River Oaks Soccer Club

Celebrating 33 Years of Player Development

TRYOUTS for the 2015 / 2016 Season:  All tryout information for the upcoming
2015 / 2016 season can be found by clicking this
We are also posting Coach announcements below, scroll down for details

Latest News

River Oaks SC to become part of the MIDWEST UNITED Family!
​Beginning with the 2015 / 2016 season, ROSC will formally become a part of the newly established “Midwest United FC” soccer club. 

Below please find a copy of the letter that is in distribution to all current River Oaks SC families as well as further details on this exciting club merger.

All questions can be directed to riveroakssc@gmail.com,  directly to Juan Mendez at 269-203-5281 / juanm@bcnjgroup.com or Chris Yapp at 269-363-5589 / cyapp22@hotmail.com
COACHING Announcements for the upcoming 2015 / 2016 season!
​We will post updates throughout the week, both here & our Facebook page,  announcing our coaches for the 2015 / 2016 season.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch:  riveroakssc@gmail.com


ANNOUNCEMENT:  We are pleased to announce Branden Ruelas will be leading the U11 Girls with Midwest United, at the RIver Oaks site for the 2015 / 2016 season.  Branden has the U10's on a great path right now, and we're excited to have him back for another year!


ANNOUNCEMENT:  We are pleased to announce Juan Mendez will be leading the U7 / U8 Academy Program with Midwest United, at the River Oaks / Gull Lake site for the 2015 / 2016 season!  Juan is a highly experienced coach, having led multiple teams with River Oaks SC.  Juan currently serves as the President of the board for ROSC and will likely assume a support role within the newly structured Midwest United FC merger.  Juan also holds a USSF National D license.


ANNOUNCEMENT:  We are pleased to announce that Curt Wank and Matt Hanna will be returning this fall to coach the U10 Girls with Midwest United, at the River Oaks park site!  Curt and Matt have done a really nice job with the U9 girls this season, the development of this team has been very evident.  Thanks for everything you've done with these girls guys!


ANNOUNCEMENT:  We are pleased to announce that Chris Yapp will be returning this fall to coach the U9 & U12 Girls with Midwest United, at the River Oaks park site!  This will be Chris' 5th year coaching  and 2nd tour of duty coaching at the U9 girls level. Chris holds a USSF E license and will begin his USSF D license in July. Coach Yapp is excited to continue developing the U12's & start again with a whole new crop of aspiring U9's!!

Joining Chris to coach the U9's is Rob Alban.  Rob has coached the U9's previously with ROSC and is excited to take on this new challenge with Midwest United.  Thanks Rob!

Joining Chris to coach the U12's is Julie Foster.  This is Julie's 4th year coaching with the Club, and she brings a ton of enthusiasm and experience to the table.  Thanks Julie!


ANNOUNCEMENT:  River Oaks SC is excited to announce that Ken Fouts will be returning for the 2015 / 2016 season as the coach of the U10 Boys, with Midwest United at the River Oaks park site.  Ken has been a board member and Director of Coaching with the Club for many years, and has done a remarkable job with the U9 boys this season.  Ken holds a USSF D license and the NSCAA National Diploma.  Thank you Ken for what you continue to do for this Club and for these kids!!


TRYOUTS for the 2015 / 2016 will be held June 15th and 16th
Mark your calendars for June 15th and 16th.  Tryouts will be held at the River Oaks park in Galesburg.
Registration opens at 5:30 and tryouts will start at 6:00 sharp.  See below for details on age groups.


Levels of Play available to youth soccer players in Michigan 
Understanding the various levels of play available to the youth soccer player as they advance can be daunting.  Below is a nice graphic to help explain things, and a more in-depth explanation can be found by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page.


GOOD LUCK to all of our ROSC teams as they begin preparations for another great spring!! 
Another spring, and another season of soccer is upon us.  Good luck to all of our ROSC teams as they refine their touch and prepare tactically for their upcoming league matches and tournament play.  As always, work hard, have fun.....and let's remember to keep the kids, not the parents and coaches, at the center of of this great sport!!  Here's a fun video, enjoy!


Spring ACADEMY is almost here!
Spring is in the air - which means it's almost time to return to the pitch and get back to learning and playing the beautiful game of soccer for our U8 Academy players.  With 37 players now enrolled for the Spring, ROSC is proud to have the largest Academy program sponsored by WMYSA.  

First practice is Wednesday April 15th at 6:00 p.m, Gull Lake School campus.  First Jamboree is set for April 22nd at the Kalamazoo Soccer Complex.

All Academy parents should have received a detailed email with full schedule - if you have not, please email Chris Yapp directly:  cyapp22@hotmail.com


SPRING is on the horizon.....ROSC Soccer is just around the corner!!
​As we wind down our Futsal and indoor soccer sessions - - the promise of warmer weather and returing to soccer on real grass is just ahead of us.  As we gear up for the spring, here's a nice article from US Youth Soccer on how to measure success with the youth player, and how Boys and Girls view competition and practice differently at the youth ages.  

Having a view to what motivates Boys and Girls to participate in youth soccer can provide a roadmap for how to encourage your player and keep them on track....and most importantly, it will provide perspective on how to keep the game fun for these aspiring soccer stars.

Click HERE ​​to read more


Winter FUTSAL training is back for River Oaks SC!
ROSC FUTSAL is back for the second year, starting in January.  FUTSAL is a great winter training option to keep the technical skills sharp, focusing on a quality 1st touch, off the ball movement, passing and shooting.

FUTSAL sessions will begin the second Saturday of January (10th).  Please contact your head coach to confirm details on time slots for your team, but below is the preliminary schedule.  Location:  Haven Church, Sprinkle Road.

10:45  U11 Girls & U12 Boys
11:45  U8 Academy & U9 Girls
12:45  U9 Boys & U10 Girls


Food for Thought:  Giving the Game of Soccer Back to the Kids.....
Nice interview with John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project.  Really good food for thought on the role of soccer for young kids, and importantly how the role & participation of parents has changed over time.   

Inverview with John O'Sullivan discussing Changing the Game
Changing the Game Project 


ROSC wraps up a Great fall U8 Academy season!
River Oaks SC wrapped up the fall Academy season on Sunday following their Jamboree in St. Joe.  The Club has 32 kids enrolled in the U8 Academy program, which is the largest WMYSA sponsored Academy program in SW Michigan!  29 of the 32 are technically U7's and really showed tremendous progress throughout the fall with their touch and confidence on the ball.  Nice job group!!!  (pic is a small sampling of the kids participating this year with ROSC).


River Oaks U11's kick off the ODP 101 season at Kalamazoo College
It was a great night at Kalamazoo College with over 40 kids participating in the ODP 101 Kalamazoo region training session.  Seven ROSC U11's are enrolled in the program and looked good working 1v1 moves and feints.  We are very fortunate to have a local ODP site this year and are proud of these girls for pushing their soccer development to the next level.


Strong showing for the U11 Girls at the Grand Rapids Crew Cup
The U11 Girls traveled to GR recently to compete in the GR Crew Cup and prepare for the season.  With 5 new players joining the roster, expanded fields and offsides the girls quickly acclimated and competed at a very high level for the entire weekend with great intensity & creativity all weekend.  This is a crew that has been working together now for 3 years and the progress is becoming more and more evident each week.  Well done ladies!


And that's a wrap!  Another great summer camp is in the books....
Great weather, and great work from our ROSC campers!  Thanks again to the Gull Lake HS players for their leadership this week, the kids really look up to you and feed off of your inspiration and passion for the game.  Enjoy your summer!
2nd Annual River Oaks SC soccer camp is around the corner!
The Club will host our 2nd annual soccer camp exclusive to ROSC players on July 15th, 16th and 17th.  The camp will be held from 6:00-8:00 each evening at our fields in Galesburg.  Cost is $50 and includes an ROSC t-shirt.  Registration will be taken at the Club meeting on June 26th, or please send an email directly to riveroakssc@gmail.com to register your player.


CONGRATULATIONS to the U12 Blue girls for winning the Petoskey Tournament this past weekend!!
Thanks for the strong representation  in Petoskey ladies, and well done on also winning the A division this spring.  


REMINDER:  Tryout dates are quickly approaching

REMINDER:  Tryouts are scheduled for June 16th and 17th at our home fields in Galesburg (River Oaks County Park).  Registration begins at 5:30, tryouts will begin at 6:00 and conclude at 8:00.   U9, U11 and U13 boys and girls will be held on the 16th, with U10, U12 and U14's on the 17th.  Scroll down below for the full tryout flier and details:

What to bring / wear:

Please have your player wear shinguards and cleats.  Bring plenty of water, and dress appropriately for the weather.  Simple t-shirts and soccer shorts are preferred.  No jewlery or earrings of any kind.

Can parents stay and watch?

Parents are of course welcome to stay for the duration, however the actual tryout will be held away from spectators to allow for limited distraction.

What will be expected during tryouts?  What will the coaches be looking for?

#1, ROSC is looking for players and parents committed to learning the technical and tactical aspects of the game, and as such are willing to play and practice with focus and determination.  All players regardless of their experience level should share a common enthusiasm for the sport and commitment to learning the game, taking instruction and playing with effort and passion.

During tryouts we will be looking for typical technical competencies, such as an ability to control the ball and play off of a sound first touch, ability to play in tight spaces in 3v3 situations, ability to make quality passes, and an ability to strike the ball with an age appropriate level of power and accuracy.  

Above all, ROSC is interested in all youth players, regardless of where they sit on the development curve, that want to have fun with the game and advance their capabilities.

What are the differences between AYSO, ROSC and all of the other clubs in Kalamazoo?

There is a significant difference between AYSO and River Oaks SC, along with the other clubs in the greater SW Michigan area.  All youth players at ROSC in the younger U9-U12 levels play at the "select" level, which is the first level of travel soccer in the state of Michigan.  The practice commitment is greater (2 90 minute practices per week) and the level of competition is noticeably higher when making the step up from rec level.

ROSC competes against a range of Club teams from Kalamazoo, with additional teams ranging from Marshall, Battle Creek and west to St Joseph.  All of these clubs are grouped together at the "select" level from U9-U12, with the majority of clubs coached by volunteer parents.  Only at the U12/U13 age group do players have the option of moving up and trying out for a Premier level team (larger radius of travel, higher level of competition).

All clubs have different fee structures.  ROSC's club fee is expected to remain at the $115 level for the 2014/2015 season.  An additional team fee will be collected to cover such items as:  ref fees, tournament fees, and indoor fees (tournaments and indoor play is at the discretion of each individual coach).  Our Nike uniform kit is in the range of $80-$90.


River Oaks announces 2nd annual ROSC summer camp
River Oaks will once again offer an exclusive summer camp for ROSC players in July.  This will be a great way for ROSC players to begin to set a foundation for the 2014 / 2015 season, bond with their teammates and work their technical skills.  The club will announce dates and details to all ROSC players following tryouts.


U10 Girls with strong performance in Lansing tournament
Congratulations again to our U10 girls for a strong performance in Lansing this past weekend, competing in 3 games to prepare for league play.  The team finished 2-1, winning their two by a margin of 19-6 and narrowly losing their third in a hard fought game.  Nice job ladies!


Ken Fouts announced as the U9 Boys coach for 2014 / 2015
River Oaks SC is pleased to announce that Ken Fouts will be leading the U9 boys for the 2014 / 2015 season.  

After many years serving as a board member for WMYSA, officiating games and serving as Director of Coaching for ROSC, Ken has stepped forward to lead the U9 boys squad in the fall.

Ken holds National E and D licenses, as well as the NSCAA National Diploma.  He has coached in a variety of capacities across Select and Premier teams, and is also the proud father of two stars on the Gull Lake girls Varsity squad.  Ken is also experienced across the Olympic Development Program and Midwest Regional League.....and will be sending off his eldest daughter in the fall to Ferris State after wrapping up a scholarship offer.

The club is very excited to make this announcement and welcome Ken "home" as a coach with River Oaks. His teams are always technically sound, providing the proper building blocks to become fundamentally strong youth soccer players.

Tryouts will be held in June....details below.  


ROSC Tryout dates and flier
Reminder that our tryout dates have been set.  Please see the below flier and share with prospective ROSC families.  Have a great spring!


Announcing the NEW U8 Academy Program for 6 & 7 year old boys and girls
ROSC will introduce a NEW U8 Academy Program for 6 &  7 year old boys and girls for the 2014 / 2015 season (fall through spring).  This is an introductory developmental program for younger players looking to enhance their technical skill set, in prepearation for higher levels of play at the U9 and above age groups.

Click HERE to learn more, and feel free to get in touch directly with questions at:   riveroakssc@gmail.com 


Tryout dates are now set....mark your calendars
Tryouts for all Select teams will be held on June 16th and 17th at the River Oaks fields in Galesburg. Please visit the website for details on age groups, coaching updates and other important details as we approach June.  

As always please get in touch with questions directly at riveroakssc@gmail.com


ROSC players conitinue to work their skills in this years Futsal program...

ROSC players continue to work each weekend on their touch and ball control skills through Futsal....an excting brand of soccer played on a hard surface.  Check out some photos of the U9 and U10 girls in action......


ROSC Futsal is underway!

Futsal training is well underway for River Oaks.  Several age groups have been hard at work, fine tuning their ball control skills and having a bunch of fun along the way.  Check out a few photos of the U10 and U11 boys in action.


Club comparison

Sorting through the local club soccer scene can be daunting....the #1 question seems to be "what's the difference between the local clubs across Kalamazoo?".   For a cost comparison, click HERE and scroll down for a chart comparing the larger clubs.


Teams never stop encouraging

Great clip from the Barcelona youth academy on what it means to be a team and continue to encourage your teammates through good times and bad.  Happy Holidays everyone!


Player development vs. strategy

Great article from the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) website on a critical topic for youth coaches and parents:  player development vs. strategy.  As we all take a break around the holidays, it's a nice time for coaches and parents to reflect on the fall season and what they're looking to achieve with their respective players in the winter and spring phases.  This article takes me back to Lansing this past fall and an opposing coach that was exceptionally vocal the entire game, with very specific tactical pieces he was trying to run with his U10 girls.  They beat us by a goal or two, but I couldn't help but wonder how this coach's prescriptive control over the team may be hurting development in the long run.   All good food for thought - have a great Holiday season!! 

- Chris Yapp, U10 Girls


ROSC Futsal is Coming!!

River Oaks SC is proud to announce the 2014 Futsal program, exclusive to ROSC club players, which begins on January 11th.  Importantly, the Futsal program is FREE to all River Oaks families.  (The Club will cover all equpment and gym rental fees).

ROSC players are encouraged to register and participate over the 8 week program.  Futsal demands a good quality 1st touch, technically sound & creative footskills, as well as off the ball movement to create scoring chances.  There are no walls - it's fast, and it's a ton of fun! 

Please RSVP your player either directly to Club President Juan Mendez or by clicking HERE to send the club an email.

For a quick instructional video on Futsal click HERE.

Below are further details on the program:

Dates:  January 11th through March 1st (Saturday afternoons).
Time:  12-4:30.  Speicific time slots for your age group will be assigned in December - stay tuned.
Location:  Haven Church on Sprinkle Road.
Equpiment:  Indoor soccer shoes are perfectly fine.  Specific futsal shoes are available but not necessary.
Format:   1 to 1.5 hour time slots will be assigned for a warm-up and scrimmage.  Games are typiclaly 4v4 with a goalie, but we may set 3v3 scrimmages as well depending on numbers.  Teams will be scrambled each week, and will be co-ed on occassion to mix things up.


WMYSA Coaching Clinic:  Motivating the Student Athlete

WMYSA will be sponsoring a coaching clinic on November 9th from 10 - 11:30 at KVCC hosted by sports psychologist Eddie O'Connor.  Nice opportunity for our coaches to learn more about the psyche of youth players and how to motivate them to succeed.

Click here to register.


Couple of good pics from the Capital Area Classic Tournament

The ROSC U10 Girls competed in the Capital Area Classic recently.  Here are a couple of good shots....


The Fall WMYSA Schedules are now posted

Click HERE to be redirected to the WMYSA schedules.


Check out the new Nine for Nine ESPN Series:  "The 99'ers"

ESPN recently ran an outstanding segment, "The 99'ers", showcasing the 1999 women's world cup championship team.  Highly encourage parents and players to take a minute to watch.  True inspiration on what it takes to play at the highest level, and to play unselfishly as member of a team.

Click HERE for a preview.

Downloads available through itunes, amazon prime, and will likely be re-run at some point on ESPN.


Fall WMYSA schedules will be completed shortly. 

Please be on the lookout for your final fall schedules over the next 2 weeks - managers and coaches will be notified once the schedules are locked, and they will also be posted to the WMYSA site.


Inspiration for the young and young at heart...Rise and Shine


Recaps of the Boys & Girls US Youth Soccer National Championships


River Oaks "Moves & Skills" camp pictures

River Oaks SC just completed a great 3 day "Moves & Skills" camp under the Meulensteen technical curriculum.   Shout out to Chris Keenan and his team for leading the 3 day training camp.  Lots of great focus on creative receiving and turning drills to drive on the ball confidence.  Great job to our ROSC players - have a great summer and we'll see you on the pitch soon!


TIME CHANGE:  ROSC "Moves & Skills" camp

The ROSC "Moves & Skills" camp will now be held from 4:30-6:30 for ALL age groups. 

Dates are still July 16th - 18th. 

Please be at the fields by 4:15 to register.


WMYSA soccer camp

WMYSA will be hosting their 13th annual camp in August.

ROSC highly encourages all players to 1st register for the ROSC "Moves & Skills" Summer Camp being held next week (scroll down below for registration and details), however if you are looking for additional training opportunities please consider the WMYSA camp as well.

Click HERE for details on the WMYSA camps being held in Battle Creek and Portage.


REMINDER:  ROSC "Moves & Skills" Summer Camp registration

Reminder to all of our current ROSC players that our Club summer camp will be held July 16th, 17th and 18th at our home fields in Galesburg.   This camp is exclusive to River Oaks travel players only, and will be focused on core technical skills  to enhance on the ball confidence, consistent with the Meuelensteen curriculum.  Below are the full details and link to register.

- U13's and up:  3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
- U9's - U12's:    6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Cost:  $95 which includes instruction from trained Meulensteen technical instructors as well as a dri-ft t-shirt.

Click HERE to register.


Congratulations to our WMYSA U13 Girls champions!


REMINDER:  Tryouts are scheduled for this week, June 18th and 19th

ROSC will host tryouts for players this Tuesday and Wednesday at our home fields in Galesburg.  Scroll down for full details and a preview of the 2013/3014 ROSC program.

We've received a lot of inquires about tryouts and ROSC in general.  In addition to the FAQ section below, here is some additional perspective:

What will be expected during tryouts?  What will the coaches be looking for?

#1, ROSC is looking for players and parents committed to learning the technical and tactical aspects of the game, and as such are willing to play and practice with focus and determination.  All players regardless of their experience level should share a common enthusiasm for the sport and commitment to learning the game, taking instruction and playing with effort and passion.

During tryouts we will be looking for typical technical competencies, such as an ability to control the ball and play off of a sound first touch, ability to play in tight spaces in 3v3 situations, ability to make quality passes, and an ability to strike the ball with an age appropriate level of power and accuracy.  

Above all, ROSC is interested in all youth players, regardless of where they sit on the development curve, that want to have fun with the game and advance their capabilities.

What are the differences between AYSO, ROSC and all of the other clubs in Kalamazoo?

There is a significant difference between AYSO and River Oaks SC, along with the other clubs in the greater SW Michigan area.  All youth players at ROSC in the younger U9-U12 levels play at the "select" level, which is the first level of travel soccer in the state of Michigan.  The practice commitment is greater (2 90 minute practices per week) and the level of competition is noticeably higher when making the step up from rec level.

ROSC competes against a range of Club teams from Kalamazoo, with additional teams ranging from Marshall, Battle Creek and west to St Joseph.  All of these clubs are grouped together at the "select" level from U9-U12, with the majority of clubs coached by volunteer parents.  Only at the U12/U13 age group do players have the option of moving up and trying out for a Premier level team (larger radius of travel, higher level of competition).

All clubs have different fee structures.  ROSC's club fee is expected to remain at the $115 level for the 2013/2014 season.  An additional team fee will be collected to cover such items as:  ref fees, tournament fees, and indoor fees (tournaments and indoor play is at the discretion of each individual coach).  Our Nike uniform kit is in the range of $80-$90.


Congratulations to our WMYSA U9 Girls Champions!

What a phenomenal Spring season for the U9 White team, winning their WMYSA division.  These girls comitted themselves each and every day and it paid off big time!  Conggratulations again ladies!!!


Gull Lake HS Varsity girls and Head Coach lead the U9 ROSC Girls!

Gull Lake, girls, soccer, varsity, high school
A big THANK YOU to Gull Lake head girls Varsity coach Jeff Corstange and players Kendra, Rachel, Maggie and Carlie for leading our two U9 girls teams training tonight.  Awesome inspiration for these aspiring soccer stars!  


River Oaks SC Tryout Dates and Details

River Oaks Soccer Club will host tryouts on June 18th and 19th at our home fields in Galesburg, MI. See below for full details. Please contact the Club with any questions.

JUNE 18th:  U9, U11, U13, U15+ Boys & Girls
JUNE 19th:  U10, U12, U14 Boys & Girls

- Check in and registration will begin at 5:30
- Play will begin at 6:00 and conclude by 8:00

Tryout FAQ's:

- What should my son or daughter wear and bring?  Please have your child wear shinguards and appropriate outdoor soccer cleats.  Bring a size appropriate ball.  Bring plenty of water.  No earrings  or jewelry of any kind.  
- Can parents stay and watch tryouts?  Parents are of course welcome to stay, however will not be allowed to watch play close to the actual tryout field.  This is to allow coaches and players limited distraction.
- Who is the right player for ROSC?  All youth soccer players across the greater SW Michigan region are invited to tryout.  River Oaks SC is interested in the youth soccer player aspiring to strengthen their skill level, play and practice with focus, and commit themselves to learning the proper technical and tactical aspects of competitive youth socer.
- What is the time comitment?  All ROSC teams practice 2x per week for 90 minutes, typically on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the River Oaks fields in Galesburg, although dates are at the discretion of each individual coach.
- Who do we play?  What is the travel commitment?  ROSC competes in WMYSA, a league affiliated with multiple clubs across the SW Michigan area, spanning from the Marshall / Battle Creek area west to the Lake, south of Grand Rapids.  Most teams are in and around the Kalamazoo area, with some travel times up to 30-60 minutes.  Each team will play 8 league games in the fall and 8 games in the spring.
- When does the season begin?  Fall practices typically begin in late August, with games beginning in early September, concluding in October.  Spring practice typcially begins in early April, with games beginning mid-April and concluding in early June.
- Do teams play in tournaments and indoor during the winter?  Tournament and indoor play is at the discretion of each individual coach and team.  Most of our select teams elect to play in 1-2 tournaments per year.
- What is the cost?  The Club fee has traditionally been $115 per player, which covers basic field rental costs, insurance, etc.  ROSC is a non-profit organization, so Club fees are held to an affordable level for all families.  Each team will also set a Team fee to cover such items as referee fees, tournament fees and indoor fees.  This Team fee is at the discretion of each coach and team.  ROSC players wear Nike uniform kits, which consist of a home and away jersey, socks and shorts.  We will be moving to a new Nike uniform design in the fall, and this cost is expected to be in the $80-$90 range.

If you have specific questions that have not been covered here, please get in touch and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Sneak peek at the new Nike ROSC uniform kits for 2013 / 2014....


River Oaks SC U12 Girls win the Crusader Cup Championsip!

Congratulations or our U12 Girls on their outstanding performance this past weekend in the Kalamazoo Crusader Cup, winning the division.  Nice job ladies!!


Whats it Takes to Play Youth Soccer at a Higher Level

Below is a great post and perspective from Ken Fouts, Director of Coaching for ROSC.   Ken has coached at the highest levels of Premier soccer in Michigan with his very own daughters starring on the Gull Lake HS Varsity team, having also played Premier and in the Olympic Development Program.
The key takeaways are very clear…to play at the highest levels of youth soccer, it takes commitment and a burning passion on the part of the player with the majority of development occurring off of the soccer pitch, at home with friends and family as well as alone working on technical capabilities.  It’s about touches, and a lot of them.  This is not to suggest that parents should be pushing players beyond their level of interest but rather showcases just what it takes to perform at a high level consistently.  It also raises a good question as it pertains to the exploding youth soccer scene in SW Michigan and across America….what club is right for me and my youth player and when, if ever, is it necessary to place them with a club that offers Premier level teams?
ROSC is committed to fitting a clear role and providing a strong value for soccer families in SW Michigan….deliver sound technical training particularly for the younger  U9-U12 levels, providing families with a community based, positive, family friendly environment.  We strive to place strong, competitive Select level teams in WMYSA, and will when the time is right, advocate for exceptional players to consider taking their game up to the Premier level…but at the appropriate time.

In Michigan the higher levels include the two top levels of premier, including premier 1 and premier 2.  Above that there is the Midwest Regional League with two distinct levels, and the US Soccer Academy program for boys and the Elite Clubs National League for girls.
A player that plays at these levels should be able to master the necessary technical proficiencies before they get there.  They should also have the mental determination and desire to do the extra work necessary to obtain those skills. 
These players dream of playing at a high level on their own.  They want to maintain their soccer skills and fitness on a daily basis, they believe in team building, can handle changes, have good coping skills, and take directions well.  They can also adapt to different styles of play, play in any position, and does not use excuses to avoid participation at any level.
The most important attribute that all high-level players have is the ability to control the ball and be comfortable with it in possession.  They need to be able to do this both with and without pressure. 
There are 10 components that make a difference and they include;
Touch on the ball:  Control of the ball while in possession, with both feet.  Player’s obviously have to be comfortable while in possession of the ball.
Balance:  Being in control of the body and able to change direction while controlling the ball.
Technical speed:  The speed with which a player can effectively use their skills in controlling and playing the ball.
Coach-ability:  The ability to listen, understand instructions and carry them out.  This is also the ability to develop good habits.
Work rate:  The willingness to push oneself to the limit.  Playing both ends of the field, both offense and defense.
Awareness:  The ability to recognize opportunity in front, behind and to the side, whether it is a shot, a pass, or a dribbling chance to advance.  Reading the shape of the match, one’s game sense.
Reaction to failure:  Coaches want players who are very able to continue to play hard after a bad break or mistake.  No dropping the head and disappearing mentally. 
Leadership qualities:  The ability to communicate, not just talk to others, to demand the ball, to take charge in intense situations.
Physical speed:  Being fast, being effective enough without being exploited by opponents.
Size and strength:  The ability to physically compete against bigger opponents. 
All ten factors are important, but, perhaps the most important is Touch on the ball.  From u5 through u12 this should be the main emphasis of player development.  The challenge with club soccer is that most parents do not understand that by training twice a week and having one or two matches on the weekend your child is not doing what is necessary to become a premier player.
A player who can play premier should constantly have a ball at their feet.  While this isn’t pragmatic all the time, there are things that they can do that will make them better and get them to the level that they aspire.
Becoming technically strong isn’t easy it takes time, determination, and patience.  I still remember going outside to check on my youngest daughter and finding her with tears in her eyes while she was learning to juggle.  I told her to come inside, because if it isn’t fun she shouldn’t do it.  She replied, “no, I want to get to 100 before I come inside.”  Because she was determined I let her continue and was rewarded with a big smile across her face when she reached her goal. 
Things that kids can do to become technically strong include:
Juggling – feet only, both feet.
Hitting a ball against a wall or rebounder, again both feet and develop a rhythm.
Figure eights around cones or whatever you have.  Put the cones 10 feet apart. Work both feet being able to cut the ball well with both feet.
Be able to move your ball up and down the stairs with either foot.  This develops control of the ball with all surfaces of the foot.
Shield the ball from the stupid border collie.  If you don’t have a border collie you can rent mine.
Play in the rain.  It’s fun to get muddy!
Play in the sun.  Nothing better to do on a sunny day.
Play with your friends.  No structure at the younger ages is better.  Remember playing whiffle ball when you were a kid?  Any parents telling you how to do it? 
Let kids learn and figure things out on their own.  Their experience is the best teacher.  Cheer them on from the sidelines.  Be positive regardless of the outcome of the game. 


2013 / 2014 TRYOUTS:  ROSC Select Teams

ROSC will hold tryouts on June 18th and June 19th at the River Oaks fields in Galesburg.  All youth soccer players from the greater SW Michigan region are welcome to tryout, with boys and girls teams starting at the U9 age division and ranging up to the U17/U19 level.

We will publish more details as we get closer to June.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.

COACHES:  Our coaches are 100% volunteers with a passion for teaching and mentoring the game of soccer to youth players.  If you are currently coaching in the area or have a desire to start coching and would like to take the next step to the select level with ROSC, we'd like to hear from you.  Our director of Coaching, Ken Fouts, would be happy to speak with you about ROSC and our coaching opportunities, along with the support that ROSC can provide in assisting you with training and game day prepreations.   


Sneak Peak - new logo in action!

Here's a preview of the new logo that ROSC will transition to in the fall.  Looks sharp!


Report from the National E License coaching course

Phew!  What an amazing, and exhausting, 48 hours.  I just returned home from Traverse City after successfully completing the National E License course.  Truly a remarkable coaching experience and the highlight so far of my coaching career.  It was a very well rounded set of coaches, from Chris Hughes the men’s coach for Davenport University (thanks Chris for the advice!), aspiring premier level coaches looking to compete at the highest level of Michigan soccer, select level coaches like yours truly looking to better understand the pshyche of young players and how to teach the game the right way, to rec level coaches that knew nothing about the game but have committed themselves to becoming good, solid coaches.  And I learned from all of them.  Over lunch and in between sessions we were all sponges sharing information on formations, how to teach the proper shooting techniques, managing player emotions and confidence…the list goes on. 

I wanted to share below a few highlights and key learnings.  My offer stands to all ROSC coaches – give me a call or stop by one of our U9 training session this spring.  I would love to share what I’ve learned and I encourage anyone looking to strengthen their coaching abilities to sign up ASAP.  It’s worth your time 10 fold (and ROSC pays for it).

1.  10,000 touches. 
In general, the youth soccer player just starting out (U9-U12) requires 10,000 touches on the ball before he has any sense of confidence and knowledge as to how the game is played.  Think about that.  That’s a ton of training, ton of game experience, back yard 1 v1 games with mom or dad.  But it’s critical that we remember this.  We want technical wizards on the field yesterday, but this is a process.  And I would argue a process that is much more extensive and time intensive than some sports our kids play today.  It takes time…so let’s give these kids room to breathe and yes, make mistakes.

2.  Technical, technical, technical. 
Did I mention technical?  The #1 focus for all young players, without compromise, is technical skill ability.  The key as a parent or new coach is to realize the difference of technical vs. tactical, what the proper focus should be in practice and what to reward during games.  Tactical refers to such things as formation strategy, making overlapping runs, defending set pieces, executing corner kicks, etc.   Technical refers to the core ball skills required to play the game:  dribbling with control and confidence, beating a player 1v1 with proper ball fakes, utilization of all parts of the foot to shoot, pass, trap, cut, and turn.  Technical means eliminating the toe poke now by focusing on proper shooting technique.  You get the point.  And as such our training sessions need to be properly balanced.  Did you just waste 20 minutes drilling your 8 year olds on the proper way to execute a kick off?  If so you’ve failed.   The philosophy is that the tactical “clicks” as the technical progresses.  Games teach under live fire very quickly. 

3.  Be thoughtful, have a plan.
Your practice should always, always, have a technical focus area and progress from games that look nothing like soccer, to matches that resemble your Saturdays.  Every time.  As a coach, you need to identify the immediate areas of focus, and then design a proper 90 minute session that takes your kids from games (yes games, fun games that keep them active) that resemble nothing like an actual match, to small sided games with pressure, to expanded mall sided games with more players to a full match.  The keys are simple:  constant dynamic motion (to build endurance), with intense scrutiny of the identified skill area.  There are no lines.  There is no standing around.  If they’re standing and waiting you’ve failed.  Example:  an uniformed coach will line up two players opposing each other and have them pass back and forth, without movement.  The fundamental skill focus is right, the drill is wrong.  Instead place two cones  with players standing in front of the cone.  One runs or back treads around the cone 360 degrees, repositions herself back in front of the cone with hips out in the receiving stance and receives the pass.  The passer now does the same – gets her rear end moving immediately back around her cone and receives the pass.  Movement, motion, fast, crisp.  That’s how the game should be played.  That’s how you practice.  From there it’s a simple 2v1 or 3v2 with multiple small goals.  It’s not an attacking, run at full throttle drill, but a possession drill focused on passing and receiving to move the ball forward (and backward).

These are just a few key points, with the template I describe in #3 being the most critical.  The challenge is being creative with games and mixing up the drills.  There are a ton of online resources through MYSA and other sites.  Yes it’s exhausting, but if you put in the work and planning, the results will be there.

So now what?  Well, I can’t wait to meet with my assistant coaches and talk through the details and start designing our curriculum for the spring.  I now am a much more confident “training” coach, and look forward to working with our girls to create future soccer stars!

Good luck to all of our ROSC coaches this spring – stay focused, train with a purpose, and keep it fun.

Chris Yapp
ROSC U9 Girls

For more information on the National E.... click here


SPRING WMYSA schedules are now available!

WMYSA has released the spring schedules.  Games will begin the weekend of April 13th.  Please contact your Coach or Team Manager for a detailed schedule.


WMYSA Coaching Clinic:  "The progression of defending: 1 v 1 to 4 v 4" with Chris Adrian, Clinician

WMYSA will be hosting a coaching clinic on March 5th at the St. Joes Sports Club focused on defensive tactics for youth players. 

Chris has been head men's coach Kalamazoo College; Assistant Men's Coach Drake University; Associate State Director of Coaching - Iowa, Current Hackett HS Varsity Boys and Girls Coach, National "C" License

To register, click the link below and use your Gotsoccer logon information.



A good read...and good food for thought

I have the pleasure of serving on the board for ROSC and more importantly, as one of our U9 girls coaches.  Santa was good to me this year….surprising me with a book in my stocking:  “Coaching Outside the Box.  Changing the Mindset in Youth Soccer” by Paul S. A. Mairs & Richard E. Shaw.  I am not here to promote the book and rest assured I am in no way affiliated with the authors.  And to be clear, it’s not a perfect argument…but it has served as a great point of reflection as a youth soccer parent and coach.  I’d like to share a few thoughts for consideration….
I’m a new coach, having coached U5’s and U8’s in AYSO and now U9’s at the select level with ROSC, but I’m not necessarily new to the game.  I played rec level soccer in Chicago and moved to club at the age of 12, which at the time (mid 80’s) was the generally accepted time to move on to select level play.  I was a two-year starter as a left back in high school and competed for an Illinois state championship.  They were great years, and I continue to play (if time allows) in men’s leagues around town.   But times have changed now that I’m a parent.  The youth club scene has exploded, and Kalamazoo is a great example with multiple clubs, two indoor facilities with programs aspiring to place high level premier teams into the broader Michigan state soccer scene.  And it’s all starting at such a young age with 7 year olds playing “up” in their first year of competitive soccer, clubs gunning for trophies and playing out of state during tournament season.  And I wonder….do we have it right?  
The book argues no, and I have to wonder if they’re on to something.  70% - 80% of American youth soccer players leave the game at the age of 12.  12!!!!  I find this statistic astonishing.
What it all comes down to is what we, as parents and coaches value and ultimately how we measure success during the early years of soccer.  Spend a weekend watching rec level youth soccer, and you’ll see where our priorities as parents and coaches rest…winning.  But I fear that it’s an attitude of winning without substance, and without an appreciation for the game, the most beautiful game when played at the highest level and with the highest skill.  And this in all honesty terrifies me as a coach entrusted with kids just looking to have fun and learn the game the right way.  These are fragile spirits that every day are shaping the way they view the world…and in this case the game of soccer.  (Quick side bar…this is not a indictment of my current set of parents…I’ve been blessed with a group of parents that “get it” and have applied the proper lens…work hard, pay attention, make mistakes but above all…build our kids skill set over time and allow for the developmental process to evolve). 
I had the pleasure of living overseas outside of London a few years ago, and this is where my oldest got her start in a youth training camp run by a group of semi-pro players from South Africa.   It was an amazing thing to watch…little 4 year olds being taught how to touch the ball with their laces, the instep and outside of their foot from day one.  How to maintain control of the ball, and develop confidence with the ball at their feet.   They’re sponges at this age and absorb everything, even the nuances of how to play thoughtfully and with a soft touch.  We moved back to Ohio and it all fell apart.  My daughter melted down in her bright green rec league jersey at the first game, with all of the parents lined up in an arena like setting, yelling, and the coaches barking direction that was meaningless.  Her soccer career stopped then and there, and only just restarted a year and a half ago when she was ready to give it another go.
So I wonder…how many coaches are teaching and ultimately rewarding and praising their young players for beating a defender 1 v 1 with a creative move?  Or for playing the ball square to a player and moving into open space anticipating how the play will evolve?  Or striking the ball appropriately with their laces with power and precision?  And do the parents support these building blocks?  I fear the answer, generally is no.  I fear that we’re teaching “kick and rush” soccer, fueled by big strong athletes that at the age of 15 will elect to play softball or basketball, or nothing at all because they’re no longer the biggest and fastest kid on the field and lack an ability to problem solve and play with creativity and freedom.  And that we are teaching youngsters these principles to score as many goals as possible and to win at all costs. 
And what’s the outcome?  Well, we know that most leave the game.  They give up on it, because they’re tired of being yelled at to “kick the ball” or “play harder”.  In some cases they run into high school tryouts filled with kids that did in fact have the proper training, and realize that they missed 10 years of learning the game the right way, and in the end never have a shot of playing on their high school team.
So my challenge to all parents and coaches is to step back and think about how we are developing these young players, and how we are teaching during games.  A great example inspired by this book is as follows…..
A young aspiring striker has the ball at her feet, with one back to beat.  A teammate is out wide and in open space looking for the pass.  The coaches and parents are yelling to make the pass, but she does not and instead elects to try to beat her defender with an awkward step over…and she fails.  The ball is taken away and possession is lost.   Parents and coaches are irate, and she is deflated.  But this is what she needed to do.  She needed to try it, to challenge herself and learn how to be creative in a game environment.  Next time, sure maybe she makes the pass and they score…but let’s give her a chance to learn to make those decisions on her own…because this is when they learn the best.
Good luck to all of our ROSC teams as they gear up for the spring.  And let’s all, as a collective soccer community focus on what’s right…the kids, their skills and their confidence to succeed.
Chris Yapp


60 Minutes special on Barcelona's Youth Academy

60 Minutes ran an outstanding segment this evening providing an inside look at arguably the World's greatest team, FC Barcelona and their renound youth academy.  This is a fun 14 minute snipit that's worth your time!  Click the picture below to be redirected to the video.


Check out the River Oaks SC Facebook page!

Check out our new FB page by clicking HERE.  Great way to keep up with the Club, share photos, etc.


US Women's National Team is coming to Detroit!

Several ROSC players made their way to Chicago to watch the US National team play a hard fought game against Germany in October.

The Women will be playing China in Detroit on December 8th.  Tickets can be found by following the link below, and using the pre-sale code D8STRONG.  


Great Finish for River Oaks SC this Fall!

Congratulations to all of our ROSC teams for a successfall fall on the pitch competing in WMYSA.  Good luck to all of our players as they begin winter indoor play, and for those taking a break over the next couple of months....enjoy your time off!


GOOD LUCK to all of our ROSC teams as they finish up the Fall WMYSA season this weekend!


CONGRATULATIONS to the ROSC teams that competed in the Kingdom Cup this past weekend!!

River Oaks SC had two teams participate in the Kingdom Cup this past weekend.  CONGRATULATIONS to the U9 Boys for winning their division!!!!  Also, congratulations to the U12 Girls for a hard fought runner-up in their division as well.  Congrats teams, and thanks for representing ROSC with pride!


Indoor Leagues:  Registration now underway

Please work with your Team Managers and Coaches regarding the upcoming indoor season.  Both Soccer Zone and Kingdom are now accepting registrations for Session 1, which runs late October through the holidays.  Session II will begin roughly the 1st of the year and run through the end of February.


US Women's National Team is coming to Chicago!

The US National team will play a friendly against Germany on October 20th, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL (SW Chicago).  Tickets are going fast - here is a LINK to the ticketmaster page.  Tickets are also available on sites such as stubhub.


River Oaks Soccer Club is proud to announce our new LOGO!

The Club is excited to introduce our new logo, which will be incorporated on all uniforms beginning with the 2013/2014 season, when we transition to the new Nike uniforms.  Many THANKS to Tony Neary and the team at Traction for all of their help with the design!



 ROSC Families,

 If you would like to register your child for the U8 Academy please email Tess Zettelmaier at your earliest convenience. CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL.  If you have already registered your player for the Academy Team, Tess will be sending out an email within the next day or two with details on practices, games, etc.


GREAT opening weekend for ROSC!  Congrats to all of our players on their hard fought games.  Plenty of positives to build from across all of our teams.
Keep your eye on the WMYSA site for standings for each age division.



Below is a note and nice reminder from our Director of Coaching Ken Fouts:
As we embark on our first weekend of league soccer I want to wish everybody success.  Ultimately, I hope that the kids play with inspiration and they come away with smiles on their faces regardless of the outcome of the games.  Certainly, if you know me, you know that I like to win.  However, if we put a positive spin on things the kids will most likely be motivated to give it their all.
Of the many soccer hats I wear I also have a role as a director for WMYSA.  Specifically, I am the league statistician which gives me the opportunity to verify scores, etc.  The other component of this role is that I am the first point of contact for any discipline issues.  This not only has to do with cautions and send offs, but also poor coach and parent behavior.
As a referee I will be the first to say that refs do not always get the calls right.  We make mistakes just as players and coaches make mistakes.  With this in mind, nobody has the liberty to brow beat a referee because they didn't like the call or how they called a game.  If you didn't like the way the your match was called, please complete a referee evaluation form and send it to the league statistician (me - yes, another role) and I will ensure that the referee association ( yes - I am a director here as well) spends more time working with that referee in an effort to help them improve.  Our role as coaches an parents is not to educate the referee on the spot.
Below is part of an article I stole from my friend Randy Vogt as published in Soccer America.  As I am wandering around soccer fields this weekend and if I notice any behavior I deem unacceptable, I will consider those individuals as referee recruits.  Keep in mind, coaches are responsible for their sideline, including parents and grandparents.
Have a great weekend!
Ken Fouts
Director of Coaching
River Oaks Soccer Club
The youngest youth soccer players start out by kicking a smaller ball into a smaller goal on a small-sided field. By the time they have graduated to U-13 and often sooner, they are playing 11 vs. 11 with a No. 5 ball on a regulation field with goals that are 8 feet high and 8 yards wide. 

Small-sided games, with fewer players, smaller fields and shorter matches, would seem to be the perfect way to develop new referees. Except that some adults -- coaches and spectators -- can be nuts when their kids start out playing soccer. I know many experienced refs who are unenthusiastic about refereeing small-sided games or ask not to be assigned them for this very reason. 

When I ref younger kids, I often find adults who have no understanding of the rules whatsoever. These parents who never opened a rulebook or watched a soccer game other than their child’s somehow believe, unlike a generation ago, that they are authorities on the sport. They particularly do not understand the advantage clause. 

Most refs quit in their first two years of officiating with verbal abuse by kids’ parents being the No. 1 reason for quitting.


The final WMYSA schedules are now posted.  Click here to be redirected to the WMYSA site.


Welcome to the NEW River Oaks website! We hope to effectively serve the ROSC community through this site, providing the news & details you need to stay up to speed on the Club and WMYSA.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter! Click the logos on the right to follow us on your favorite social media sites. As the season gears up, we plan to build these communities so that you can enjoy a real-time, interactive experience across the Club.
Subscribe to our mailing list. Fill out the form on the right and we will push updates to you as they are available.


NEW LOGO!  Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement regarding the NEW ROSC logo. 

The new logo will be incorporated on all uniforms starting with the 2013/2014 season, when we transition to the new Nike uniforms.


Congratulations to all of our 2012/2013 Players on a successful tryout! We look forward to a productive season on the pitch competing in WMYSA.
Please work with your individual Coaches and Managers regarding your Fall training schedules, uniforms, Team Fee details, and upcoming game times. Games will begin on September 8th.

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