What is the Blackhills Football Club?
We are the premier soccer club of the Thurston County Youth Soccer Association, the local association of soccer clubs which includes the Chinqually Booters, Olympia United, Tumwater Soccer Club, Prairie Soccer Club, Rochester Youth Soccer Club, and Tenino Youth Soccer Clubs. While most of our players feed in from the above clubs, we also have players traveling from Lewis, Grays Harbor, Mason and Pierce Counties.
The mission of the Blackhills Football Club (BFC) is to develop high quality youth soccer in the, while providing the resources necessary for each player to develop his or her soccer skills at the most appropriate pace. BFC (1) builds the soccer skills and team commitment needed to play at the highest levels possible; (2) teaches players individually how to play their best soccer in a team environment; and (3) provides the excellence in coaching and training needed for players to reach their full potential.
Why play for Blackhills FC?
Coaching, Training, Competition and Value.
A player-centered model cites individual player growth as its primary metric. With the individual foremost in mind, all club decisions are aimed at appropriately developing each child to play their best soccer within a team environment.
Our coaches are our greatest asset and are continually being trained to provide immediate and specific feedback to the players. We support our coaches and their continued coaching education within, and outside of, our program.
We have a Technical Director of Coaching James Charette, and an U10-U12 Director of Coaching and Player Development, Steve Schmidt. James, is a current member of US Soccer's National Instructional Staff, and a U.S. Soccer Development Academy Scout. Also James is the former Director of Coaching for Washington Youth Soccer.
Blackhills FC currently has staff of coaches licensed by US Soccer Federation at the following levels: USSF License "A" (3), "B" (3), "C" (2), "D" (3) and "E" (22).
We are a club with a common philosophy across all of our teams. We follow US Soccer's curriculum. Our training sessions offer many repetitions for technical and tactical development. We want to develop players who are technically able to handle the ball under pressure, are able to retain the ball as a team, and recover the ball as fast as possible when it is lost.
We compete in the Regional Club League, which is comprised of the highest-level soccer clubs from across the State. Blackhills FC is the only Thurston County club that competes in this league. BFC had 5 players this year compete in the Elite Player Development Region IV Olympic Development Program Championships in Arizona.
Our player fee is all-inclusive and allows access to all the BFC training sessions. BFC takes pride in utilizing a "Club" model that focuses on player development. If desired, a player can attend a variety of extra sessions to further his or her development. When factoring in the extra training sessions and the breadth of experience amongst our coaches here is no better soccer value than BFC.
What does the club offer?
• 2-3 team practices per week, throughout the year.
• Flexible training using additional and makeup practices with other club teams.
• Skills Training sessions which focus on individual ball mastery and creativity.
• Specialized goalkeeping training.
• Two written player evaluations per year.
• A robust financial aid program.
• The most experienced and dedicated Coaching Staff in the South Sound region.
• A dedicated and active Executive Board that works with our coaching staff to provide optimum soccer opportunities for each child.
• An organized volunteer committee that coordinates volunteer and fundraising opportunities to keep player fees low.
• Use of the Capital Soccer Fields Complex which allows virtually all of our teams to train at the same location throughout most of the year.
The Club also organizes several events each year. These include, College Night, where information about college soccer is presented to interested families), an annual club picnic, charity auction, jamborees, and community service events for each team.
BFC is a club, not a compilation of teams. Our motto "You Will Never Stand Alone" is something we constantly foster on the field. BFC provides a mutually supportive atmosphere for our players and their families. BFC also works closely with all the recreational clubs in the community to provide coaching development.
What does the "U" in U11 mean?
Teams are formed based on a players birth year. The "U" means "under" and the player's age must be under the number by December 31st. For example, if a player turns 10 on December 3rd, he would be under 11 on December 31st, and thus would be slotted as a "U11 player."
What does the year look like?
Our Boys U10-U15 and Girls U10-U19 teams have tryouts in April and May. Our Boys U16-U19 teams have tryouts in February. The boys tryout earlier because they are not allowed to play with the club during the high school season which is in the Spring.
Teams immediately begin to train after the teams are selected. Teams will generally train 2-3 times per week throughout the year, with intermittent breaks.
Our teams play in 2-4 tournaments throughout the year.
The boys and girls 10 - 14 and under teams play in a Fall and Spring season. The Fall season begins the weekend after Labor Day and ends the second weekend in December. The Spring season generally starts the second or third weekend in January and ends mid-March.
Our U15 through U19 teams have a longer single season. The girls play in the Fall and the boys in the Spring. They each have a break during their respective high school seasons.
Post-Season State Cup
Age groups 10 - 11 and under can participate in an end of year state cup if their is enough interest, this tournament is not included in the player fee. Age groups 12 - 19 and under teams play in a end of year state cup, this is included in our player fee. These tournaments usually start mid - March and conclude at the end of April or beginning of May.
How much training is required / available?
We offer as much training as a player would like to receive. Our fee is "all inclusive" so any member can participate in virtually any training session. Our teams train about 10 months out of the year. Every player is responsible for attending at least two 90 minute practices each week. As players get older, teams may hold 3 sessions per week. Because we can utilize the soccer complex, we make efforts to coordinate practices for carpooling purposes.
In addition to team training, the club offers Skills Training (2X per week), Goalkeeping training (2X per week) and other miscellaneous training opportunities throughout the year.
What about Travel?
In order to play at the highest level, there is some travel involved. Half of our games are played at home in the Thurston County area. The vast majority of teams we play during the season are located within the I-5 corridor. There may be occasional trips to the east side of the state. We generally try to carpool and arrange rides where possible.
Are there any soccer breaks?
Blackhills FC recognizes that soccer is one part of a balanced life. Soccer goes on year-round, but we do encourage breaks at periodic times throughout the year. While player and team development can only occur with consistent training, we do understand that family, school, and spiritual obligations have priority over soccer. We do not require a family to work its schedule around the soccer calendar.
Can players engage in other activities?
Yes. While playing with BFC requires a certain commitment, we want our players to be well rounded individuals. At younger ages, the training schedule is less demanding. However, as the players get older, engaging in multiple activities may become more challenging.
How are players selected to a team?
Players go through our tryout process and are selected by our coaching staff. The goal is to place players on a team that fits their ability level.
What happens at tryouts?
BFC recognizes tryouts can be a stressful experience, especially for new players, and we try to minimize the stress as much as possible. Players will check in and be given a jersey with an assigned number. Generally, we take the players through applicable drills and they participate in small sided and large sided games. Multiple coaches will observe players and provide a score. Returning players are not given any special preference over new players at tryouts and we ask returning players to not wear any BFC apparel.
How do I register for tryouts?
We encourage registration prior to tryouts. This can be done online through our website. Parents or legal guardians can register online. If you are unable to register online a parent or legal guardian must fill out a registration form at tryouts.
What if I miss tryouts?
We encourage attendance at tryouts if at all possible. However, a player can try out by attending training sessions for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, the coaches and family can determine whether or not BFC is a good fit. (To arrange a tryout contact: James Charette)
If I am not selected to a team what are my options?
Blackhills FC has a player development program. This allows players not selected to our teams to train with BFC. Information can be found on the Blackhills FC website under "Programs" and then "Player Development". Players will train with their age-appropriate BFC team during BFC practice times. A player may attend up to three BFC practices per week. Player Development fees are charged monthly and are payable in advance.
Blackhills also partners with other Clubs in the community to find playing opportunities for players not selected. One of our primary objectives is to get kids playing soccer at the most appropriate level.
How many players can be selected to a team?
• U10, maximum of 12
• U11 - U12 maximum of 14
• U13 - U19, maximum of 18
When and how will we be notified regarding our tryout?
All players will be notified by a phone call within 72 hours of their final tryout. If you do not receive a call please contact James Charette at (360) 943-8233.
Do you allow players to "play up"?
Yes, but we encourage players to play at their true age level. A player will only be allowed to play in an older age group if he/she is capable of starting and playing the majority of a game.
How much does it cost?
We realize cost is important to everyone. We work hard to keep our costs at a minimum while providing the optimum training opportunities for all players. The all-inclusive yearly fee is set by the BFC Board prior to tryouts and available on our website. The Club's annual fee can be paid at once, or more commonly, in monthly installments.
What is included in the fee?
In addition to year round team training, each of our players can take advantage of all the opportunities provided by BFC at no additional cost. There are no hidden costs. The player fee includes the cost of training, tournaments, league fees, coaches, officials, field rentals, coaches gear, and all equipment. The only thing not included in the player fee is the cost of the uniforms.
What about Financial aid?
Each year, BFC provides tens of thousands of dollars in financial aid to our families. Please do not let the player fee act as a barrier to trying out for our Club. We work hard to try and find a spot for every player with the talent and commitment to play at BFC. Information regarding our financial aid program can be found on our website by clicking here.
Who can I contact with additional questions?
Technical Director: James Charette
Club President: Bret Wilhelm
Financial Aid Questions: Heather Clarke