In 2008 the merger of three of the most well-known soccer clubs in the region (Gallagher, St. Louis SC, and Metro United) was finalized, and SLSG was created. The reasons for the merger would take pages upon pages to list, but all parties involved in bringing the best resources in the area together agreed that one specific reason sat atop the list; "improve the metro area soccer environment for kids". With this thought dominating the clubs actions each day, dozens of new internal soccer programs were born such as our own "in-house league." Local leagues, although very successful and an absolute necessity for our area, did not seem to be fulfilling the needs of our youngest players. The club could not control scheduling or rules to fit our philosophy. And local leagues, at that time, played all games on grass, albeit beautiful grass fields, but still, cancellations due to weather became much too common and in turn creating overloaded schedules with makeup games late in the season. Our in-house league, now referred to as the P-League, allowed Directors to schedule certain ages group games at certain times and on certain days so that Staff could work with coaches and watch play. The club manipulated rules such as removing throw-ins and replacing them with kick-ins, increasing the touches our youngest players were getting with their feet. The club could now control the amount of punting taking place and no pressing lines were adopted so teams could build their teams game from the back, forwards as the club wished. And finally, what could be the most impactful result of the P-League and has been complimented upon by other clubs, referees, and soccer experts in the region; the parents were 'chill'. I say this with all due respect to our members, it is a compliment to all of our parents, past and present, and a thank you for helping us to make the 'game experience', although always a work in progress, but close to exactly what we feel is best for the girls. I have had two daughters play in the P-League, both benefited immensely and to this day point to some of the Friday night games under the lights as great memories. When the league was created, Parent Expectations were communicated routinely and Directors were, and still are, on sight to remind all spectators as to how the club would like the sideline to sound and feel. Cheering, positive encouragement and typically fun comments became the norm and the league became a program of the club envied around the country. The P-League 'game environment' is intended to be fun but competitive, positive but challenging, and each player should feel free to take risks, attempt to win, make mistakes, and battle opponents respectfully without hearing an uproar from the sidelines about misplays or referee calls. The last few weeks the club has had some minor instances where we had to have quick conversations with coaches and parents as to the league's sideline policy, but still, the league continues to be an amazing developmental tool for our girls. Parents, grandparents, and families, we thank you for continuing to create a positive game experience for our youngest players, We enjoy watching them improve and compete in the P-League each week, and most the while doing so with a smile.
SLSG is a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and this video was sent our way recently, just a little comedic relief and a reminder that we as parents and coaches can take some of the fun out of the 'game experience' for the kids if we aren't careful :)