Purpose: To give each player an incentive to work harder and feel like they are accomplishing a particular goal or skill.
How it works: Each player can earn one of each patch type per season. Stronger players are expected to do something a bit more complex than developing players to earn a given patch. EVERY player could earn every patch if they work hard enough and try.
It is up to the coach to decide when a particular patch is earned. There may be a reason for delaying the awarding of a patch in a given occurrence. Aside from the juggling and first goal patch, any player who asks for a patch after a particular feat will not receive the patch at that time. In other words, don’t ask for it… earn it.
This is meant to be a fun and challenging incentive. This is not meant to be a team challenge between players; however, the hope is that once some players receive patches, other players will be motivated to increase their ability and try new skills so they can earn patches as well
The 1st Goal Patch, aka ‘The Rooney’ This patch is awarded after the player’s first goal of the season in league or tournament game play. The goal has to be an official goal that is recorded for the game. Consecutive goals will not earn another patch. This is for the player’s first goal only.
Some examples: A forward who takes off after an opponent breaking away and manages to prevent the shot. A defender, faced with a 3 on 1 manages to break things up. A keeper who makes a heads up smart play to deny what should be an easy goal. Defenders who go above and beyond during a match – being ‘the wall’. Keepers who make an inordinate number of saves or a single spectacular one
The Hustle Patch aka ‘The Pelé’ Players who play an entire match running and hustling into position will earn this patch. This is also showing an understanding of creating space.
The Challenge Patch, aka ‘The Sneijder’ This patch is awarded for leadership and sportsmanship, qualities any player hoping to play at the next level will need to exhibit. One of the key ways to earn this patch will be selflessness in setting up scoring opportunities by passing, crossing, etc. A goal scored by anyone benefits the team. An assist is more important than actually putting the ball in the net, because at this level the assist is usually what sets up the sure thing.
However, this patch can be awarded for all sorts of things... congratulating opponents who score, helping teammates or opponents out on the field, exhibiting gentlemanly behavior on the field, etc.
The Blood, Sweat and Tears Patch, aka ‘The Giggs’ This patch is for toughness, bravery, and plain old grit. The goal is not for players to try get hurt, to play hurt or to hurt someone else. This patch is for players who get knocked around on the pitch and keep on going after the ball. Soccer is a contact sport and it can be very rough sometimes. It’s the nature of the sport. This patch is not to make or encourage a player to get or play hurt, but if they exhibit bravery or toughness in a situation, they get the patch.
The Juggling Patch Program
The juggling patch program is to reward players as they become better soccer ball jugglers. The hope is that the patches will help motivate players to juggle on their own at home, before games and practices, etc. so they will get additional ball touches over and beyond those at their scheduled practices and games.
Patches will be awarded at the following levels:
To be eligible for a patch, juggles must be done consecutively without the ball touching the ground and MUST be done in front of a coach. Any body part except hands and arms can be used to juggle; feet, thighs, chest, shoulders and head.