All posts by Mike Barnes

Competitive Teams Coordinator

Parent Survey Results – We Are Listening

[Text of an email sent out to all ASC family members earlier today]

Alameda Soccer Families,

Thank you very much for the families that took the time to complete the Annual Parent Survey. Feedback of this nature is crucial in Club development and is looked at closely to identify areas for improvement. The following have been identified through this and previous years surveys as areas within the Club families feel we have room for improvement. Initiatives outlining what the Club is doing to address these areas are included.

Coaches Training – As a volunteer based organization we rely heavily on the support of our dedicated community volunteers. The majority of our coaches are volunteers. In an effort to provide training and mentorship to these volunteers we teamed with Challenger Sports 3 years ago to not only provide our players access to professional training, but to expose our coaches to it as well. This year we have taken the additional step of hiring Lee Dunne as our Director of Coaching. Lee, along with the support of our Board of Directors, will focus on the development of age-specific coaching curricula and the fostering of a Club philosophy with respect to coaching and player development. This year coaches will be provided mandatory National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) age-specific training which will consist of classroom and field training. The NSCAA course highlights player development, principles of play, technique, and tactics with small-sided games. Coaches will receive an age-appropriate license following the completion of this course. Please help us welcome Lee to the ASC Family; his experience and qualifications will be a valuable asset to the Club.

Referees – The Board has identified the need to bolster not only the number of referees affiliated with our Club, but to increase their training and mentorship opportunities. Highly trained and motivated referees results in the increased safety of our players and a higher quality of play on the pitch. Scheduling of referees is managed through Jack London Youth Soccer Sports League (JLYSSL). Teams within ASC our required to fulfill a predetermined number of credits through referee affiliation. At the completion of a season JLYSSL administers a fine per each credit not fulfilled. These fines can be thousands of dollars. In an effort to eliminate these fines, bolster numbers of referees affiliated with our Club, provide quality training and mentorship to our referee pool, and to eliminate the burden of our volunteer coaches having to find referees for their games, ASC has hired John Richer to take the lead as Referee Coordinator and Development. Please help us welcome John to the ASC Family; his experience and qualifications will be a valuable asset to the Club.

Communication – Effective and timely communication of Club business and the ability for the Board to respond to inquires and requests of parents and players is something we are working to improve.

  • ASC has partnered with Team Snap on the Competitive side of our Club. Through Team Snap we are able to manage various registrations at a lower cost to the Club. The Team Snap registration platform is an integrated data base which provides Club wide administrative access as well as individual Team pages for our competitive teams so coaches are able to communicate and schedule effectively with their players families. The cost of individual Team Snap pages will now be paid for by the Club rather than by the team. We look to expand the use of Team Snap on the Rec side of the Club in the near future.
  • A new and improved website will launch in the near future. ASC, again has partnered with Team Snap to develop and maintain what we are confident will be a highly effective tool to provide Club information.
  • A newly elected and rapidly growing Board of directors is eager to help improve Club communication and efficiencies.

Board of Directors – The Alameda Soccer Club is a volunteer, non-profit organization. An elected Board of Directors runs ASC. Each director is a volunteer, participating in the management of the club and its programs. This past year the Board actively solicited additional support to help support Club goals and objectives. Our Club has shown tremendous growth over the years and we’re extremely thankful for the dedication and commitment of all our Board members; past present and future. On January 9, 2017 the 2017 Board (effective January 23, 2017) was elected. The turnout and support we have with this newly elected Board is unprecedented and gives me a great deal of excitement for what’s to come. The ASC Board of Directors names and contact details are posted on this site. For their roles, responsibilities, and open positions click here.

Field Improvements – With the exception of Hornet Field, ASC has little control over the maintenance and development of our soccer fields within Alameda. However, we do work closely with ARPD to ensure our teams have adequate field space and the fields are maintained to provide a safe and enjoyable playing experience for our children.

Outdoor Futsal Court

  • Some may have noticed that directly adjacent to Hornet field there are unused and now dilapidated tennis and basketball courts (formerly part of the Alameda Naval Weapons Station recreational center).
  • Alameda Soccer Club, with the backing of the City of Alameda Parks and Recreation Department, lobbied for and gained City Council approval to amend our current Hornet field lease to include these tennis and basketball courts. In 2016, the
  • ASC Board approved initial funding and in 2017 renovation and re-purposing into 3 full-sized Futsal courts will begin.
  • How will we use this space? ASC plans to fully utilize these valuable ‘all-weather’ courts in several ways. First and foremost, the courts will provide ASC-controlled practice and weekend scrimmage space, for ASC teams, in-season. Likewise, it will allow us to have practice and scrimmage space when all grass fields are closed for rain in-season and for maintenance in the off-season. Additionally, it will offer easier access (than our current grass fields) to our Champions League players with physical challenges/disabilities.
  • In addition, many are already aware of our long standing and successful partnership with Alameda Futsal Club (AFC). AFC’s ‘Friday Night Futsal’ and Winter Futsal League have been a mainstay for many of our players for years. Upon completion of our Futsal courts, ASC and AFC will continue to work together to expand their Futsal programming to include skill clinics and tournaments.
  • As the sport of soccer has gained popularity and our membership has grown, access to grass fields has not. Renovation of this space provides additional access and expands our ability to deliver more soccer opportunities to our players!

Estuary Park Athletic Field Complex
Estuary Park Athletic Field Complex Renovation Project is scheduled for competition in the Fall of 2017. ASC will receive access to this facility at a discounted rate which should provide an exceptional playing environment for our children. For more information please click here.

Sponsorship & Fundraising – Due to a lack of volunteers in 2016 our Sponsorship Program was not as profitable as in years past. Sponsors are a key source of Club revenue and are crucial in keeping registration fees down as well as funding Club initiatives and improvement projects. In addition to filling the Sponsorship Director Board positon we will be working with new Board members on creating additional community-based fundraising opportunities to help further grow and support the Club. If you would like to sponsor a team or know of someone who would please contact our Sponsorship Coordinator at

ASC has shown a tremendous amount of growth over the past few years. We look forward to continuing to improve the Club to provide a high quality, unique, and positive community-based playing experience for our players and their families. If you would like to help support our Club in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Mike Barnes
Alameda Soccer Club

Tryout Times For Competitive Soccer – Birth Years 1998-2002

U14 Girls Alameda Islanders 2015
U14 Girls Alameda Islanders 2015

Tryouts for those born 1998 – 2002 are scheduled for 2/20 & 2/21 at Rittler Park (map).

Register NOW for tryouts on Sportability. Also bring water and, if possible,  a soccer ball.

Finally, do not wear their team uniforms, or any t-shirt that relates to a specific group, organization, or local team.  Kids should wear a plain t-shirt and dress appropriate for soccer and the weather.


2016 Islander Coaches

As we get closer to the kickoff of the 2016 Islanders Competitive season I wanted to provide those interested with a list of coaches for both the girls and boys teams as it stands today.

Special thanks to these coaches for stepping up to volunteer. It is a huge commitment and certainly does not go unnoticed by the Islanders Community.

As you will see below, based on tryouts registration numbers, there may be opportunities to form multiple teams within a particular age group. If you have an interest in coaching, assisting, or becoming a team manager please let me know. Email me at

2016 Boys Coaches

Age Bracket/Team # Name
U9, 2008 – Team 1 Daniel Duncan
U9, 2008 – Team 2 Jeremy Madsen (If numbers support 2nd team)
U10, 2007 – Team 1 Nathan Babbitt
U10, 2007 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U11, 2006 – Team 1 James Murray
U11, 2006 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U12, 2005 – Team 1 Eugene Demmler & Nick McNeil
U12, 2005 – Team 2 David Watt
U13, 2004 – Team 1 Chris Lonsdale
U13, 2004 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U14, 2003 – Team 1 Kevin Krajewski
U14, 2003 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U15, 2002 – Team 1 Cameron Fowler
U15, 2002 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U16, 2001 – Team 1 Eugene Demmler & Chris Lonsdale
U16, 2001 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U17, 2000 – Team 1 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)

2016 Girls Coaches

Age Bracket/Team # Name
U9, 2008 – Team 1 Maggie Essman
U9, 2008 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U10, 2007 – Team 1 Plamen Micovic
U10, 2007 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U11, 2006 – Team 1 Nate Firestone
U11, 2006 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U12, 2005 – Team 1 Mike Barnes
U12, 2005 – Team 2 David Lekashman
U13, 2004 – Team 1 Tom Powell
U13, 2004 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U14, 2003 – Team 1 Seth Feldman
U14, 2003 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U15, 2002 – Team 1 Nick McNiel
U15, 2002 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U16, 2001 – Team 1 Adam Butler
U16, 2001 – Team 2 TBD (If numbers support 2nd team)
U17, 2000 – Team 1 John Hung

Pre-Tryout Training

ASC will be offering pre-tryout training sessions on January 16th & 17th for players interested in trying out for the ASC Islanders Competitive program (tryouts are on 1/23 & 1/24).

These training sessions are designed to help get the kids back into the swing of things and introduce them to some of new players within their revised age brackets. It will also give the families an opportunity to speak with members of the ASC competitive committee.

Pre-training tryout sessions will be held at Rittler Park in Alameda.

Mark your calendar and refer to the following Age Chart to determine which age group your son or daughter will be in for the pre-tryout training and the times they should attend.

2016 spring training times

Registration is not necessary for the training.  Sessions will be run by Challenger Sports Professional training staff, and Lee Dunne, Director of Coaching.

2016 season Competitive Soccer Tryouts

Tryouts for the 2016 Alameda Islander Competitive soccer season will be held at Rittler Park on January 23rd and 24th. Please note that boys and girls with birth dates prior to 2003 will have tryouts on February 20th and 21st after the high school season ends.

Mark your calendar and refer to the 2016 Tryout Registration page to determine which age group your son or daughter will be in for the 2016 season and the times they should attend and how to register.

Tryouts will be run by Lee Dunne, the Challenger Sport professional training staff, and ASC coaches.

Alameda Soccer Club Approach to USSF Age Change Mandate

Recently the US Soccer Federation (USSF) announced important mandated changes. These changes impact every US Soccer Affiliated league and every club in the USA.

What it all means to our club and the leagues we play in?

First, the number of players on the field will be reduced at younger ages; this will be great for soccer development. U9 and U10 will play 7 v 7; U11 and U12 will play 9 v 9; and U13 and above will play 11 v 11.

Second, the cutoff date for determining a player’s soccer age will change from August 1 to January 1. In other words, players born in the same calendar year will be the same soccer age.

ASC has gone through an extensive process to determine how we will approach those changes. The approaches vary depending on the age of a player and whether the player is in our Islanders competitive program (who participate in the NorCal Premier league) or our ASC recreational program (who participate in the Jack London Youth Soccer League).

The Norcal Premier Board has made league level decisions on changes to comply with the US Soccer mandate for the Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 competitions.

  • Norcal has announced that U9-13 age groups (players born between 2002 and 2007) will transition to the new formats and age cutoff dates in Spring 2016. Older age groups will transition in Fall 2016.
  • Jack London Youth Soccer League, where our U10-14 recreational teams compete and CYSA District 4, where our U16-19 recreational teams compete, have not yet decided how they will handle transitions to the new mandate.

Obviously, we are required to follow the mandates of the playing leagues where we participate.

Our plan for implementing the USSF mandate is below. We will continue to be flexible and discuss any situations where we need to make exceptions to our general guidelines; if you want to explore an exception, please speak with your child’s coach and the coach will present that request to our Islanders Competitive Committee and Director of Coaching.

Alameda Islanders Competitive Program

We understand that the transition is unsettling, but please know that we will work very hard to make sure that this works for everyone.

We would like all Islanders teams to form by calendar year. However, we will continue with our current policy whereby players who are identified as being impact players on the first team in the next age group may be moved to that more challenging environment. In particular, in our older age groups, we may aggressively move some high school bound players up to the next age group in order to accelerate their soccer development. We will also continue to allow players to try out in any age group for which they are eligible to play, but discourage that practice unless approved by our Islanders Competitive Committee and Director of Coaching.


U9-14 Teams (birth years 2003 to 2009)

We will form our Spring 2016 U9-14 teams by calendar year. This affects players born in years from 2003 to 2009. Tryouts will start on January 23rd and 24th for players born in 2003, 2004 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and the third weekend of February (February 20th and 21st) for players born in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002,. We have contracted with Challenger Sports (our professional trainers) to facilitate tryouts and to accurately evaluate players to assist us in forming teams. An email (and blog post) will follow shortly with additional information with respect to pre-tryout training sessions and tryouts for the 2016 season.

U8 Developmental Teams (birth year 2009)

We will allow players with a 2009 birth year to participate in Islanders tryouts. However, a more appropriate format for younger players looking to transition to competitive soccer, may be our U8 Development teams.

The objective of the U8 Developmental League is to provide players and clubs with an introductory and age-appropriate playing environment under the supervision of our club’s professional coaching staff. The proposed league format allows players to more frequently engage in age-appropriate match situations, fostering an environment where players can touch the ball more each game while demonstrating their creativity and improving their problem solving skills more so than is possible in larger league formats.

We anticipate that we will enter a boys and girls team in the Norcal 4 v 4 (+goalkeeper) U8 Developmental league. This will require travel to a few away games for those who participate. We strongly recommend that from a soccer development perspective that younger players play 4 v 4 for as long as they are able.

U15-18 Teams (birth years 1997 to 2001)

Our current U14-18 teams (that is, the teams that we designate with the ’97-01 nomenclature) will remain together for Spring 2016. Norcal does not allow the age switch in the Spring for those teams because many of them are participating in competitions that continue from the Fall (State Cup).

Our Current U14 teams (the current ’01s)

Our current U14 teams are caught somewhat in the middle and we settled on an approach that we think makes the most sense to enhance team stability and finding the best soccer development fit. Players in this age group will play in their calendar year age group in the Spring. That is, the players born in 2002 who are on those teams will try out and teams will be formed in February as part of the Fall 2016 U15 (2002) age group. The players born in 2001 who are on those teams will be placed into teams of players born in 2001. The ’01 teams (including 02’ players) entered into NorCal State Cup will continue to play in those competitions in the Spring. Those teams will train together in the Spring until their State Cup season ends. We recognize that this is not perfect, but given the situation, we think it is what works best.

Coaching Staff

We have not yet finalized who will coach our various teams next year. However, we plan to approve Islanders coaches and announce this after our January Annual Meeting (on 1/11/2016), as is our customary practice. If you have an interest in coaching a competitive team please contact Mike Barnes.

Recreational Program (U6-U19)

Our recreational players (and parents) generally prioritize their reasons for playing in our club differently from our Islanders players. In particular, it is much more important for our recreational players to play with their friends, who are often their classmates or neighbors (typically, our recreational teams are comprised of players in the same grade-we expect that will continue). We will continue to form teams based on these factors. Players will be allowed to register for whatever age group that they are eligible. This will mean that some of the recreational players will be playing with and against players much older than them.


As you can see, there is no one right answer for how to approach the USSF Mandate. We tried to come up with approaches that best addressed the priorities of specific groups. We understand that there will be some players who prefer a different outcome, but please keep in mind this mandate is nation-wide and ASC is one of thousands of Clubs going through the same transition. We are confident that with the strong community we have built within the club and the continued support from our volunteer-based organization we will successfully navigate this transition. We encourage you to speak with your coach or the ASC Competitive Coordinator, Mike Barnes so that you can understand our recommendations.


Eugene Demmler & Vince San Nicolas
ASC Co-Presidents