Dear Mercer Island FC parents and players,
Mercer Island FC (MIFC) has been our community soccer club for over 50 years. We have nearly 1000 players participating on over 100 Micro and Recreational teams and 300 players on 20 Select teams. Currently, 20 of our Select and Juniors teams are participating in post-season tournaments sponsored by the Washington State Youth Soccer Association. MIFC can boast of state champions in various age groups in recent years as well as multiple other finalists and semi-finalists,
As we swing from winter towards spring, a number of exciting things are in the works. Our MIFC Juniors program is proving to be even more popular than we had anticipated. Our very popular Winter Sharpness and Parent Camp program at the high school stadium runs through the end of February. Registration is currently open for our Spring MIFC Juniors program. We have begun planning for NPSL Spring Season for our Select teams and our Spring Player Development program starting in March targeted at the younger player who wants to work on their skills and prepares players for Select tryouts later in the spring. As you can imagine, this amount of activity requires a great deal of organization and volunteer effort. Our Board of Directors is highly enthusiastic and motivated to make this another fantastic year.
One of the questions we get is "what makes MIFC unique?" My response is our focus on "Developmental Soccer". Helping families and coaches understand "Developmental Soccer" is a major goal for the Club the next few years, so expect to hear more about it. There are numerous authoritative sources of guidance for this developmental emphasis (e.g. US Soccer Federation, US Women's National Team program), and these sources are very consistent - Align what's emphasized to players in practices and games with what is developmentally appropriate for their age. Specifically, for players younger than 13, coaches and parents need to:
· Provide positive reinforcement for mastery of individual skills, experimentation on the field, and experience playing all positions (yes, including goalkeeper)
· Help their child fall in love with the game no matter the level of play
· Avoid adding pressure to win - players are plenty competitive without any adult input. This is not to say that players shouldn't receive guidance on what it takes to win - but it takes very little parental or coach pressure to push the fun out of the game for many players.
Over the years the club has had a hand in developing some of the best talent in the state which is quite impressive for a club our size. The current UW Men’s team boasts two starters that got their start at MIFC – Lucas Meek and Freddy Kleemann. We have had several college players, ODP and EDP players, and if you go just a bit further back Jordan Morris (2012 Washington State Gatorade Player of the year) now playing for the Seattle Sounders and the US National Men’s team started his soccer career on Mercer Island.
MIFC is able to attract some of the best coaching talent in the state. Our coaches are extremely enthusiastic and passionate about the game of soccer. We are the envy of the other area clubs as none of them has a similar group dedicated to their club. From the Micro-soccer clinics, the Recreational player and coach training sessions, to the coaches for our Select and Juniors teams - our coaches do a fantastic job.
The Club's programmatic offerings change year to year based on the interest shown in different programs. Program descriptions are provided under the "Programs" tab on our website. Some of our programs and emphasis this year include:
· Our continued focus on coach training and support, especially for coaches at ages U8- U11
· Spring Training clinics this spring
· Fall Skills Camp
· Winter Sharpness
· A closer alignment with the MI High School coaches and teams to see some great soccer and to help young players understand what it takes to play at the high school level.
In closing, I'd like to remind you that we also utilize many volunteers, from referees, to coaches and board members. If you would like to help out please let us know. We are always looking for more of us to help the kids enjoy and appreciate soccer and everyone has a skill that would help. I would like to express my deep appreciation for all the kids who make our club great. Also, to the parents, volunteers and staff who make this all possible. Soccer is a fantastic sport. It is healthy and fun. It teaches teamwork, decision making and sportsmanship. If we can pass on these skills to our children, we have all succeeded.
Greg Snyder, President
Mercer Island FC