Summer Soccer

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Summer Soccer

Postby Truth as i see it » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:51 pm

I was having a chat with a guy today who is heavily involved with League of Ireland at under age level and he was telling me about all of the plans that the FAI will be implementing over the next few years.

As i understand it the balance of power at schoolboy level will be shifted from the traditional Dublin Schoolboy clubs to the league of Ireland clubs with national leagues already in place at U-17s and U-19s level with plans to implement an U-15s and U-13s national league further down the road

Also planned is the shift from winter to summer soccer

Now i do like my soccer and i'm delighted to see improvements being made to improve the quality of soccer in the country but i do worry as a gaa fan that soccer could be stealing a march on gaa here

The GAA has never had a properly organised domestic soccer league to compete with at underage level before (especially during the summer months) and i do worry that if the current trend of big counties like Dublin, Kerry, Donegal ect continue to dominate the landscape it could turn youngsters in small counties like Offaly away from GAA

Any thoughts on this?
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Re: Summer Soccer

Postby Truth as i see it » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:10 pm

Ok so no one has opinion on how summer soccer at underage level could effect the GAA in the county, nice to know peoples thoughts on what could be a serious issue for the county down the road, grand i'll just finish up this thread then shall i?
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Re: Summer Soccer

Postby jimbob17 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:01 pm

I can see it being a problem to a degree but it depends on when and how the soccer implement this summer soccer. Is it just the elite level u13 u15 u17 leagues that is moving to summer soccer or is it all local leagues? Also, who are the elite teams close to Offaly. I assume Athlone town will be one and they will recruit talented Offaly lads. However, would Tullamore have an elite team? They had a team in eircom u19 national league there a few years ago. Lads will always go for the elite soccer at a young age as there is a bit of a carrot there - similar to the rugby. However, most lean back towards the GAA once they realise at 16 or 17 that they are not good enough to go across the water.

That said, this elite level wouldnt concern me so much. It was always there with young lads often going to Dublin or Athlone at young age to play elite level soccer. What would be more of concern is if the smaller clubs go with summer soccer. If this happens, then we have a problem. The great thing about rugby and soccer for lads is that they know they have a game every week - lads know where they stand. Until the GAA fix this then they are going to have problems.

However, such a move might finally force us to start putting things right in our coaching etc. If we are competing for players and we are not doing things right, we will lose players to other codes. However, if we are the ones that treat the young lads better and have better structures, lads will choose GAA over other codes.
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Re: Summer Soccer

Postby Bord na Mona man » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:39 pm

Truth as i see it wrote:Ok so no one has opinion on how summer soccer at underage level could effect the GAA in the county, nice to know peoples thoughts on what could be a serious issue for the county down the road, grand i'll just finish up this thread then shall i?

You hardly expected a flood of responses on a Bank Holiday weekend when most of us are at mass doing the stations of the cross!
It's hard to tell what the impact will be. I think the GAA can't be complacent about holding young player's interest over the summer if there are so few matches getting played.
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Re: Summer Soccer

Postby Lone Shark » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:52 am

As things stand, it's hard to tell what the impact of this change might be - but certainly there is an awareness of the situation there.

From a personal standpoint, I'm not sure that the fixtures mess that we have in place will be an issue here. The lads who get shafted by the current fixtures situation aren't the "elite" guys who get named on every team they are eligible for - these guys have more than enough games. Since any National Soccer League will by definition be for elite players (chances are there might be only ten or twelve teams at each age group outside of Dublin at most, which is one team for Westmeath, Laois, Longford and Offaly combined at best).

If you're that good at soccer, chances are you're also a decent footballer or hurler, so you wouldn't be idle as a matter of habit during the key summer months. Only those who would naturally make soccer their first choice will go with this, since the sad truth of the matter is that if you're going to make a living from the sport, you're probably already in England by your early teens.


That's not to say that the fixtures situation as it exists is tenable - I don't believe it is. In GAA generally, and in Offaly more so than most, we have an obsession with how games only matter if they are "championship". What that means in effect is that no game will get played unless everyone's available, so the guy who just plays under-16 hurling (for example) has to stand by until there's a slot where all his colleagues that are playing Fr Manning Cup, Arrabawn hurling, club minor hurling, club minor football, club U-14 hurling, and so on, are all available. Until we start doing more for the player that doesn't play for five or six teams, we're going to have a fixtures mess. However I don't think this guy is the guy that's going to end up playing in a National Summer soccer league.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Summer Soccer

Postby azoffaly » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:54 pm

Lads, I think will be an issue, and it is not just elite players. In Tipperary, and Limerick, all schoolboys soccer is moving from a Sept-May calendar to a March-October kind of calendar. This is all ages down to the equivalent of our U6s and U8s.

Now, I don't think there's any reason for fallout over it, as in most places the clubs have the same people involved, and it only requires a bit of common sense to agree a training and match date for both codes. Example, down here our U10 soccer lads train on a Wednesday and Play on a Saturday. Our hurlers/footballers Train and/or play on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings.

Where it will become an issue is the blasé attitude towards match fixtures at older age groups. We (or the FAI) can't go scheduling club matches willy nilly. There should be no (or very limited) moving around of matches or postponements, because there just won't be scope for it. If we think of U16 for example, a strong U14 lad is going to be on his club U16 team, and depending on the size of the club, maybe not even that 'strong' an U14. So U14 matches will have to be set for a given night, say Wednesday, and U16 Matches would normally be on a Monday say. That means the other 5 days will need to cater for training for U14, U16, and now potentially a soccer training and match as well.

I'm not so sure summer soccer is going to be a great idea from the welfare side of things, and because there are 2 different codes, it may require an LTAD initiative co-authored by FAI and GAA to guide the clubs around the country.

From the soccer point of view I can see the sense in it, in terms of aligning with their flagship league, as well as giving better weather etc for their games. But we need (as a sporting community) to be very careful and cognisant of the practicalities here.
Shane Gavin. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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