Team and Roles
Teams are co-ed and only include players from their combined age bracket or younger, so older kids are never moved down. Their role is to have fun, give a great effort, and be a great teammate.
Each team has 1 and only 1 coach who is the only voice that the players must hear clearly during practice and games. They are responsible for developing the players and the team according to our principles and philosophy. U5/6 teams are coached by parent-volunteers. There is no team without them! U7/8 teams are coached by certified professional soccer trainers.
There is only 1 coach and the kids must know that! But, our coaches often want/need help running practices and games, whether it's setting up training sessions, shagging balls, encouraging the players and helping them stay focused, pulling some players aside for a separate training session, or co-managing a game and the sidelines. An assistant coach's role is to support THE COACH in any of those ways, and to do so by reinforcing the coach, without overshadowing or contradicting them. It is critical that THE COACH and assistant coaches communicate about the expectations of this relationship and constantly review and correct. We look to the team's parents to get involved and have a blast! It's so rewarding.
Sometimes called the Team Manager (because that's the evolution of this role on the Foundation teams), this parent helps coordinate between the coach and the parents . The most important thing...
...coordinating game day snacks and drinks with parents. Do not fail at this or you'll get 20 low altitude kicks in the shins and tiny cleated toe stomps. You've been warned.
We also look to the team parent to help the coaches however they can by coordinating and managing parent-communications about game and practice schedules, team pictures, jerseys, end of season awards (and coach appreciation :), team-building events (fun!), tournaments, and other club events and announcements.
Parents, you need to provide all of this stuff and bring it to every practice and game! The exception is jerseys. We'll give you that.
- Shin guards
- Soccer ball - size 3
- Water bottle(s) - stay hydrated!
- Soccer cleats
- Game uniform
- Soccer shorts, preferably black
- Soccer socks, preferably black (could be Captain Underpants :)
- Jersey - We provide it with your registration (and you keep it), BUT players returning from the fall season need to reuse theirs. Replacements can be purchased upon request.
- Practice clothes
- Shirt - comfortable, breathable, moisture wicking technical shirt
- Soccer shorts
- Soccer socks
- Shade - umbrella, canopies (you can share too!)
- Beverages - stay hydrated!
Practices are 1 hour long once weekly, typically on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights from 6-7pm (shifted a bit earlier during daylight savings), and in recent seasons have been at Red Elementary School or Bayland Park. Show up 15 minutes early so that the players can warm up and get the wiggles out.
Culture, Rules for Parents and Spectators - See the same section below under Game Day. The exact same applies.
Parents vs Kids Game - This is a tradition at the last practice of the season. Legend has it that in the '60s, the very first Westbury Soccer Club team lost this game to the parents. The parents haven't won since (oddly despite occasionally scoring more goals), and the kids never cease reminding the parents of their soccer prowess and domination. Could this be the year you help reclaim that ignominious victory? Lace up. Don't blow out a hip.
Games are 1 hour long once weekly on Sundays, typically starting between 1-4pm at St. Phillips United Methodist, Herod Elementry, or Red Elementary Schools.
Culture, Rules for Parents and Spectators
- Philosophy - Remember the principles of the Westbury Soccer philosophy: Love of the game, dynamic and engaging training, effort over outcome. We'll do all we can to make game days fun and rewarding. Wins and losses aren't important at this stage. Having fun, giving great effort, and growing are important.
- Parking safety - Do not park along the side of the street next to field entrances/exits (gates). This creates a visual barrier that prevents passing cars from seeing kids that walk out between cars.
- Game time - Be on time, which means 15 minutes early so that the kids can warm up, get the giggles out, and the game can start and end on time.
- Arrival - Players should be turned over to their team and coaches asap. Parents should not linger on the field or in the designated player area. This is team time!
- Designated player area - This is the entire area between the two fields as well as the entire 10 ft buffer from all sidelines. Only players, coaches, designated team-parents, and referees are allowed in this area. All spectators including parents should be relaxing and cheering from "the bleachers". To be clear, parents should not be with the players and coaches during the game, nor coaching them from any sideline.
- Parent-"coaching" from the sideline - Cheer! Clap! Give high fives! Be positive, supportive, and encouraging! Cheer all you want, as long as it's positive. Do not be that parent that is coaching their kid from the sideline!!! It's not a good look for you and it's not helping them. Hearing instructions from parents during a game is confusing, not fun or effective. It creates negative pressure, distracts the kids, and deprives them of the opportunity to make decisions and learn from them. They want to have fun, they want to do well, and they want to impress you, so they know it and feel it when they make mistakes. Let your coaches and team parents do the coaching. This frees up parents to be the good guys.
- Referees - Under no circumstance should anyone yell at referees. Remember, they are often kids, and it's really awkward to watch grown adults yell angrily at kids.
- Negativity directed towards anyone will not be tolerated. We do all we can to create a safe and fun environment and we need you to do your part. Pass any issues up to a WSC board member immediately (look for WSC shirts or ask a coach or team parent for help finding us).
- Team snacks and drinks - We expect the parents to make this happen! No matter what happens in a game, this is a positive ending, and honestly, for some players this is the highlight!
- Player tunnel - This is a tradition that ensures every game ends on a positive note, and you keep the tradition alive! After the game, all parents make a tunnel on the sidelines or on the field for the kids to run through and shake hands.
- Facilities - HISD and other organizations graciously allows us to use their fields and they have policies that we must adhere to, else we lose access. No pets. No smoking. Take your trash with you.
- Gates are locked before and after games and practices. Coaches and team parents have the key or combination. After the last game, they need you to leave so that they can lock up.
- Inclement Weather - We try to make a call as early as possible, but sometimes mother nature doesn't cooperate and we have to abandon games in the middle or just before kickoff. Coaches and Team Parents will do their best to work with parents to reschedule. The club will announce rainouts using RainedOut, which is linked on the home page.
Game Format and Rules
- We do not keep score. Remember the 3 principles of our philosophy: Love of the game, dynamic and engaging training, effort over outcome. Coaches will define a "win" in other ways that are small accomplishments, like great hustle, counting dribbles, completing passes, a cool move.
- U8 - plays 4 vs 4, flex down to 3 vs 3.
- U6 - plays 3 vs 3, flex down to 2 vs 2.
- Depending on attendance and game dynamics, coaches will flex down to less players on the field, but never up to more players. We want lots of touches, movement, and fun! We'll occasionally reserve days for 2v2 games as a fun change of pace!
- Teams split up and play on 2 fields side by side simultaneously and the coaches, TMs and other helpers will manage both fields and the sideline.
- No goalies
- Time - 4 quarters, 10 minutes each, 5-ish minute breaks, and coaches have total discretion to flex based on what they see on the field.
- Referees - U8 has referees when available (coaches and TMs cover). U6 is refereed by the coaches and TMs, so they'll be out on the field.
- Substitution - There are no substitution limits. Players should play equal time if they are willing and able. This isn't an exact science, so we try to be reasonable.
- Stoppage - We try not to be overly aggressive at stopping for fouls or out of bounds at this age, especially for U6. Instead we nudge and guide to keep the game moving, but we'll pause for injuries, dangerous play or repeated disruptive fouls (hand balls) and use it as a teaching moment. Coaches and referees can stop play any time for a water break if needed.
- We're lenient. We want to let players play.
- Pass-ins and dribble-ins are both ok. That means no throw-ins. In the past we've left it up to coaches and it's led to confusion, frustration, and shockingly some sideline arguments, so we're going to make this easy. Per U.S. Soccer, these are valid restarts for this age, it simplifies the game, and is in line with the WSC training program.
- Kick-offs and corner kicks - Defensive players should be 10 feet away from the ball. After the offense starts play, the defense can pressure the ball.
- Goal kicks - Defensive players should be behind mid-field. After the offense starts play, the defense can pressure the ball.
- Fouls - Dribbling and passing are ok, and defensive players should be 10 ft back until the ball is played. Referees and coaches must use discretion. At this age, we want to be a bit lenient so that play isn't stopped too frequently, yet we want to use foul stoppages (e.g. blatant hand balls or rough play) as learning moments.
- Penalty kicks - There are no penalty kicks from the spot.
- Lightening followed by thunder within 30 seconds means the lightening is 6 miles away or closer and the game will stop for 30 minutes after the last occurrence. This is the recommendation by the National Weather Service and H.Y.S.A.