DFC Dragons holds tryouts for our teams once per year, typically during the first two or three weeks of June, and in strict accordance with the rules set forth by the Massachusetts Premier League (MAPLE). Knowing that everybody has a bad day every once in a while, we try to hold at least two tryouts per team. We also incorporate player recommendations from coaches into the player selection process. Our goal is obviously to make the best decisions possible decisions and we pride ourselves on being extraordinarily fair and completely transparent. We see no place in youth sports for favoritism, social cliques, or, most of all, for politics in player selection. If pushed, we will always choose to err on the side of inclusion, but, that said, we think that it is absolutely essential that parents play a very active role in helping to find the most appropriate level of participation for their child, particularly at the younger age groups where we do not make cuts. This involves not only an objective assessment of skill level, but also passion, commitment, and both physical and psychological preparedness for this level of competition. Please remember that facing more challenging competition is not necessarily what is best for your child. In Duxbury, we sometimes fall into the trap of automatically defaulting to the highest level of everything. Throwing your child into the deep end of the club soccer pool before they are ready can actually have the effect of permanently turning them away from the sport and, more importantly, harming their self esteem.
As you most likely already know, we are the club soccer program of DYSA and therefore fall under the oversight of the Duxbury Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors. Hence, we tailor our program to dovetail with the rest of DYSA’s offerings with the ultimate goal being that collectively DYSA covers the full spectrum of our community’s youth soccer needs. How does DFC Dragons fit into this puzzle? Simply put, in the world of Duxbury soccer, DYSA’s wonderful in-town and travel programs are designed for everyone, including our DFC Dragons players (yes, if play for DFC, you should play for DYSA too), while the DFC Dragons program is strictly for those that want and are truly prepared for more soccer — more training, more competition, more intensity, and a much higher level of commitment. We expect our players to attend every practice and game (or have a legitimate excuse, of course), and to practice frequently on their own. If this doesn’t sound like an experience your child is ready for, then please not register him or her for DFC — there will always be another chance next year.
While we demand to be prioritized ahead of all other sports activities while your child is playing on a DFC Dragons team, we also actively encourage our players to play multiple sports — for their enjoyment and also for the benefit of their physical development. How do we reconcile these two opposing forces? We do something very unique in the world of club soccer — we structure our program around a seasonal commitment rather than an annual commitment. In other words, our players can choose to opt out after the fall season without financial penalty — we bill for fall, winter (futsal), and spring separately. Following the conclusion of the fall season, DFC players are given a choice of retaining their roster spot for the upcoming spring season or relinquishing the roster spot in order to play another sport or even try another club. We are a volunteer-run not-for-profit and we truly want what is best for our players and for the beautiful game of soccer in our community.
DFC Approach to Team Formation
Our approach to team formation is based around the concept of a “qualified player” — we do our best to find a roster spot for every player that we feel is qualified to play club-level youth soccer based on the results of the tryout and recommendations from coaches in our program. Obviously, there are a number of limiting factors including league-imposed roster limits as well as the availability of qualified coaches. Therefore, we are sometimes in the unfortunate position of wanting to offer a roster spot to a player and not being able to do so.
DFC U7/U8 Academy
We do not hold tryouts for the DFC U7/U8 Academy — this is a true academy experience full of lots of intense technical training and small-sided games with occasional informal friendlies against the academies of other area clubs. The DFC U7/U8 Academy is all about developing your young player and helping him or her to fall in love with the game of soccer. It is a much more intense experience than mini soccer, so please do not register your child if they are not ready.
DFC U9s and U10s
DFC does not make cuts at the U10 level or below. For the U9 and U10 age groups, we hold leveling sessions that enable us to form level or skill-balanced teams within each of these age groups. As stated above, we rely heavily on parents to make the right choice for their child regarding the appropriate level of soccer at this tender age. We will, however, approach parents when we feel their child is not prepared for the DFC program at this time.
DFC U11s and U12s
This is the age group at which DFC starts to hold tryouts as opposed to leveling sessions. Again, we try to take an inclusive approach and rely heavily on the concept of a qualified player in making our decisions. Nonetheless, we are typically oversubscribed at these age groups and so parents should prepare children for the very real possibility that they will not be selected for a team. Additionally, when we have enough qualified players to form more than one team within the U11 or U12 age groups, we will form level or skill-balanced teams in order to ensure that each player has the opportunity to play on a competitive team.
DFC U13s and U14s
We use the concept of a qualified player here again in guiding our player selections and the unfortunate business of making players cuts is a reality at the U13 and U14 age groups, so parents should most certainly prepare children for the possibility that they will not be selected for a team. Once again, when we have enough qualified players to form more than one team within the U13 or U14 age groups, we will form level or skill-balanced teams in order to ensure that each player has the opportunity to play on a competitive team.