How to know if our team is ready for Silver Elite/Gold/Premier?
Where we reference Silver Elite teams, this also applies to Gold and Premier teams.
Apologies about spouting cliches, but they apply. Coaches and parents should be aware of the experience of other teams. The history of teams moving to Silver Elite has been very consistent. If your team is not ready to play Silver Elite, your team will have a terrible season - losing almost all its games. At the end of the season, it is highly likely your team will disband, because the players and parents will have been exposed to better teams and will seek those teams out.
If your team does not meet all of the typical indicators below, it is highly predictable that your team will not last more than 1 or 2 seasons in Silver Elite (or higher).
The typical indicators of a good Silver Elite team are that it:
- can beat Bronze/Silver teams that are a year older
- can beat existing Silver teams at its age level
- can beat Silver teams in its own age group by significant scores, e.g. 4-5 goal differential
- in Silver league play, has a significant GF and GA differential (e.g. 48 GF and 10 GA)
- plays soccer year-round
- plays 4-6 tournaments or 40-80 games per year
- has at least 6-7 players of Silver Elite caliber
- has 2 or more ODP-level players (to be a competitive, successful Silver Elite or higher team)
- has a well-organized team manager
- has a core of kids and parents who like each other
Silver Elite teams can expect to travel further for their matches and their tournaments. Silver Elite teams routinely travel to Morgan Hill for their local matches and play in Turlock, Modesto, Sacramento, and Southern California for tournaments.
To remain competitive, Silver Elite teams must constantly seek stronger players and release their weaker players. For competitive Silver Elite teams, friendships and loyalty can become secondary.
This article is opinion, and other soccer volunteers and parents may have a different set of indicators if a team is ready to go Silver Elite. This article was based on the experience of MJ Lee, a long time District 2 soccer volunteer and was first published in 1998. This article was updated in 2007 by John Shield, who helped run the Redwood League, Delgado League and CCSL Coast League from 2007 through 2012. Terminology was changed in 2012 to recognize the discontinuance of the Class 1 and Class 3 division designations.