Message from Far Post on New England Premiership (NEP)
In response to recent news that some competing local clubs plan to leave the VSA (Vermont Soccer Association) and join the NEP (New England Premiership) beginning with the 2017/18 season, Far Post wanted to make our position known.
Far Post will not be joining the NEP. We will continue to focus on developing the best soccer players in Vermont and innovate as necessary to provide our players the best competitive opportunities. Past experiences in similar leagues have led us to be certain this opportunity is not in the best interest of our players. Here’s why.
Far Post has had a long history of participating in various regional leagues. This is what we learned:
The competition was decent, but it also varied with some teams being no different from what we could experience closer to home.
These games required a lot of travel and the associated expenses that come with it.
As teams got older, the distances we travelled grew, ie the New York City and Long Island areas.
The schedule required us to travel at least 4 weekends or more in the early spring, which took kids away from other activities and family time. All games were away.
The schedule for these games always put us at a distinct disadvantage since most games were early March, and we had little to no opportunity to adequately prepare for these leagues.
Our players spent more time in the car on the weekends than they did training or playing.
Taking all of this into consideration, we felt we could get the same competition and fewer weekends away by playing more competitive tournaments. Plus, tournaments are far better team-building events.
When I look back on my experience with various regional leagues, what have I learned? I have talked with top clubs in Holland and England about how they manage the balance between “quality matches” and the challenge of “being away.” In every discussion, here are the key elements they have outlined:
Keep travel limited. Place greater emphasis on training rather than games. Make sure the competitive outlet is enjoyable with quality teaching moments
We must up our game to offer more competitive outlets for our players. We have worked hard to offer more training opportunities for kids as well as providing quality games. We will continue to build off what we believe to be one of the best training curriculums and training formats possible.
As it relates to games: our indoor Futsal leagues are the most competitive around. We will continue to participate in the most competitive tournaments throughout the year and build our network with Canadian and New York clubs to get more Region 1/NEP level friendly opportunities.
It’s unfortunate that we may not have a VSL game or two against some teams we are used to playing next spring, but that doesn’t mean we cannot still play them in a variety of different formats. While we wish others the best in their pursuits, we will not be following them southward. Our emphasis will remain on making our players better in balance and helping ensure they get the most out of their playing experience.