After two seasons (U8s & U9s) playing 5-a-side, we were moving to U10s and 7-a-side. The players, the goals, the pitches were all bigger. Our squad was bigger or was it smaller? We weren’t sure.
The previous year we had fielded 5 U9 squads (3 Saturday, 2 Sunday). Moving to U10s, I thought we’d have a drop in squads, but instead we ended up with 80 players, which meant we moved to 8 squads (5 Saturday, 3 Sunday). (I blame the Mini World Cup!) The first couple of months were spent trying to figure out who were the managers, which players were playing where, which team was in A, B, C, D, E or F and having to find jerseys, footballs and bibs for the large increase in numbers.
Eventually we settled down. Some U10 teams found they worked best when they trained together (16-20 in a session). For other teams, they found focusing on 8-12 players worked best. I think both methods worked, kids certainly enjoyed it.
And the matches at the weekends. Once we found our feet, the games were exactly what was required. All our teams were fielded in the DDSL groups, non-competitive (no scores or league tables). But the kids all knew the scores. They knew which games they lost, won or drew. They started to spot which players were moving from one club to another. They knew who to expect when we played the return fixtures, when we were still trying to figure out why Google Maps had sent us down some never ending boreen on the Meath/Kildare/Dublin border.
Over the Christmas break, we had a combined Saturday & Sunday team take part in a blitz superbly organised by Cabinteely FC. We played against Greystones, Leicester Celtic, Granada and of course Cabo x 2. Many a fantastic game we’ve had with Cabinteely at U8s, U9s & U10s. The games in this blitz were no exception, indeed all the games in the blitz were of an exceptional high standard and also extremely close.
Season’s coming to a close now, with our games due to finish in May. Next up the Mount Merrion Mini World Cup. When Deer Park is taken over by budding Messis, Ronaldos, Vardys & Muellers. We’ll have a month’s break and then it’s back for pre-season 2016/17.