One of the OSA's Player Development Guiding Principles is "Grassroots Soccer is for All". Along with that goes the philosophy that all children should be able to play soccer at the level that they choose and not have to be selected to play at the Development level through a tryout process. In the OSA's Long Term Player Development (LTPD) Grassroots Model (U-8 to U-12), we want to include all children, of all abilities, into our programs.
In previous models, selection of players into programs took place through a tryout process for children as young as 6 or 7 years of age. This process meant that we have actually deselected more players than we have selected. Children that desire to play at the development level are hungry for more qualified coaching, more practices, and the opportunity to train and play in better facilities. Having a child who wants to play in this type of program should be enough for us as adults to welcome them with open arms.
All children have the potential to become better players and should not be selected based on what they can do today, the "here and now". Players who show good commitment, great attitudes, and a desire to become a better player should be offered the opportunity to play and develop. As clubs, if we can develop bigger player pools, it will only bode well for the future game. We must allow players the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Clubs around Ontario are now following this philosophy and are offering development sessions, discovery sessions, and open sessions for any player wishing to play at the development levels. With creative and proactive thinking, we can include grassroots players in the programs that they wish to participate in.
For more information, please contact Player Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.