Please note how to read the above chart: the age groups being grouped together on the chart (1st - 2nd grade for example) does not mean that 1st graders will necessarily always be playing with 2nd graders, but that they use the same rules (4v4, size 3 or 4 ball) and follow the same schedule (sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays, games on Fridays).
GESC Recreational and Developmental Soccer Model
For Pre-K through 5th Grade
The GESC Recreational soccer and all of its divisions are an introduction to the beautiful game of soccer and are designed to maximize your child’s enjoyment and development within the sport. There are so many life lessons that kids can get from playing soccer, but if they do not enjoy the sport they will not want to continue playing and can miss out on many of them.
GESC Rec Soccer provides a fun and safe soccer experience for players of all skill levels (beginner to advanced), and is offered for Pre-K through 5th grade. No tryouts are required and all levels are welcome.
Developing Skilled and Creative Players
There are no shortcuts to player development. Success requires a long-term approach and commitment and player success is directly correlated with the player environment a youth athlete is exposed to.
GESC provides it’s recreational players a fun, safe, and developmentally-appropriate learning environment where our program director and assistant director create practice lesson plans and assist and encourage volunteer coaches.
Our Street Soccer sessions are designed to place players in a "pick-up game" format and let the players navigate how to best play the game of soccer.
The GESC Recreational model encompasses both formal and creative learning methods to accomplish these goals. Our Recreational Program is designed to help the growth and development of young players both socially and technically so they are prepared to advance within the game at the level they desire.
Soccer is also a game where the players are the ones making the decisions during the game, so it is reflected during training that we ask them and guide them to their own solutions.
AGE GROUPS, TEAMS, AND DIVISIONS
Age groups are done by the school grade that your player entered starting in Fall 2022.
For Pre-K - K
Early Development Phase
For 1st through 5th grade
We have found that kids enjoy playing with a friend. While we feel that soccer is a great avenue for kids to make new friends, we are going to try to accomplish this by grouping kids in our Rec program by what grade they are in and what school they attend as much as possible.
Note that the competitive programs will still be organized by your player’s birth year as mandated by US Soccer, but we do have flexibility on how we group kids in our Rec program to maximize their enjoyment. If this is ever not doable we may have to combine ages and genders to make more even teams in the spirit of more varied and better competition, but our goal is, if there are enough numbers to do so and still provide adequate competition, to have the Rec teams set by grade, school, and gender.
For any questions or inquiries please contact:
REGISTRATION BASICS, PRICES, AND KEY DATES
How To Register
Click the link at the top or bottom of this page or click here to register. If you have not registered before you will first need to make an account for your player(s). All programs available based on their age will show up.
Early Bird Pricing (up through Feb. 18th) - $80
Regular Rec Program Pricing (after Feb. 18th) - $95
Note: If you sign up after April 1st we will do our best to place your player on a team but we may not be able to guarantee them a spot on a team.
For Financial Aid and Scholarship information see here.
Uniforms are approximately $15 and purchased through Play it Again Sports in Bozeman. For more info click here.
Rec games will be on Friday afternoons/evenings starting September 16th. Weather permitting, there will be 6 weeks of rec games on: 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, and 6/2 (note: no games or training over Memorial Day weekend).
Our goal is to release the initial Rec team rosters and game schedules by April 7th.
Training for all teams is scheduled to start the week of April 10th.
For more info on training session dates and times, please see the chart above.
HOW DO WE DEVELOP FUTURE SOCCER PLAYERS?
The fact is that kids do not play in the same way that adults do. We have yet to see a group of 5 or even 7 year old kids - without serious adult intervention - go out on a soccer field and organize themselves into a set formation with set positions playing 11 players vs. 11 other players and then play a game. If you put a child out on the field with goals and a soccer ball what is the first thing they want to do? Score goals!
As a result, and this is backed by a lot of research from the current best European soccer nations and others around the world on what is the best way to develop a kids’ love for and skill in soccer, we play with smaller numbers on the field. This gives kids more chances to do what they want: score goals.
As the kids get older and they start to understand bigger concepts, we will slowly integrate and add more players on the field. The more kids score goals the more they will enjoy soccer and the more they will want to play. The more they want to play the more they will play and the better they will get. Specific positional and tactical roles can come later.
For more on specific tactical roles see our Elite Juniors Academy program and our Elite Competitive program. The U9/10 age group (starting with 2014/2015 birth year players for Fall 2023) is the traditional year where players can choose to stay in the recreational program or choose to move into our Elite Juniors Academy and strive to reach the highest level of play, but before they get there our goal is to first get them to learn to love soccer and to love playing with a soccer ball.
Focus On Fundamental Skills
The GESC Rec program also focuses on individual skill development, on building confidence in players, and on maximizing player creativity by allowing kids to learn the game gradually in a fun, engaging environment. Our goal is to have the players to feel comfortable and confident with a ball at their feet. Our provided training sessions, therefore introduce proper ball-handling basics and techniques through a series of age-appropriate activities that advance progressively. GESC players will be asked to use all parts and both of their feet to handle the ball.
By focusing on mastering the basics, GESC players will develop a confident first touch on the ball and progress to more advanced techniques as they get older. With a strong fundamental foundation, players will improve their chances of becoming excellent decision-makers with the ball and how to maintain poise when under pressure.
Focus on Creativity
GESC also believes in the huge benefits that come with playing in a semi-informal and unstructured play format, as they do in Central and South America and in Europe. By introducing "street soccer" once a week to our 1st-5th-grade recreational soccer players, this format will keep the games fresh, competitive, and engaging for the players. By breaking the overly structured model, players will have the opportunity to match up with players whose abilities technically and/or physically mirror their own.
Unlike traditional weekend games where players are assigned to a specific team, our staff will have the ability to manipulate the street soccer games to put players in realistic situations, where they will have to rely on their individual technical skills, decision making, and creativity in order to make an impact. This type of environment is not only fun and very beneficial developmentally, but it will also be used for player identification purposes. The intention with the street soccer days is to allow the players to learn from the game. We want to see players solve problems, make decisions, and learn from making mistakes all with minimal coaching.
Other Important Notes and Details
Mini Dribblers for Players Aged 3-5
For those aged 3-5, we also have the Mini Dribblers available for those interested in less commitment. Mini Dribblers is a looser introduction to soccer with no set teams and plenty of fun games and is only one day a week for 4 weeks while rec places players on teams and has games with those teams over the course of 6-8 weeks.
Volunteer Coaches Needed
The Elite Rec Program is a community-based program and would not be able to function without your help. Please note that all Pre-K through 5th-grade teams will need coach for Monday practices and Friday game days.
If you are interested in coaching, please contact our Club Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coaches will need to attend a brief meeting at the beginning of the season outlining the expectations of a coach and should be willing and able to pass a background check.
Location of Rec Games, Training Sessions, and Street Soccer Sessions
All games, training and street-soccer sessions are overseen by GESC staff are currently planned to be held at the Bronken soccer fields on the Northwest side of Bozeman. As the season gets closer more information will be sent out regarding this as well as a reminder on training session times (see the chart near the top of the page).
Note - all of the times and dates herein are subject to change depending on weather and field availability.
For more info or for any inquiries, contact: email@example.com