Frequently Asked Questions

What is the birth year Change? 

As many of you (if not all) will know, this year the whole country is changing from our current age matrix (Aug. 1-July 31 - similar to school years) to birth year.  This is a very big change but we believe, as most things, it can be a positive with the right mentality. 

If you have not read Director of Coaching Mike Pellicio's article on the subject in our most recent newsletter, please ask your current director or reach out to Peggy ( to get a copy of the article. 

Why are Shadow and FC Spokane working together? 

For many positive reasons!  We have agreed on mission and purpose and how to carry them out.  Certainly, we are not exactly alike; however, the underlying foundation and belief is what allows us to partner.  Our chief end is to serve the players in our club; and how we do that is what separates us from other clubs.  The depth of our coaching staff will be unrivaled.  This in turn exposes our players to a variety of coaching along their developmental pathway.  

During talks between the leadership from both clubs, it was increasingly apparent that we have a tremendous amount in common, not least the desire to create the best possible environment for elite player development in Spokane, WA.  Our coaches believe in the manner in which we approach the game, but we all have a uniqueness to us that will reach each player differently.  This uniqueness will lead to a greater breadth of development for our players. Additionally, soccer opportunities will continue to strengthen.  We are most excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the players.  The Regional Club League is the best league in the state.  Our players and teams will be competing against the top players and teams in the state.  The true competitor wants that competition, we will be providing something that no one else can.

It is not just about the RCL level, however.  

Our Select level will also benefit as we continue to develop and strengthen resources that can serve this important soccer level of play.  No matter the age, level, or league placement our aim is to have players enjoy playing soccer.  Being provided quality soccer opportunities furthers that enjoyment.

What will the structure be?  Who will be in charge?  

The structure will see the Technical Director overseeing the club with the Directors of Coaching working with the Technical Director and providing leadership over the soccer operations and programming of the club.  From there we will have other age group directors overseeing specific programs.

Who will the agreement impact?

The primary impact in structure will be seen at the Premier/RCL level.  

The Select level will continue to play in its regional locations (North, South and Valley.) FC Spokane will continue to operate their select programming. The benefit to the Select level is the strengthening of the club to provide continued and consistent coaching instruction and oversight. 

The RCL level will see a greater depth of teams (players) participating in the league.  We will see an immediate growth into the league as the premier level teams are placed into the most competitive league in the state.

What are some of the differences between RCL and Select at U11? 

A little longer answer here:
- RCL teams will provide training opportunities 10 months out of the year. 
- RCL U11 teams will bring the U11 Director and all U11 teams together at one location once weekly for periods through the year.
- All RCL coaches are also paid. 
- The U11 RCL has an age group director. 
- RCL players have the opportunity for additional training with other RCL teams. 
- The implementation of programming follows the SSC Shadow Way with our curriculum strictly followed. 
- We will have a jamboree (probably around June 18th). 

With the additional training opportunities there is a cost difference as well. The club dues are higher for RCL than Select. This is attributed to the training opportunities and the pay of the coaches. If looking at what a soccer camp or academy would cost, the difference is really minimal as those opportunities of skilled training are presented at the RCL level (some might even save money instead of attending camps!). 

How will tryouts work?  Who will name the coaches?

The Technical Director and the Directors of Coaching place the coaches, working in coordination and coming to an agreement for the 2016-17 season.

If my child is a play-up now or a 2007, should they tryout for U11 or remain in the U10 program?  We would encourage your child to tryout for the U11 program. We do allow the opportunity to take and form a play-up team that competes at the U11 level. Play-ups have had short-term success and long-term success by going this route. Again, it is not for everyone, but an option to consider. The U10 program for next year can always be the fall back point and if not ready for U11, no worries! Each child and family will ultimately take their own path, and there is nothing wrong with the path! :)

Why is there a North and a Valley (and maybe even a South) tryout?  

The reason is we believe at the U11 and U12 ages it is still important to remain in your local area.  The play is 9v9 and the growth of players is still happening!  When we go 11v11 we bring all groups together.

Do we attend both tryout locations?  

No.  Only attend the area in which you want to participate.  The goal is to have multiple teams in each area of the county. 

(For the areas that list one coach, if there is quality enough for a second team we will have the coach, coach both the teams. Our Director Mike Pellicio did this last year with his U11 Valley team and was quite successful.) 

How are the teams selected?  

Our philosophy has been over the years to make a “top” team and “second” teams.  This will remain as it has had proven success.  This is in the best long term interest of each player’s development, while maintaining the short-term aim of enjoying competing while playing soccer (that short-term aim remains throughout their SSC Shadow career!)

What league will U11 and U12 play in?  

We do not want to travel more than we have to at this young age, so we play in Eastern Washington’s and North Idaho’s Select League.  At U13 our teams migrate into the state league, but at U11 and U12 we stay closer to home.  However, they will play in a summer tournament that will take us across the state. 

At ages U11 and U12, as mentioned above, we form teams localized to the Valley, the North, and (when appropriate) the South.

What league will U13+ Premier teams compete in?  

At U13 and older the Regional Club League.  U11 and U12 in the local league. Select teams? They will compete in the local leagues.

At age U13, we merge our Premier teams from the North, South and Valley together to form competitive teams that compete in the highest league available in the state of Washington.  

Our Select teams will remain separated in Valley and City and continue to compete in the Select League. We are truly excited by the opportunities that are presented for the players in our community. 

Where will the teams train?

We will look to rotate between the City and Valley locations.  A calendar will be published but it is likely to work on consecutive month cycles, dependent on time of year, availability of fields, costs and other factors.

Will there be an “open” practice policy?

Players will always be encouraged to join other teams training sessions within their level of play as we look to be a resource for players to develop.  Quality Time on Task is what is necessary to grow and get better; we always encourage it!
What is the advantage of playing on a second team in this club versus a first team in another club?  

The simple answer is coaching and philosophy.  We have proven for many years to have our players' interests in mind first when it comes to soccer and their personal development.  We are not a perfect club but we do strive to do the very best by our players.  If you look at our staff for the U11s, you will not find better in quality or depth.  We are proud of our coaches and we are proud of our players. 

The longer answer is that many players go into a tryout with a singular mentality: I need to be on the A-team. Or, perhaps more accurately, my son/daughter needs to be on the A-team :) We’ve had some honest conversations with players of many ages, levels, and genders in the past few weeks. 

    •    Is my son good enough to play for the Sounders academy teams?
    •    Is my daughter going to get a real chance to go from B-team player to an A-team player?
    •    Is the age group change going to adversely affect my son who has been one of the older players so far?
    •    What if my daughter doesn’t make a Premier team? Should I look at Select?
    •    What if my kid doesn’t make a Premier team and misses the Select tryouts—will there be a place in the club?

As you can see, the range of these conversations goes from maybe the best player(s) in the club and incrementally down the ladder to players who are simply happy to pull on the uniform and play the game they love.

We want the whole club to be on the same page because there are so many changes—birth year registration, the Shadow/FC Spokane agreement creating very competitive player pools, coaching changes, etc.

Spokane as a city compared to other environments is a big, small city.  We have a lot of opportunity to create something fantastic here and develop all of our players to their absolute potential.  However, it requires the right mentality from both the club (coaches and players) and the families.

Please keep these three things in mind when making your decision on where to pursue your soccer opportunities next season:

    •    A stronger club better serves all its players. We are working Shadow/FC Spokane players into the fold on the Premier side which will make the club stronger but also make roster spots more competitive. This is good for everyone, wherever you end up, so long as you have a forward-looking outlook.
    •    The tryout process is 100 percent objective. Players will be placed where they belong based on the input of multiple experienced staff. Our goal is to create the best environment for all players at the club, top-to-bottom.
    •    Lastly, if you’re disappointed with your player's placement what type of reaction would you like your player to have? Quit the club? Complain? Hate the coach? Prove that he/she belongs on the desired team? Work hard and get better? This is all just a perspective to consider when faced with adversity.