One of the goals of the LSA Board in 2017 was to build a more comprehensive approach to growing the game of soccer, promoting player safety and creating success for both middle school and LSA's high level academy and select players. As a result, we chartered a study committee to develop new policy guidelines for our players and parents who want to pursue middle school soccer team play while also continuing to play for LSA club teams. This committee came about after seeing the damaging effects of physical exhaustion and overuse injuries that uniquely affect girls and boys in the middle school years.
In order to build a collaborative policy, LSA sought feedback from middle school soccer coaches on a policy that addresses how much playing time is appropriate and safe for our players. LSA understands there are advantages in playing for both LSA and our area schools. We always seek first to work together in creating a policy that places our young players’ best safety interests first.
As a result of the feedback from parents and coaches, the Board of LSA recommends that parents and players set a cap of 12 physical hours of total soccer played per week for our players with a priority placed on game time with their LSA and middle school teams and then LSA practices where players receive professional coaching and training.
This will require our parents, players and coaches to collaboratively work together on tracking playing time. We encourage all to maintain an open line of communication in order to best utilize each players' hours. An example would be that a player does not physically practice for one team on the same day as he/she plays a game for the other.
That is just one example but our hope is that this policy recommendation to our parents/players leads to greater player safety. We hope to see a decrease in injuries for this group of middle school players who are also experiencing the most rapid physical growth.
The LSA board plans to review the impact of this policy after the upcoming 2018 season.