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There was an interesting article recently in the Sunday New York Times discussing the appropriate age for participation in travel teams (for many people, to read as more competitive) sports. The Great Neck Soccer Club has attempted to establish the proper environment for children to participate and the club believes we have achieved a balance for those who are indeed interested.

The club's mission is to promote education and sportsmanship within the framework of a team sport. To that the club offers a tool for those families who want to prioritize soccer at this time in their child's life. It is a commitment and responsibility that must be carefully considered prior to enrollment in the program. The program has been successful in many aspects. The most important is the continued success of the teams winning the Sportsmanship awards in their respective divisions on a regular basis. In the spring of 2004 three of the six competitive teams were division sportsmanship award winners, a fourth team was awarded second place for sportsmanship. Players in the soccer club's program have participated with honors on the varsity high school level at both the North and South high schools, others have earned positions on the New York State Select teams and others have participated on the collegiate level. Most importantly learning a shared responsibility and working as a team to a specific goal is an important part of a child's life. If you are interested the following information will assist you. Tryouts for this year will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5. Attendance is mandatory on both dates.

Players qualify by birth date; the teams that will be trying out must have birth dates on or after Aug. 1, 1995.

In the spring 2005, there will be a condensed season, a set of 10 practices, over a period of seven consecutive weeks on Fridays after school and Sundays at an agreed upon time amongst team members. All sessions are held in Great Neck. We use this as an introduction to the travel program. All practice sessions are 90 minutes in length. The roster size for each team is 15. Twelve of those players make up the regular season roster and the others participate as tournament players for the first year. All players are chosen based on ability and the family's desire to commit to participating in a 26-week program.

Starting in the fall of 2005 they will be entered in structured league play. The league seasons run 12 weeks in the fall and 14 weeks in the spring. Weekly practice sessions are again held on Fridays after school for 90 minutes. In addition a second indoor practice is held for 60 minutes usually on a weekday evening from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. All practice sessions are in Great Neck. Home matches are held in Great Neck and away matches are held anywhere on Long Island and sometimes in western Queens. They are scheduled at various times of the day. Players are required to arrive 60 minutes prior to each match for a training/warm up session. Each week there will be at least one match on a Saturday, with an occasional match additionally on Sunday or a practice session. Players are responsible to travel to the matches and many people car pool.

The professional staff directs all training and game coaching. The soccer club employs this staff which is funded through the families. The Great Neck Soccer Club objectives are to stress sportsmanship, the teaching of soccer skills and responsibility to every teammate, opponent, coach and referee. It is the club's belief that this is the best environment for players to develop themselves. And for children who demonstrate both above average soccer skills, a special interest and commitment in developing those talents.


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