As we attempt each year to figure out how many teams (equal in strength) Mustang should field at each age group, we try to assess how many “Quality-players” (Q-player) are available to form teams. You will note that this formula is usually applied to the question of whether to reduce the number of teams at any age group. Reduction is more common because Mustang’s philosophy is to be very aggressive in providing opportunity at the youngest ages. We try to start with a Gold, two Silver and four Division 3 teams at U9.
Expansion and Copper teams are done slightly differently. For U9-U13 teams (NorCal), the league is formally stratifying into two levels of play, Bronze and Copper. Where demand supports it within an age group, we are able to form an additional team, who will play opponents of similar skill. The season will mirror the Bronze experience, playing a 6-7 month season, with 25-35 games inclusive of 3-5 tournaments, having a week-long training camp, practicing twice a week, all in close partnership with a professional Mustang trainer. These teams will be selected after the Bronze team(s) have drafted their rosters, as part of the same tryout process.
For U14+ teams (CYSA), the league does not have a similar delineation of play for Bronze and Copper. Where there has been demand and doubt about whether or not talent supports an additional team, we encourage the creation of a "B" team. This team is formed AFTER the "A" team(s) are picked. The B team then contests the season and becomes part of the formula below. If the A team(s) and B team achieve enough success to meet the 12 Q-player per team standard, we may remove the B status from the team and it drafts equal to the A team(s). If the league has enough teams in an age group to divide into Bronze and Copper, then teams may be selected in like fashion to U9-U13 teams above.
Regarding the question of what a Q-player is and how many are available for team formation, it is impossible to know in advance or to agree on a player-by- player basis. Therefore, as a starting point, we utilize the team’s previous season LEAGUE record be a determinant. We chose the League record because that enables us to compare "apples to apples" and because our best competition is primarily within our own League.
How do you judge the success of a team’s season? We begin with these criteria, based on the following logic:
A .650 + team, had a good season - we assume 100% of their players are Q-players
A .450 + team, we would like to see some improvement - we assume 75% of their players are Q-players
A .250 + team needs considerable improvement - we assume 50% of their players are Q-players
A team below .250 is far too weak, but likely has some Q-players. We assume 25%
So when 12 players tryout from a .650+ team we count them as 12. When 12 players from a .250+ team tryout, we count them as 6. Any new players w/ D1 experience, we count.
Scenario 1: Three U11 teams (rosters of 12), with a .650, .650 and .450 season, each have 12 players returning. We would assume 12 + 12 + 9 = 33 Q players. For U12, their rosters will expand to 15 and we would like to provide 75% Q players for competitive play. To maintain three teams, we would look for 3 x 15 x .75 = 34 players. We would likely maintain 3 teams.
Scenario 2: If the three U11 teams above finished .450, .450 and .250, each with 12 players returning, we would assume 9 + 9 + 6 = 24 Q players. For U12, we would likely consolidate to two teams.
Scenario 3: Three U14 teams (rosters of 15), with results of .650, .450 and .250, have 14, 13 and 12 players returning, we would assume 14 + 10 + 6 = 30 Q players. For U15, rosters often expand to 16 and we would like to provide 75% Q players for competitive play. To maintain three teams, we would look for 3 x 16 x .75 = 36 players. At first pass, we would come up 6 players short on fielding a competitive team, based on our formula. Additional considerations we may take into account include:
- Talent level of players who are leaving / staying, based upon previous coachs’ and trainers’ input.
- Trends in team performance, possibly showing improvement as the season progressed.
- Changes in D1 for number of teams they’re forming and therefore numbers of players who may be available.
- Knowledge of new players in the area with previous D1 experience.
- Feedback / guidance from D1 trainers who may help in the tryout process to assess talent level for the age group.
Clearly, you can adjust the assumptions above, up or down, depending on your definition of success, but if the logic works, you are on the path to objectifying the process.