What’s in a name?

’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet; – Juliet

Who would have thought we’d be quoting Shakespeare on our Cincy SC blog!

Last year we only had two teams at only one age group, our U12 Girls. We decided to call the teams Blue and Orange.

This week, after conversations with our coaches as well as with a few parents, we decided to change our names for our U10 and up teams to Premier and Elite. Premier is what we’ll call our top team. Elite is what we’ll call our second team. If we only have one team we call it Elite. And at the U9 and younger age groups, which are organized like an academy with a player pool, we will split into teams for games and tourneys as needed, and we’ll continue to call those teams Blue, Orange, and White.

Why the change? There are two main reasons and they both come down to the perception and the cache of the words premier and elite vs. blue and orange.

For one, we wanted our players to feel good about themselves whether they are on our Premier or Elite team. It’s not easy to make our Elite team and it’s even harder to make one of our Premier teams. These new names reflect that and carry a little more street cred.

Second, we realized that our club soccer competition was in some cases winning over players simply because of their team names. As silly as it seemed, players were wowed by offers to join the “Academy Blue,” “Elite Silver,” or “Premier Black” teams at other clubs and perceived those options to be better than what Cincy SC was offering. They would say things like, “we love everything about Cincy SC and we think the training would be great, but we can’t pass up a spot with ____.” This wasn’t a lot of players, but enough that we noticed.

In addition to the names we chose, we also considered Academy, Select, First/Reserve, our Blue/Orange from last year, and a numbering system. We brought our coaches into the discussion. We asked a couple parents for feedback. Recognizing that there is no one standard across various soccer clubs, we ultimately chose the names Premier and Elite for these reasons:

  • Premier by definition means “top” or “best.” Even though BPYSL and some other clubs put others above Premier, we wanted to stay as true as possible to the definitions of the words. Calling your 2nd team or 3rd division “Premier” seems nonsensical to us.
  • Elite means “special” or “superior.” We think that describes our Elite teams — many players tried out this year that didn’t make a team. The word “elitist” can have a negative connotation, but we think we can be Elite without being snobby or arrogant.
  • We didn’t want to use the word Academy to describe a team because we already use it to describe our overall design for our U9 and below groups, as well as some training sessions for our older groups. We believe that an Academy means something larger than any individual team.
  • In cases where we only had one team at an age group, we chose to call it Elite rather than Premier because it’s kind of silly to identify something as the best of a group of one. Those teams are still Elite though. And in the event that we add a 2nd team, players will have the chance to be promoted rather than demoted.
  • For our younger age groups, the Blue/Orange/White teams could be organized to form equal teams, could be randomly chosen, or we could try to put the most developed players on one team or the other.

Although some may disagree with these names, they make the most sense to us. Now if we can just get all the other soccer clubs and leagues to agree… 🙂

 

Posted in Club, Players, Psychology, Youth Program
2 comments on “What’s in a name?
  1. Wendy Strippelhoff says:

    I think the names you chose for the teams makes perfect sense! The other clubs art trying to SOUND amazing, but you guys ARE AMAZING! But you know, I drank the Kool-aid 😉

  2. Brett says:

    Thanks, Wendy! Which flavor, and is there any more?

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