Bay Oaks Soccer Club
Re: Class 1 or Class 3 Soccer?
Can anyone tell me what playing for Bay Oaks soccer is like? I have a U9 player. I don't want him to lose his joy in soccer if it is too grueling or competitive among the team members. The training seems great, but I want to be realistic about my own limits--is it all weekend, every weekend? I am wondering if we are better off only trying out for Class 3 soccer. (Sting in Rockridge, in our case, any comments about Sting are also appreciated). Thank you! anon
Hi - I have 2 kids who play for Bay Oaks now after playing rec soccer. My kids LOVE to play soccer and that love has been increased by playing at the higher level and with trained coaches with lots of coaching experience. I have found that for kids that are very skilled, playing at the higher level is more satisfying for them because they get better faster, they're playing with more skilled kids and they're playing against other really skilled kids.
In terms of the practice time commitment, from what I know from all my friends with kids in the class III programs is that it's exactly the same. In Bay Oaks our kids have 2 practices per week (U9 and U11) which is the same as the Sting teams. I'm less sure about the number of games/weekend average for Sting, but for BO we usually play 1 or 2 games per weekend (pretty evenly split). The difference is that the 'away' BO games are very much away - in places like Concord, Fremont, Pleasenton, Manteca, Sacramento, Burlingame, etc. I don't think the class III teams go that far. So we carpool and work it out.
BO at the younger ages plays the fall season from mid-August through mid-December. There's a break in games and practices over the winter until the next try-out in February, although many teams do futsal or Bladium 1x per week but it's pretty casual. In the spring they go back into 2x per week practices and about 1 game per weekend from March - end of May. June and July are off. As the kids get older the schedules shift in the calendar.
What I've heard from parents with experience with both class III and Bay Oaks is that the coaching is the real difference between the two. The BO coaches are really really good - many have years and years of coaching experience, and the club works with them all on a monthly basis to make sure everyone is coaching to the same set of development-focused standards (as opposed to win-at-all-costs coaching which you see in other class I clubs). Better coaching means more skilled soccer players and a more developed sense of the game.
Yes, we spend most every weekend from August to December going to soccer games (I think we've had 2 entirely soccer-free weekends so far this fall) but the kids love it and love their teams and coaches. I would suggest your child try out for both Bay Oaks and a class III team and see what happens.
I have 3 kids who play Bay Oaks and none of them have missed a single school event ever and have missed maybe a total of 4 birthdays over the last 2 years. It's really up to the parents and the child to choose if a school event should come before soccer. The coaches our kids have had with Bay Oaks have never said a word to us when we've chosen to put some other event over soccer. Birthday parties - well, I generally leave that decision up to my kids and they usually decide to play with the team, but the important thing is that it is the child's choice. Again, it's about the parents deciding the priorities.
It is not a year-round league. There are 2 month breaks in the winter and summer. In the winter many kids play soccer once/week but it's very casual. In the summer the kids don't have to do anything at all. Our kids swim, cycle and play tennis when they're not playing soccer, and I know other BO kids who do martial arts, theater, dance and a whole bunch of other physical activities. So doing BO at U9 is not necessarily specializing unless you choose to.
For the pre-teen age groups, the kids only practice twice a week. Our son's team added a 3rd conditioning practice for 6 weeks right in the beginning of the fall season (August - Sept) and our daughter's team added 4 weeks of Sutton Soccer at that same time of year. The rest of the fall practices were only 2x per week and the same in the spring. Once the kids' bodies are more developed, many teams have a 3rd practice that's either conditioning only or Sutton. Conditioning can be running/sprinting or swimming.
The Bay Oaks coaches want the kids to be physically and socially well-balanced, healthy and love soccer. Anon.