Cliques On and Off the Field

One issue for my middle daughter when she played club soccer was car pool. The problem was that she was the only person on her team from her town. There three other car pools based on location and then a few girls who also were the only ones from their town. It wasn’t that the girls from town car pools were inherently mean or exclusive or catty … but they came into practice as group who just car pooled together, and most played together for years on town teams together. They talked about people that go to their school that no one else knew. And, on the field, one group had a, most likely unconscious, tendency to pass to each other.

How To Deal With Cliques

How To Deal With Cliques

If you tell girls to form teams of four, they will naturally go into groups based on who they socially know. It might be a group of girls from the same town who car pool together. It might be from the same elementary school if it’s a town team. It might be by age group if it’s a mixed age team. My daughter’s town team is comprised of 7th graders and 8th graders and you can see the girls stand in groups by age.

One easy way to get girls to connect with different players than the ones they tend towards as a coach is to form groups by counting off. This naturally splits up cliques since each group stands next to each other.

I like to find ways to connect girls in forming groups. Some ideas are:

  • By age: make a line from youngest to oldest. Coach can then partition off groups.
  • By pets: If you have a cat, you’re to my right. If you have a dog, you’re to my left. Girls without pets or have other pets, in front of me.

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