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The Wethersfield George D. Ritchie Soccer Club (WGDRSC) offers a single pathway soccer program for ages 3-18, based on birth-years, consisting of:

  • Recreational Soccer: U4 through U8

  • Competitive (Travel) Soccer: U9 through U18

Recreational Soccer

From Fall 2018, Wethersfield George D Ritchie Soccer Club has partnered with Evolution Soccer to help support a new approach to delivering a better family soccer experience called e3 Soccer. e3 Soccer helps elevate the Emotion, Environment and Experience that a soccer organization creates to impact the satisfaction and enjoyment that players, coaches, parents and administrators get from the game.

As part of this approach we will be delivering two new programs:

  • U4/U5 and U6 will be supported with the Dinomites soccer program which uses the imagination of children of this age to engage them in adventures as they learn new soccer skills and are introduced to the game of soccer. This program includes a full Dino-themed uniform (shirt, shorts, socks and shin guards) and soccer ball.

  • U7 and U8 will be the Development League. Utilizing included themed jerseys, the players will look and feel like a pro in either City, Champions or International replica jerseys. The players will learn about the team, players and culture of their team through-out the season and be taught from an age appropriate curriculum with professional trainers supporting our parent coaches.

The program will benefit from parent-volunteer coaches, supported by an Evolution Soccer trainer and a thoroughly detailed curriculum, provided before the season starts.

The U4-U5 teams will have a single session on Saturdays. The U6-U8 teams will practice separately during the week, but play games against each other within their age groups on Saturdays.

Competitive (Travel) Soccer

Travel Soccer is the next step after recreational soccer and it is an inter-town program designed for more competitive play. Eligibility for travel soccer is based on birth year, registration and, if necessary, tryouts.

Commitment

Travel soccer requires more of a commitment than recreational soccer as there are typically 2 practices per week and then 2 games/weekend (one on Saturday and one on Sunday). In any given week, there may be more or less practices or games. As players get older, commitment levels and dedication should increase, but even at the lowest levels of travel soccer, players are expected to attend nearly every practice and game for their team.

As players move through the age groups, competition in travel soccer increases – both on the team and between teams – and more will be expected of players. By U13, the player’s attitude, attendance and performance will be impacting their playing time on the team.

Seasons

Spring travel seasons usually go from around the first week of April until the 3rd week of June (give or take a week to start or end).

Fall travel seasons usually go from the end of August until about the first week of November (give or take a week to start or end).

Games

Following the format laid out by US Youth Soccer and CJSA, our teams play as follows:

  • U9-U10 (7v7)

  • U11-U12 (9v9)

  • U13+ (11v11)

The youngest ages – U9 and U10 – are still considered to be developmental, so players are expected to have basic soccer skills (dribbling, 1-v-1, passing) and they MUST have an excitement to learn more and the ability to pay attention without disruption. Focus is important as they will be expected to train harder and refine individual skills and make the transition to a more team-like game.

Soccer is a contact sport and the physicality of the game increases with age. This is an essential part of the game, which some players are not suited to. Even at U9 and U10 (for boys and girls), players will work exceptionally hard to gain or keep position of a ball. At every age, the level of effort in Travel simply has to be higher than in Rec; as the age level increases, the level of skill must also rise in order for players and their teams to compete against players and teams from other towns.

At all levels, the league games scores are recorded and go towards determining the division which teams will play in the next season. However, at U9 and U10 – the developmental ages - the scores are not posted for public view. In those early seasons, scores can be quite lopsided (although this is discouraged at all levels).

Team Formations

In Travel soccer, each age/gender group may have multiple teams and this is strongly encouraged so that players can practice and compete at a level suitable to their own skills. When the number of players supports more than one team, tryouts will take place in the spring by an independent panel of coaches, and recommendations will be made to place players on the appropriate roster based on their ability. At the lower ages, we strive for a place for every player on a travel team (but this is not guaranteed). If player numbers are utterly unfavorable, players may be encouraged to recruit additional players and coaches and form an additional team to keep roster sizes manageable (18 players on a single roster is far too many for 9v9 games, but not enough for two rosters).

Rosters in Travel soccer may change from year to year based on the development of individual players. If a child makes one team in an age group one year, they may make (or not make) another team the following year based on their ability and the results of the tryouts which occur each June. This is often the hardest part for players and parents to understand, but Travel soccer is competitive soccer. Players can move 'up' or 'down' from year to year based on their own skill relative to their peers.

It is difficult for many families to understand why U10 players may be separated from their friends after playing together for a year or more, but this is just the way competitive sports work. It should be stressed to players that training and playing against players of more suitable ability will, ultimately, make them far better players and they will have the chance to tryout again for their former team (in the event that they moved down) and try to earn a spot there again.

This is a very real (and natural disappointment) possibility for many players each year, so please be sure that you understand these 'risks'. Players are NEVER permanent members of a Travel team. Moving up may often be misconstrued as a reward for development as moving down may be misconstrued as a penalty. Overall, placing players on teams of more similar ability should be viewed as a good thing to assure more parity for the players in practice and games. If your players simply love soccer, then they will have fun and learn a lot no matter which Travel team they are placed on.

A Travel season is considered to be both the fall and spring seasons. Very few additions are made to an existing Travel team for the Spring season.

Costs

Costs are higher for Travel soccer as there are 3 refs for each game and they are paid. In addition to the registration fee which covers the costs of refs and some equipment for the team, players will have to purchase their uniforms which are typically about $75. Additional items are also available for purchase such as bags, warm-up gear and sweatshirts, but these are optional.

Ambassadors

Players in the Travel program will become ambassadors of soccer and of Wethersfield, complete with home and away jerseys.  They are expected to compete and behave in a manner that exemplifies our perception of the club and town (as well as their families). If you are in doubt about whether your child should play Travel soccer, please consider it and talk to members of the board, coaches, neighbors,  and/or current players who have (or had) children play in the program.