sac-hc.org
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Training Tip
Barcelona’s Secret Weapon Revealed - The Rondo
N
o longer a secret, the Rondo is a daily staple of F.C. Barcelona’s training. Introduced by head coach Johan Cruyff,
players from the youth academy to the first team use this simple keep-away game to sharpen skills at practice and in
pre-game warm-ups.
Whether a spontaneous pick-up game between players waiting for practice to start or an organized element of training, the benefits of this fun and dynamic exercise are undeniable. Director of Recreation, Aki Lake, describes the value
of the Rondo and shares coaching points that will help trainers at every level to maximize the impact of Barcelona’s
simple secret weapon on their team. Be sure to check out Coach Aki’s suggested video links at the end of the story!
El Rondo by Aki Lake
Rondo is a skills based possession exercise. The group in possession tries to keep the ball away from defenders in a specific area. “Attackers” have a numerical advantage that should allow them to keep the ball within that specified area
while the numbers-down “defenders” try to win the ball. Rondo can be effective with as few as four players in a 3v1
and up to ten players in an 8v2.
The limited space and fast pace of the exercise encourages players to make quick decisions in choosing the right pass
while their teammates move quickly to be in support off the ball by making themselves an option. “Defenders” must
shift between pressuring and cutting down lanes and must also work in tandem with their defender teammate if he has
one. Technically, success depends upon providing quality passes and control of the ball.
Rondo can be organized in different shapes such as Square, Rectangle, Circle and Triangle and can also be directional in
nature to recreate a more game-like scenario but direction is not a necessity and direction is not, typically, the takeaway from this experience.
Advantages of Rondo to our player development model
Technical Development - Regular Rondo sessions will improve a player’s ability to control and pass the ball at a
higher speed. Technical demands will increase depending on the age and ability of the players involved. It is
important for coaches to correct passing and receiving techniques without disturbing the flow of the game –
like encouraging players to use both feet to increase their passing options and receive away from pressure.
Number of touches – Rondo allows players to have maximum touches on the ball within a short period of time. All
the while players will be challenged to improve those touches and use a wide variety of touches.
Teamwork - Teamwork is essential for both Attacking and Defending players who must work together to keep possession of the ball and recover the ball, respectively. It will naturally stimulate faster decision making that encourages players to have a vision of the next pass before they receive or intercept the ball.
continue on next page ↓
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Training Tip
Barcelona’s Secret Weapon Revealed - The Rondo
Creativity – Rondo provides a dynamic environment for players to solve problems in a constantly changing game.
This real time demand under pressure fosters spontaneous creativity in many situations. Coaches should encourage creative passes and control as it helps unlock tight defenses i.e. using a fake/ Feint or Cruyff pass.
Competition – Rondo creates a fun competitive environment as most players do not want to defend to win the ball
back. You can increase the level of competition by adding progressions to the game. Coaches should not give
unrealistic targets to players as that could reduce the level of motivation.
Mobility and Agility – Rondo will require players to adjust their positions constantly. This requires players to be mobile and agile within small spaces. The speed of these movements will depend on the speed of the Rondo exercise.
Key coaching points to identify from a basic Rondo exercise:
Providing supporting angles for players on the ball
Good weight on the pass
Good Body shape to increase your passing options
Good timing of the pass - When to pass the ball?
Disguising passes to deceive the defender (Fakes and Feints – SAC 10s Video)
Early Preparation – “staying on the balls of your feet to receive a pass”
Supporting the ball as it moves from one player to another
Understanding the difference between the Split pass, Angled pass and Rebound (back) pass
Passing and controlling with both feet.
Good ball control with both feet
Note: Have several soccer balls ready around Rondo Area for quick re-starts.
Key steps for progression to keep the game challenging and productive:
Recognizing when you need to add an extra defender to make it more challenging.
Recognizing when you have to reduce the space if the players are finding it very easy.
Introducing incentives for players to keep the ball for longer periods ie. __number of passes=point, __seconds of
ball possession)
Creating Incentives for the Defender(s) to create maximum intensity and concentration when defending e.g. (One
point when they win the ball or switching places with an attacker).
continue on next page ↓
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Training Tip
Barcelona’s Secret Weapon Revealed - The Rondo
Recommended sizes for Rondo ( 4v2)
U7/8 14 yds x 14 yds
U9/10 12 yds x 12 yds
U11/12 10 yds x 10 yds
U13/14 8 yds x 8 yds
Check out these videos:
Barcelona training https://youtu.be/3RNfaIW5k1g
El Classico https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7INnQGoBkE
Bayern Munich https://youtu.be/oyURfd64SJw
In the streets of Brasil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI2BkPL6w3Y&feature=youtu.be
DIY on your game system. FIFA 2016!!! (skip to 2:11-2:45) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2BhYqpfi54
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Heading
New US Soccer Mandate
L
et’s face it. When it comes to head injuries, the long-standing fear amongst soccer players and their parents has
been the nasty collision between those going up for the same ball, contact with the ground or impact with the goal
post. However, recent studies warn of a less obvious, but no less significant, threat to the health of a young player’s
brain development- repeated contact with the ball itself.
While heading will always be an exciting part of the game, doctors warn that these meetings between head and ball
are, in fact, collisions. Many concerned specialists site the reporting of over 50,000 concussions occurring annually in
men's and women's U.S. high school soccer alone. Recent research has suggested almost one third of these soccer related concussions occur after a player deliberately strikes the ball with their head.
In conjunction with U.S. Soccer and youth player development professionals around the country, SAC has implemented
changes in the training and play of our youngest, most susceptible athletes.
Effective January 1st, 2016 US Soccer has issued a mandate, applying to players 12 years old and younger, on heading
the ball in training and competition. Here are the changes that may affect your player:

Players who are 11 and 12 years old can receive heading instruction in training limited to 30 minutes per week.
They are allowed to head the ball in competition.

Players 10 years old or younger cannot be taught the skill of heading.

Players 10 years old or younger cannot intentionally head the ball in a competitive game.

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player deliberately heads the ball on the field. The indirect free kick will occur at the point of the infraction.
While these changes apply only to our youngest players, to minimize this risk universally it is imperative all coaches be
well informed about proper training of heading techniques. Coaches and officials should also be able to recognize concussion signs and symptoms so they are able to identify them if the athlete is not forthcoming. Once any concussion
signs or symptoms have been identified, the athlete should be removed from the field of play and undergo further
evaluation to determine if a concussive injury has occurred.
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Journal of Sport and Health Science Volume 3, Issue 4, December 2014
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
SAC For Life
Alumni Program
Are you SAC for Life?
Whether you are 8 or 18 the time you spend at SAC, with a ball at you’re your feet and a teammate at your side, will
provide memories and lessons that will last long after scores are forgotten.
We encourage all High School Seniors who are enjoying their final season at our Club to reflect on their experience.
Their comments are recorded for prosperity by our SAC for Life program and our SAC Scholarship Essay Contest.
Click here to see last year’s winning boys essay
Click here to see last year’s winning girls essay
Click here for more information on our SAC College Scholarship Essay Contest
Click here if you are in your senior year of high school and are interested in filling out the SAC for Life survey.
continue on next page ↓
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
SAC For Life
Boys Scholarship Essay
The impact playing club soccer has had on my life
Robert C. - SAC BoysU19 2014-15
Playing soccer with the Soccer Association of Columbia has been one of the longest enduring presences in my
life. I have played for ten years now, and my years as a player have led me to become certified as a Grade 8 referee,
and I intend to pursue refereeing further in college at the University of Tennessee.
I began playing soccer with SAC as a seven year-old, and doing so allowed me to meet kids my age with similar
interests to my own. During elementary and middle school, I attended a private school in Baltimore County, and the
opportunity to play club soccer with SAC helped me meet players from all over the Howard County community that I
became good friends with. By age nine, I played soccer, basketball, and baseball, but only soccer stuck with me for the
rest of my life.
I played with the same SAC team for almost five years, staying with the same core group of players. When the
original coach left, as his son started playing high school soccer, my dad took over as the team’s coach. My dad became
very involved in the team, and I spent much more time than before sharing experiences and bonding with my family. In
these years, I mostly played the position of striker, but branched out to other positions as well, gaining a wider appreciation for the varying roles of each player on the field and boosting my confidence as I learned. I gained important skills
as a leader talking to my teammates on the field, and enjoyed my time on the field and in practices greatly.
Once I entered high school, my perspective on the game changed. After my freshman year, I entered the SAC U
-19 league and things took a step up. Games were significantly more intense and much longer, making the officials on
the field a much more prominent part of the game. At this time, I was looking for a job that would still give me adequate time to study and earn good grades in my challenging courses, and refereeing presented itself as a perfect fit. I
passed the Capital Area Soccer Referees Association certification exam and began officiating games in 2012. The first
games I refereed were SAC recreational league games at the U-9 level, teaching the players about the laws of the game
and enriching their experiences playing the game of soccer. Planning for the future, I hope to continue to referee both
at the University of Tennessee and for SAC in the spring, as well as pursue a Grade 7 referee certification, opportunities
I would have never encountered without playing in the SAC recreational league.
continue on next page ↓
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
SAC For Life
Girls Scholarship Essay
The impact playing club soccer has had on my life.
Natalie F. - SAC Girls U19 2014-15
My family revolves around soccer. At family gatherings, we are either watching or playing soccer. I grew up
hearing stories of my dad, my aunts and uncles playing for SAC teams, and now I’m playing on the same fields and in
the same tournaments. This year I played in the 40th annual Columbia Memorial Day soccer tournament. Someone
from my family has worked, coached, or played in every Columbia Memorial Day tournament. My grandmother was
one of the original organizers and one of my first outings as an infant was to see games at the tournament.
I have played with SAC since I was 3 years old and being a part of a team is like being part of a family. We
count on each other and work together to have fun and get better. Playing soccer for SAC exposed me to people from
many different backgrounds, giving me a more diverse friend group and more open view than just of my neighborhood. Being involved in SAC, I created friendships with people from every school in Howard County and schools beyond. The way we are all connected through soccer is really special. The relationships I built through soccer are some
of the strongest in my life.
I have always been involved in many activities, but soccer always comes first. When I was young, I would cry if
I had to miss soccer for a dance recital or a softball game. Although I’ve grown past throwing tantrums, when I have to
miss soccer, I still feel the same. I would rather be playing soccer than anywhere else. I can’t wait to head to “The
Cove” to play soccer with my friends. Together, my team has worked hard to become the best we can be and this year
we achieved our goal of winning the Maryland State Championship! When that final whistle blew, I was elated! I still
smile when I think about it.
This year I am lucky enough to be a coach for the Junior Strikers program. I cannot imagine a better job. I get
to share my passion for soccer by playing with kids, showing them new moves, and celebrating their achievements.
One of my favorite moments was when one of the players asked me, “Can you believe how good I am at soccer?!” Being a part of their discovery of the joy of soccer is an honor.
Club soccer is an integral part of my life. Soccer is the best stress reliever and has helped me deal with the
pressures of high school. I learned to work as part of a team, to bounce back from a tough loss, to deal with injury and
bad weather, to be composed in frustrating situations, and how to train hard to win big. I translate these lessons into
other parts of my life to be successful in the classroom, at work, and for personal development. I will always be dedicated to soccer. It truly is “The Beautiful Game”.
continue on next page ↓
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Club Culture
Why we wear the Blue, White and Gold
S
AC legend has it, when Club founders were weighing color options for our club crest, the list of considerations was
a short one. In homage to their favorite team, Leeds United F.C. of England’s professional league, they chose to replicate their colors. Indeed, Blue, White and Gold won the day, right down to the tone and vibrancy of their shades.
Our connection to rich European soccer history reaches even farther, however. A tenaciously scrappy side, Leeds United experienced its share of ups and downs. Prior to the 1963-64 season the team lingered in the second division without any critical success. Then, just prior to the season starting, Leeds newest manager, Don Revie, chose to change
their kit colors from the old Blue and Gold strip to all White. "We shall be like Real Madrid- feared by everyone, challenging for everything," said Revie of the new kit.
Well, it must have worked. That season Revie’s newly outfitted team ended top of the table in the English Football
League’s Second Division earning them ascendancy to the Top Division. Their successful journey continued over the
next decade as they took victory in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1968 and 1971), Football League First Division (1968/69
and 1973/74), FA Cup (1972), Football League Cup (1968), and FA Charity Shield (1969).
For SAC founders, true fans of the beautiful game, the mere sight of their beloved Leeds Blue, White and Gold Crest
must have brought with it a sense of loyalty and possibility, of grit and determination to be the best. They could not
have hoped for any less for their fledgling organization. So, what better choice for a new Club of their own making?
The rest, as they say, is history.
Click here to see Leeds United shield
Click here to see Real Madrid’s shield
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AROUND THE PITCH
The Official Newsletter of the Soccer Association of Columbia
VOL 1, ISSUE 1 | APRIL 2016
Birth-Year Age Group
New US Soccer Mandates
Dear SAC,
My son’s coach told me he will not be able to play on his team next year because of a change in birthdate registration. Is that true? It doesn’t seem fair.
Mary M.
This may, indeed, turn out to be the case for your son, though not until new teams are formed in the fall of 2016. At
that time, it will depend upon his birth year and the decision by his current coach to continue on in one age group or
the other. At the recreational level the coach’s decision will usually be based on the age of their own child. Undoubtedly, though, changes in registration guidelines will result in new teams for many players at our club. SAC, however, is
not alone in making these changes. Virtually every soccer club across the country will be implementing the same policy
at the same time.
To better understand the decision behind the new US Soccer Mandates, you may want to watch their video statement.
http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2015/08/24/18/07/150824-coaching-player-development-initiatives-rel
Change can be a little scary. Young players facing these changes may have questions for which there are no specific
answers immediately available. Emotions can be tenuous. We encourage parents to be as positive as possible when
communicating the possibilities to your player(s). Remind them that a new team means making new friends as well as
the chance to play with and against some old ones. A new coach means a different view of the game that can be just
as fun with fresh elements that make practice exciting. For some, the chance for a new jersey number or field position
may make the change appealing.
Above all, parents are encouraged to remain positive and find ways to be reassuring throughout the transition. Children are acutely observant of their parent’s emotions and, in the end, your player’s attitude will likely reflect your own.
Simply said, if you are stressed, your children will be too. On the other hand, change of this magnitude presents the
opportunity for a life lesson and that should be a good thing. After all, not many of us signed our kids up for soccer
simply to watch them score goals.
Here’s a hint from another SAC parent who sounds like they have it all figured out already. My kids have faced this kind
of team change a number of times over the years. I always remind them that the first day of practice with a new team
is not unlike the first day of any new school year – there are likely to be as many familiar faces and concepts present as
there are unfamiliar. After just a week or so all that angst will be forgotten, replaced with novelty the of new bonds and
experiences.
Have a question for SAC? Submit it to asksac@sac-hc.org
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