Mercer Island FC Newsletter
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January 2016  
Here's to more great soccer in 2016!
This Month's Newsletter Content - 
      Toby's Take

2015 was a great year for Mercer Island FC with so many wonderful moments of fun, success, growth, and friendship. Many of our teams achieved great success on the field, but the most important thing is that all of our players gained lasting memories and personal development through their experiences with the Club. None of this would be possible without the support of our parents and volunteers, and for that we want to take this opportunity to say "Thank You"!
As we turn to 2016, the Club is planning for another fantastic year. We'll continue to provide great programs for the kids in our community to learn, grow and have fun playing the beautiful game of soccer!
Here are just a few of the programs that we have planned for early 2016...

Winter Sharpness Training Sessions  - 
Sorry, this popular program is sold out for this year.
The Winter Sharpness Sessions are a fast-paced training environment providing players with activities and games that are purposefully fun while simultaneously developing their fundamental skill base. Your child will learn the dribbling moves of Messi, Ronaldo, Dempsey, Yedlin, Morris and the like! Taught by MIFC Technical Director Darren Sawatzky, VP of Player Development Aaron Byers, and a stable of Professional coaches in our program.
When:  6:30 - 8:00pm Fridays: January 16, 23 & 30; February 6, 13, 27th 
Where:  Mercer Island High School Stadium 
Cost:  $105.00
We are also providing something for the parents to learn a little soccer too! Parents are included (if they would like to stay) and will learn with their own trainer - Free of charge! It's not too late for you to learn how to play better soccer with your young players! Come out and learn the same fundamentals MIFC teaches U8 boys and girls. We'll teach you how to dribble, juggle, pass and possess the ball. The only rule is to Have Fun! 
The last session will include scrimmaging with your players! 

U8-U9 Junior RCL
MIFC continues to partner with our Premier ClubEastside FC, to offer a Mercer Island based U8-U9 Junior RCL program for Mercer Island players. The program is designed to teach young players the fundamentals of the game with an emphasis on skill development, player confidence, initiative, and sense of teamwork. There are no tryouts; all players are placed on teams within the program. 

For more information, check out
MIHS Mid-Winter Break Camp
Mercer Island High School Boys Coach (and EYSA Technical Director) Colin Rigby is once again hosting a soccer camp for future MIHS boys and girls players. This is a great chance to get some extra work in during the mid-winter break with Colin and his coaches.

When: February 15-18 (4 day camp), 9am-Noon
Where: Mercer Island High School stadium
Who: Boys and girls ages 6-13 and 14-18 (players will be grouped by age and skill level
Cost: $115 

To register for the camp, email Colin at

EYSA Spring Academy / Get Ready for Select
MIFC and EYSA will be offering the popular Spring Academy / Get Ready for Select training program starting in March. Under the guidance of EYSA Technical Directors Colin Rigby and Unai Goikoetxeta, the training is run by professional coaches on multiple days and locations for you to choose from. The tentative schedule is:
  • Issaquah: Mondays and Wednesdays 5:30-7pm, and Saturdays 11:30-1pm
  • Bellevue: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-5:30pm, and Saturdays 9-10:30am
  • Mercer Island: Tuesdays and Thursday 6-7:30pm, and Wednesdays 3-4:30pm.
Information on registration and field locations will be available soon.
On behalf of all of us at MIFC, here's to a great 2016. See you on the pitch!

United States Soccer Federation Mandates Team Formation and Small-Sided Soccer changes

The US Soccer Federation (USSF), which oversees all soccer organizations in the United States, has mandated several changes to youth soccer that will be implemented all over the country. First, the changes affect players and team formation by aligning age groups with the calendar year rather than the school year. Second, the changes standardize small-sided participation and field size based on player age groups.
To comply with the USSF mandate, Mercer Island FC spent the past couple of months working with the other member clubs of the Eastside Youth Soccer Association (EYSA) developing a plan for implementing these changes. All EYSA clubs (and actually most clubs in the greater Puget Sound area) plan to implement birth-year based registration for ALL age groups by the fall of 2016. Additionally, to comply with the mandate for small-sided games, EYSA clubs are planning to also make many (but not all) of these changes by the fall of 2016. In addition to the information below, MIFC has scheduled information sessions for coaches and parents -
  • Sunday, January 31st, 3:30-4:30pm at the Community Center (coaches only)
  • Sunday, February 28th, 4-5:00pm at the Mercer Island Public Library
  • Thursday, March 10th, 7-8:00pm at the Community Center
  • Saturday, March 26th, 10-11:00am at the Community Center
In spite of the perceived complexity of these USSF mandated changes, MIFC is adopting a simple "golden rule" for our implementation: we will not require changes to existing Recreational or Select team rosters with returning players (although Select teams are still formed based on tryouts). We are essentially waiving all play-up restrictions so school class groups can remain intact, but teams would play to the age of their oldest player. Details for the implementation in Recreational and Select follow below and in the pages linked here.
If you have questions, suggestions or concerns about these USSF mandates (and/or the EYSA and MIFC implementation), please do one or more of the following:
It is our goal to provide a clear blueprint and a smooth transition for all of our MIFC teams and families. Should you wish to read in more detail about the entire set of US Soccer's Player Development Initiatives, click here.

Mercer Island's Jordan Morris now a Seattle Sounder

If you've been paying attention to soccer news the past month or so, it's been hard to miss Jordan Morris' name. Jordan was PAC-12 Player of the year and was named 2015  College Cup Offensive Most Outstanding Player after leading his Stanford Cardinal team to their first NCAA Men's Soccer title. He was named the MAC Hermann Award winner as the collegiate soccer player of the year. Capping it all off was the Sounders FC announcement last week that they had signed Jordan to the largest "home grown" player contract in league history. 

We couldn't be more proud to have an alum of Mercer Island FC, Eastside FC and Mercer Island High School achieve the success Jordan has. MIHS Boys Coach Colin Rigby had this to say about his time with Jordan, "Even with his immense talent, he was one of the hardest working players I've ever been around. Jordan is a genuine role model for all soccer players on Mercer Island. We wish him the best of luck with the Sounders and we are so proud of his accomplishments".

Here are links to some articles and videos on Jordan - 

soccer2uniteMercer Island FC Parnters with Soccer2Unite 

For the past several years, Mercer Island FC has partnered with Soccer2Unite to send gently used soccer gear to Africa. Suzanne Fortune and her team of dedicated volunteers travel to Africa to distribute the equipment, meet with the players and their coaches, and watch them play in matches.

Earlier this month Suzanne traveled to Uganda where she distributed gear from Mercer Island FC, Bellevue Youth Soccer Club, Northwest Nationals and other local clubs. Pictured above is a team of boys sporting the MIFC gear and logos. 

We are proud to partner with Soccer2Unite to see our gently used uniforms, balls, shoes and other equipment get a 2nd life in Africa. MIFC will be holding equipment collection efforts where you can drop off gear this year at Select Tryouts, at our booth at the Mercer Island Summer Celebration and at the EYSA Pre-season Recreational Jamboree. Look for more information on collection events in upcoming newsletters.

For more information on Soccer2Unite, check out their website or on Facebook - 
Toby's Take TobysTake

It used to be that winter was a slow season for youth soccer. Not any more! From MIFC Select teams competing in Washington Youth Soccer State Cups to our Friday Night Winter Sharpness Training for players and parents to Boys & Girls Club indoor Futsal, it continues to be busy with plenty of opportunities for our boys and girls to work on their game. Coming soon are the MIHS Boys Soccer sponsored mid-winter camp (email Colin Rigby at, the EYSA Spring Academy / Get ready for Select training sessions (EYSA Player Development page), and Boys & Girls Club Spring Soccer (register at Boys & Girls Club website). 

Behind the scenes, we have been working hard on planning the implementation of the USSF mandated age and small sided soccer changes. The article and links above capture much of the information, but we know there will still be questions. So we've scheduled information sessions for MIFC coaches (Sunday, 1/31) and parents in the next two months (sessions in late February and March). Check out the MIFC website for the latest details on the USSF changes and on the informational meetings.

See you on the pitch!

Toby Suhm, President
Mercer Island FC
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