Grassroots Program

The successful Bay Oaks Grassroots Program is for U6-U8 players looking for even more high level soccer! This is the perfect program for kids who are currently chomping at the bit and for those ready to prepare for our U9 Competitive Bay Oaks play down the road. Bay Oaks Grassroots is ideal for many kids, including those who already enjoy the Jr Academies.

The more one does something, the more one can improve.  Grassroots adds more opportunities for our youngest players to play and train at a higher level.

The Bay Oaks Grassroots program is a parent-choice program without tryouts, open to all U6-U8 kids who really want to play more.

We expect more U8 players, but if your U6 player is up for it, (we have plenty of the younger players) that’s great!
Most Bay Oaks Grassroots players are born in 2009, but we have plenty that are younger (2010s) and allow a few older players (2007-2008s) when appropriate.

Overview

  • Trainings are 2 days a week with professional staff coaches. (Mon. and Fri.)
  • 6 Month Program (mid-March to mid-June and mid-August to mid-November)
  • Fast Footskills and Enhanced Motor Skills components.
  • Special guest coaches.
  • Games on Saturdays with consistent late afternoon times for schedule convenience.
  • Special periodic Play Dates with other clubs.
  • Year starts in Spring.
  • Summer Camp Now Included.

What does the program cost?

Fees are $925/year plus uniform cost. (The half-year cost is 60%)

How do I register?

Click to register for the Bay Oaks Grassroots Program.

Where are the games?

The Spring games will be at Raimondi Park, Oakland. The Fall games will be at Bushrod Park, Oakland.

When and where will the training sessions be held?

Spring training sessions Mondays, 4-5:30 at Raimondi and Fridays 4:30-6:00pm at Alameda Point.

The Fall training sessions are Mondays, 4:15-5:45 at Bushrod and Fridays 4:30-6:00 at Alameda Point.

What does the game day look like?

No change to the U8 4 v 4 set-up or rules.

But, Grassroots has an added layer of scheduling consistency (all games in the last afternoon slot each week). This provides easier scheduling for other family needs because the games are at the same time each Saturday, and better opponent flexibility for our special play dates.

Can my child still play with their rec team in the spring?

Yes, Grassroots players can also play with their Recreational team in the spring (when no schedule conflict.)

Who are the coaches?

The lead coaches for the program are Momi Assayag (with over 17 years experience coaching in the club), and Director of U6-U8 Programs Mark Grody, (over 15 years in the club). Our professional staff coaches all have tons of experience coaching this age group. Also, we will utilize players from our Jr Coaching Program as well as experienced parent coaches wishing to develop.

What will the training sessions look like?

Curriculum based, we use modern best practices including tons of ball touches, fun exercises and teaching games, and small sided games at the end of every practice. Throw in the warm-up with enhanced motor skills component and there you go! We warm-up together, then create distinct groups for blocks of time with the same coaches. (We adjust these training groups from time to time based on many factors, such as classmates, siblings, rapport with coach etc).

What are enhanced motor skills?

This is the running, jumping, rolling, etc that the modern kid seems to do less of than we did as kids. This component of our program is scientifically based on the work done by the leading developers of talent in Italy’s Serie A (the highest professional league in Italy). Being able to move one’s body more consistently and more efficiently at an early age provides for a strong motor skills base (good for all sports and just moving around in the world). For example, the growth spurts that throw everybody off are more quickly navigated with a stronger initial sense of one’s body in time/space. These segments of training are some of the most fun because the players get to use cones and gates and hoops while running and spinning etc. These motor skills are the base for all sports, not just soccer.

I’m worried that it might be too competitive too soon. Is this the case?

We don’t think so. We still play 4 v 4, which allows for more chances to touch the ball and make decisions. We still mandate that everybody plays. We still don’t keep score. We still don’t keep league tables. We still don’t have refs. We only adding a few potential local drives for play dates a year. “Too competitive” is subjective, but usually relates to focusing on game day scores and winning at all costs, rather than focusing on player development. Playing against and training with better players makes it more competitive in a good way, testing the players and allowing for quicker growth in a challenging and nurturing environment.

What’s the benefit of Street Soccer?

Some of the time, we allow the players to play without any coach intervention. This provides a safe place for the players to just PLAY! NO COACHING. NO FEAR. NO WORRY. Just an outlet for creative soccer and club building. At camp, mixing ages and genders allows for new experiences on the field. For the older players, it allows for more leadership roles to develop. For the younger players, it allows them to see what the next level looks like. For the girls and boys, it allows for them to play against a wider group of players and personalities. It is the perfect compliment to focused skill training.

What are Play Dates?

These are special inter-club game days. It’s a nice change of pace and it also provides nice competition. We usually participate in a few a year. Traveling a little is an exciting primer for future U9s and adds a little excitement to the year.

“Playing Up”?

This term describes players that play in an older age group than they would normally.

Any U6 player that can handle it (physically, emotionally) is welcome to join the Bay Oaks Grassroots Program. Just take extra care in the decision to try. For the youngest, I like to see them before you commit, and for the one’s that are ready, they do great in Grassroots.

Most U8 players are not ready for the jump to U9, even when they are very good. A huge difference at U9 is the number of players on the field in the Fall. Not only does that mean fewer ball touches for each player, it also is a big cognitive jump in terms of positioning and decision making with and without the ball. U9 also keeps score, has league tables, and requires more travel. All of which are fine, but there is usually no need to jump into it when one can enjoy the benefits of playing another year at U8.

 

Any Questions?

Mark Grody

Director U6-U8 Programs

East Bay United Soccer Club

AD_goalkeepers@eastbayunitedsoccer.org