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As the college soccer season comes to a close and we begin actual recruitment of players for our 2013 squad, several thoughts have crossed my mind over the past couple of weeks.  Rather than let them pass, or write short posts on each, I’ve decided to address them all in one entry.

1) #yourhometeam

We have taken on this Twitter hashtag and slogan to describe what we aim to be.  Unlike the Brewers, the Bucks, and other Milwaukee teams of that ilk, where players come from all over the country (and world) to suit up, our players will truly be from Milwaukee.  Maybe you will have gone to school with one, or to church, or been in the same Girl Scout troop, or your parents will have worked with theirs, or lived on the same block/in the same neighborhood.  We believe that there is enough talent available within the county to do this, and we also believe in the civic pride and camaraderie that can come from this common background.  However, there will be some degree of diversity, as players from the Milwaukee public school system team up with those from the suburbs and from private school backgrounds, and those who play their college soccer close to home combined with teammates who come home from places as far away as Louisiana and Tennessee and from schools as renowned as Washington University-St. Louis, a member of the University Athletic Association (Division III’s Ivy League).  When we say that we are your home team, we mean it.

2)  The cutthroat nature of the game and our response

Going off of this notion of being your home team, because we are not on the level of a Bucks or Brewers, we do not need to be as cutthroat when it comes to procuring and developing talent.  As a result of that, we choose to consider our potential players’ entire background and experience in the application, scouting, and interview process (some of which will not be tied directly to their soccer accomplishments).  As has been mentioned in previous posts, we will not recruit or bring into our club those players who we feel have taken a selfish approach to advancing their playing careers by opting out of high school play.  We also will not seek out players who have chosen to take a “stab” at college play with no recognizable or verifiable background prior to that or who come back to the game after a significant amount of time away from it.  In our most recent post about the full year approach to soccer development, we mentioned that playing time at the college level matters to us.  Potential players who do not participate significantly in their team’s matches once they are in the second half of their college careers (junior and senior years) will not be considered over those who do or those who are still on the college game learning curve.  It makes little or no sense for a player between her junior and senior seasons to play reserves for us, and it also wouldn’t make sense to carry that player on the first team roster.  Because we choose not to do “scouting combines” and therefore treat the entire college season as akin to a try-out rather than using a one-day event for that purpose, numbers, statistics, and the eyeball test in the player’s natural playing environment carry a lot of weight in determining if a player will be offered a spot with us and whether it will be on the first team or reserves.  This is quite different than what most clubs would do, but because we have a luxury of talent available to us numerically (60+ players in the county for a two-team roster which would expand at most to 45) we can afford to be a little bit picky.

3)  The three parts of the pool

Our view of the player pool we are scouting is that there are three branches to which we can appeal in our approach to the game.  The first is those players who have never been given the opportunity to play at this level of the game due to finances, logistics, and/or the culling nature of elite-level talent evaluation.  A prime example of this are players from MPS.  The second branch is those who might have come up in a traditional club system but for whom opportunities after a certain age at that club are limited or non-existent.  A number of local clubs have teams which might participate in the state women’s league but do not provide anything beyond that (or even provide a squad at that level).  The third portion of the pool is those who have been run off by their clubs, either being dropped entirely or replaced as they advance in age by players from outside the system.  There are a few within the 60-plus players in our scouting pool who have come through a particular club system yet do not feature on the club’s team at this age level.  It will be in combining these three sections into one unit, in showing appreciation for their talent and providing the means to showing it on a broader scale, where we will prove our path can be successful on and off the field.

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Posted October 23, 2012 by Scott in Club Philosophy

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