Saint Peter Middle School

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Parent And Player Handbook

Welcome to St. Peter High School Girls Soccer. The following pages are designed to give a broader perspective on the nature of the soccer program at St. Peter High School, and what the expectations are of coaches, players, and parents involved with the sport.


Soccer is a team sport, and that’s how we coach it. It is also how we expect players to play it. When players choose to become a part of the SPHS soccer program they will be expected to assume the same ultimate philosophy as the coaches, and that is to do what is best for the team. Everyone has individual goals, and personal preferences related to the game, but in the end it is expected that players accept the role given to them by the coaching staff, knowing that it is in the best interest of the team.

The moment of competition is not where program success is found or lost. It is in the training. For the team to be successful, every player needs to be at every practice giving 100 percent. It is then, and only then, that players are ready for whatever situation arises. In the end, all players are significant in a team’s success. We will accept no less from our players.  

The 7-12 Program

 The girls soccer program is a 7-12 program. What that means is that every girl in grades 7-12 can be placed on a roster at any level of the program. It is not considered acceleration for a 7-10th grade player to be placed on a varsity roster. However, the coaching staff believes very strongly in players competing in their appropriate (relative) age bracket, and that parents should clearly understand the pro’s and con’s of a very young player being placed on a varsity squad. It is not simply a matter of physical readiness. There is a significant emotional component related to the expectations and pressures related to varsity play, and few younger players are prepared for that.

This program currently rosters three levels of play, C-squad, B-squad (JV), and Varsity. In reality, it is rare that a 7th or 8th grade player would be placed on a varsity roster. In theory, 7th and 8th grade players will be placed on the C-squad roster, 9th and 10th grade players on the B-Squad, and 11th and 12th grade players on Varsity. Unfortunately, numbers do not always work out that way and kids need to be moved around. Our rule of thumb is that if a player would move more than one level, we will involve the parents in the decision.


Program Goals

1.     To develop players both athletically and academically, emphasizing effort, desire, heart, and character. The program is as much about who players are as it is about how they play the game. The amount of time required for athletic participation should not interfere with academic success.

2.     To create an environment that encourages that player to play through their graduating year, improving their game and their contribution to the squad.

3.     To develop proper attitudes toward winning and losing, success and failure. Soccer is a competitive sport and as such, players play to win, especially at the varsity level. Our program will be no different. However, in the big picture, soccer is still a game and losing does not define our worth, our character, or our esteem. C-squad emphasizes technical improvement and fundamentals, focusing on team, technical skill, and love for the game. B-squad emphasizes advanced technical skills and cursory tactical advancement, and provides an opportunity for older players not quite skilled enough for varsity play to still enjoy the game.

4.     To develop and maintain the highest level of sportsmanship and develop respect for fellow athletes whether they are teammates, members of other St. Peter athletic teams, or members of opposing teams.

5.     To develop proper attitudes toward individual health habits, appearance on and off the field, and citizenship in and out of school.

6.     To encourage competition not only for the tangible rewards available, but also for the development of positive attitudes that make athletic competition valuable and worthwhile.

7.     To recognize each participant as an individual who will conduct herself in a manner befitting her responsibilities, and develop the kind of rapport with the broader school community that will improve the total educational program.

Expectations of players

Minnesota State High School League: Every player has signed the document indicating they understand the rules of eligibility set forth by the MSHSL. These rules govern performance in the classroom, and behavior outside the classroom, including social settings, and including the off-season. It is the program’s expectation that students abide by these rules both in and out of season. Failure to do so will require implementation of MSHSL established consequences depending on the infraction.

Participation: Players are expected to attend all practices and games. Absences from practice are discouraged. If a player intends to miss practice, the coach should be notified at least one day prior to the absence. Soccer is a sport that requires cooperation and timing with teammates on the field, and as such, missing practices will influence teammate’s ability to develop a comfort level with each other. Players repeatedly missing practice will most likely see a reduction in playing time. For details on SPHS attendance/game day policies, refer to the athletic handbook.

Injury: Injuries are an unfortunate but very real component of high school sports. As much as coaches want players on the field, and players want to be playing, it is vital that players take the necessary time to heal. When a player is healed, and approved to return to play by a qualified medical professional, they will return to the field as soon as they are in condition to do so. Physical Education Rule: If a student fails to completely participate in physical education during the school day, they can not play soccer after school.

Practices: All players are expected to participate in 2 practices daily during the initial week of practice. Players on the Varsity and JV squads (determined by the end of the first week) may continue 2 practices each day until the first competition. Note the practice schedule. Once school begins, practice (on non-game days) will be held from 3:30-5:15. Inclement weather will not cancel practice. Showing up late to practice, or not at all, will make it challenging for coaches to use that player in a game.

Games: Please review the game schedule. At home games, players should arrive at the school 60 minutes prior to game time, and be on the field, ready to participate, 40 minutes before kickoff. Please note the bus departure time for away games. Missing the bus means missing the game. Players may not attend an away game via non-school transportation. All players traveling are expected to leave and return on the bus. SPHS Game Day Rule: Players must be in school third and fourth block the day of a match in order to be on the roster for that match. Cell Phone Rule: During away games, players will turn in their cell phones as they enter the bus. Phones will be returned when the bus is 15 miles from the high school. Players should not bring their phones on the field during home games.

Equipment: All players are expected to be properly equipped for practice and games. Shin guards must be worn for both practice and games. ALL SHIN GUARDS MUST BE NOCSAE CERTIFIED, with the NOCSEA seal AND height range clearly imprinted on the guard. This will be checked the first day of training and players who fail to have the appropriate shin guards will be prohibited from play until proper gear is obtained. All players should have cleats for play. Soccer cleats are unique from other cleats, and have no toe cleat (front cleat). Players should bring water to all practices and games. Players should remove all jewelry before practices and games.

Uniform Code: All players will be given a uniform by the school for competition. It is the player’s responsibility to manage the uniform. Lost uniforms will result in the player purchasing the replacement. MSHSL rules require that all players wear matching uniforms. This includes clothing worn under the uniform for warmth in the colder weather, and head bands. For warmth wear, if a player chooses to wear something (like Under Armor) the upper garment must be white, and leggings must be black. Head bands must be of school colors (navy, white, red). Players with visible pre-wrap must use a color of the school uniform. At the completion of the season all uniform and equipment must be returned. No one on the team can receive a post season award until all players have returned their equipment. 

Academic Performance: Clear guidelines have been established by the school district on the relationship between academic performance and athletics. Players and parents should familiarize themselves with those guidelines. The player has the responsibility to complete work missed through participation in sports. 

Behavior: Probably the most challenging task for any team is bringing together players from a variety of backgrounds to form a single unit. That is the expectation on this team. All players are to be treated with dignity and respect. Players should show respect to team captains and coaches. Players found disrespecting another player, hazing, or generally creating a hazardous environment for another player can be suspended from the team.

Lettering: In order to earn a varsity letter, a player must play in 50 percent of the varsity game halves over the course of the season. For example, if the varsity team plays 15 games during the season, this means there are 30 “halves” during the season. To earn a letter a player must have played in 15 of those halves. Coaches have the ability to award letters in special circumstances. 

Team Captains

Team Captains at the varsity level are selected by the coaching staff.  Selections will be based on a players ability to work with and follow through on coach directives, attitude, leadership potential, work ethic, and history with the team. This is not a popularity contest, or a reflection of class standing or time on the varsity squad. Captains play a major role in the team’s success, and need to be mature and a reliable reflection of the coaching staff. Team Captains are expected to uphold the qualities listed in this manual. Failure to do so can result in the removal of captain status from the player. Please note the qualities in this manual go beyond responsibilities on the field. The team captain should be the role model for the character of a soccer player in this program.

 Obligations of Team Captains

·          Role Model – Hardworking, committed, leader by example, dependable.

·          Demonstrate initiative, accepts responsibility, discourage gossip and “scapegoating.”

·          Promote team unity. Communicate issues to coach. Willingness to follow team rules.

·          Display Enthusiasm. Encourage effort and improvement in teammates.

·          Exhibits good citizenship and judgment in social situations. Committed to be alcohol/drug free.

·          Good school behavior – Acceptable academic progress

·          Knowledge of your position.

·          Help set up and break down the practices. Ask team members to assist when needed.

·          Give credit to others. Give special credit to the “unsung heroes.”

·          Meet regularly after practice and after a game with your coach.

Parent – Coach Communication

As an athlete at St. Peter High School, your child will experience some of the most rewarding moments of their lives. It is important to understand that there also may be times when things do not go the way your child wishes. This is the opportunity for your child to talk with their coach and discuss the situation. When your child handles the problem, it becomes part of the learning and maturation process. 

There may also be situations when the parent desires a conversation with the coach. This is encouraged. There is only one person who knows exactly why the head coach does what he/she does, and it is the head coach. Having conversations with other parents or community members about your frustrations only promotes speculation, gossip, and scapegoating. All are dangerous and destructive to the future of girls soccer. In addition, if those conversations are happening in front of current players, it creates a divide on the squad and serious morale issues, all of which hurt your child in the long run.

It’s important that both parties have a clear understanding of the other’s position. The coaches want to know how you feel, and we want you to come to us when there is a problem. It is the only way we can ensure you have accurate information. Please follow the following procedures to help promote a resolution.

24-hour rule: Please do not attempt to confront a coach immediately before or after a contest. Whether we have won or lost it is an emotionally charged time both for parent and coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote resolutions, as the coaching staff is not prepared to answer your questions.

No “Protected Informants”: The coaching staff believes that if and when there are parental concerns regarding the program, they should be “up front and on the table.” We will NOT engage in conversations unless the source of the information brought to the table is revealed. If a parent feels strongly enough about an issue, and they believe strongly enough that they are “right” about that issue, then they should have the confidence to put their name behind their words. If the informant is not wiling to stand behind their comments, you can be relatively certain those words are misguided, inaccurate, or gossip. For example, if you approach the coaches and say “I heard from another parent…” we will stop you and ask who it was. If you can’t or won’t tell us, the conversation ends.

Topics we can discuss: Parents should speak directly to the coach to discuss the concern. I assure you the Athletic Director or a School Board member cannot answer your questions—it is the coaches who watch your child for 2 hours every day for 10 weeks. Please feel free to come to us with questions regarding strengths and weaknesses in your child’s soccer development, ways to practice and improve outside of organized practices, lettering, philosophical concerns about the program, issues or rumors you would like clarified, clarifications on processes, college prospects, players attitude and effort, or when you’d like to share something your child is upset or frustrated about. In the case of the last issue, we will listen fully, and have a conversation with the player at the next practice.

Topics we will NOT discuss: There are simply items that parents can not influence, nor should they try. We will listen to your concern, but will not engage in conversation or attempt to resolve your frustration. These topics include playing time, position played, level of play (C, B or varsity), parental gossip (beyond clarification), players other than your child, parents other than you, schedule of opponents, or call ups at the end of the season. Parents can know in advance that the answer to all these questions is consistent, “It was what was best for the team.”

If the concern is not resolved, parents may call the Athletic Director to arrange a conference. A meeting will be arranged with the coach, parent, player, and Athletic Director. At this meeting, the appropriate next step can be determined.

Do’s and Don’t for Parents

Do Reinforce--Be positive with your daughter. Let them know that they are accomplishing something by being part of the team. Encourage them to continue to work hard and improve under all circumstances.

Do Be Enthusiastic--As a fan, you are entitled to cheer your head off, but don't become belligerent. Show respect for coaches, officials and opponents.

Do Insist-- that the athletes respect team rules, school rules, game officials, and sportsmanship. Character development begins with self-control, for you and your child.

Do Encourage-- athletes to believe in themselves.

Don’t Hide the Truth—If a player is not seeing playing time, it is either because the coaching staff has not seen the level of play necessary to be successful, or the player is not as strong on the field as a teammate. Do not create excuses if they are not playing. Encourage them to work hard, do their best, and improve their game.

Don’t Overemphasize Winning—. Encourage your athlete to play because they love the game.

Don’t Gossip and Rumor Mill--Remember that the coach is involved because of a desire to work with young athletes. The coach is an experienced professional. Coaches have different ways of dealing with people and situations. Athlete's lives are enriched by interaction with different types of leaders. Let coaches do their job.  

Booster Club

Any organization related to raising funds for the girls’ soccer program is independent of St. Peter High School and the schools soccer coaches. All activities must be clearly identified as NOT of the High School, but rather of the boosters’ organization. Program coaches should not be expected to require or assist in any fundraising activity at any time.

All gifts, equipment, or donations to the soccer program MUST be pre-arranged through the high school. The school will cover costs, and the boosters reimburse the school. Questions regarding procedures should be addressed to the athletic director.

Contact Information 

Karl Larson, Head Coach                                

507-317-3204 (c)

507-934-2316 (h)