PDI U9 Update - Important changes to the program

Updated Friday August 31, 2018 by Jeff Knoll.

As many of you know, at the U9 age level (3rd grade), in addition to the weekly intramural program, the Plainview Old Bethpage Soccer Club participates in the Player Development Initiative (PDI) through LIJSL.  PDI is meant to be an introduction to travel soccer, which has historically begun at the U10 age (entering 4th grade) for our club.  PDI is travel-lite; there are 8 home and away games against other towns in our area.  There are LIJSL referees and scoring is kept.   Teams are formed based on ability level, as evaluated by division heads and coaches, and train as a team each week. 

There are only 2 main differences between PDI and full travel.  First, in travel soccer, standings are kept and each division has a winner at the end of the season.  There are no division standings in PDI.  Second, in travel soccer, with some rare exceptions, teams are set and locked for an entire season.  In PDI, players can move between teams within their club throughout the season, giving players a chance to play at different levels of competition as they continue to develop. 

This fall, LIJSL did not receive enough participation from other towns to support the PDI program.  We were informed of this well after our registration of 4 POBSC teams had been completed and we were given 2 options.  The first was to not participate in PDI or any other program and to only play intramural soccer at U9.  The second was to participate in LIJSL’s U9 Travel program.  After extensive discussion and consideration of players and parents who had committed to PDI through our club, we decided it was in the best interests of the players and their development to participate in travel soccer for the fall season for U9.

With that said, the Club is treating this U9 travel program exactly the same way we would if it were still called PDI.  We asked for, and received, approval from LIJSL to be able to move our players between teams as we would have for PDI.  The teams that the division heads and coach evaluations created are being kept to start the season.  This is how our PDI teams have been formed for the last few years.

Our four teams have been placed in LIJSL Travel divisions based on our description of their skill level.  These teams will likely win some big, lose some big but also have several very competitive matches.  This is an alignment issue for all first year travel teams. 

Below are some questions we believe you may ask based on this decision:

Q: What happened to PDI this year?

A: Participation from other towns was down dramatically from last year.  This was surprising because PDI had been widely considered a great success.  LIJSL is investigating further as to why so many towns opted to suddenly not participate.

Q: What is going to happen in the spring?

A: Right now, we do not know.  We will wait for further details from LIJSL as to what happened this fall causing participation to drop as well as their determination on what will happen to the program going forward.  We will also be closely monitoring the experience this U9 group has with the travel program.

Q: Are the teams that were formed this season going to be the same teams for travel at U10?

A: Absolutely Not.  Next year, for U10, this group will go through the regular tryout process that all travel teams have historically gone through.

Q: Does this mean travel is starting at U9 going forward within POBSC?

A: No.  Without further information from LIJSL and evaluation of the teams experience this season, we cannot know the path that will be taken going forward.  As the season progresses and we have time to gather more information from LIJSL, we will have more time to consider our options for next year

Q: Why didn’t you hold a tryout this year?

A: PDI teams were formed per standard procedure by Division Heads months ago.  When we were told that the PDI program would not take place this season, there was no time to hold a tryout before U9 travel teams had to be registered.

Q: If POBSC decides to play travel soccer at U9 next year, would there be a tryout for those teams, or would teams be formed based on coach rankings again.

A: IF we decided to begin travel at U9 next year, that decision would be made with enough time to hold a full tryout

We understand that this is a surprise to many of you as it was to us.  We can assure you that the full executive board will be monitoring these games closely throughout the season and will be transparent in our process once a decision for the future has been made.  We ask for your patience as we evaluate the situation we have been placed in to determine the best path forward, always with the development of our players being of the utmost importance

Any questions, please feel to reach out to us.


Thank you,

POBSC Executive Board