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Skills and Drills, Sunday - Parade Grounds

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What we're about

BEFORE YOU APPLY, SEE DIRECTIONS FOR "HOW TO JOIN" BELOW!


Note: Please do not join this group if you have been playing soccer for a long time and are looking for a regular pick-up game!

We meet in or near Prospect Park, Brooklyn, and have been playing since the summer of 2006, outside, year-round. You can read in more detail about us below.

Our primary goal is to be welcoming to beginner players, but we are also interested in encouraging more women to play soccer. Complete and total beginners who have never touched a soccer ball in their lives are especially welcome!

Some of our games are for all genders and some are only for those who identify as women - but all of them are excruciatingly slow and overly friendly with lots of rules to keep it that way.

Once you join the group, you will see all of the game dates and locations and can RSVP to them (required).

HOW TO JOIN THIS GROUP

FIRST, read about us (below) very carefully to make sure this is the group for you.

THEN, click the "join us" button and fill out all of the profile questions:

- Use a CLOSE UP, RECOGNIZABLE picture of yourself, with NO ONE ELSE in it

- Introduce yourself for real, i.e., don't just say "hi"

- Use your REAL first name, NOT a screen/nickname or initials

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Read below to find out more about us and about the games, our guidelines for play, what to wear, what to bring, and what to do when you arrive at a game.

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MORE ABOUT US

We play outdoors, no matter what season it is. We have both women-only and co-ed games, and there are more or less equal numbers of men and women in the co-ed games. We have players of all ages (you must be 18+).

Since most of us have just started playing (as in, for the first time ever) or haven't played in a long, long, long time, we screw up a lot. So we are perfect for you if you just want to play and not worry about looking stupid or feeling pressured. No, really.

These are just pick-up games so there are no teams, tryouts, goalies or other set positions. There is no need to commit to coming every week, and there are always new people, so you won't be the only new person or the only beginner.

More skilled players who are looking for a mellow game are welcome to play with us if you are able to change the way you normally play, but many tend to find it frustrating or, at least, not particularly challenging.

If you are an experienced player and still want to give it a try, our request is that you play MUCH slower than usual. Please read our GUIDELINES FOR PLAY below before coming to a game. We take them extremely seriously - if this will drive you insane, there are lots of other groups out there that cater to players who want a more competitive or advanced game.

In general, this is NOT a regular pickup game. If you find yourself getting frustrated while playing with us, resenting all of the rules, or wishing for more competition or speed, then we are not for you.

MORE ABOUT THE GAMES

We usually play with teams of about 7v7, which means that for the large weekend games, we divide the field into four smaller fields.

We use cones or pop-up nets for the goals and there is a defined space around the goal that is off-limits. There are no goalies and players may not use their hands. We try to do throw-ins and corner kicks, but we are sloppy about it at best. No off-sides, penalty kicks, etc.

Some people like to keep score, but is up to your field. In general, we focus more on passing and nice plays rather than getting goals. Learn the names of your teammates before the game so you can pass to everyone and not just to your friends.

Once the teams are divided, you may not join the game (yes, we really do this, even though it sounds cruel), so if you know you are going to be late, please turn around and come back another time. Please don't email, text or message us - it won't matter.

We usually take at least one break, even if the hardier players whine about it, just to get a quick drink of water and to even the skill levels out if necessary. For the main weekend game, we rotate the teams around the field every thirty minutes or so, which means there are two ten minute breaks.

We end right on time for all games. You can, of course, keep going if the field is still free, but we stop the "official" (!) game and collect all of the stuff so that people who need to leave can do that.

Please help us by bringing home equipment if you plan to come the next week.

GUIDELINES FOR PLAY

We have some pretty intense rules and our games are not like regular pick up games. That is how we keep the feel of the game slow and welcoming to beginners. We take our rules very seriously, and sometimes ask people not to play with us anymore if we feel like they are not into them as much as we are.

Pass often. Way more than you might usually. Do not carry the ball for more than a third of the field, at most. Pass to the forwards and let them score. Do not shoot from the midline or behind it.

Keep the balls low at all times. Keep your feet below waist level at all times. Make only easy, low shots on the goal.

Play positions rigorously. If you are playing left or right, do not come into the middle. If you are on defense, stay behind the midline. If you are forward, stay up near the goal rather than coming back to dribble the ball forward. If you are on midfield, stay out of both goal zones entirely - Let the offense and defense handle things there. There are no goalies. Stay out of the goal unless you are actively defending it at the moment, and stay out of the "no step" zone.

Let the less skilled players try to hold their own. Don't try to "help" them or play their position. Pass to them even if they miss your passes every time. Give them room when they have the ball. Don't run at them, stick your feet out, or aggressively block them. Let them dribble a bit or try out some moves.

We play with little or no physical contact! A little pressure is fine, but no more. Stay spread out on the field. This is an easy, passing game intended to build skill and confidence. No one should ever end up on the ground. This is a great indicator that the pace of the game is too fast.

Start the ball in the middle after a goal and take time to reassess your positions with your teammates and spread out wide on the field. Rotate the positions a few times during the game to give people a chance to try different things - beginners should not get stuck on defense for the whole game, and if there are advanced players who keep shooting on the goal, they should be moved to defense.

Above all, please slow down and keep your energy mellow and non-competitive. Even if you are playing against other, equally skilled players. Some people want to run a lot or can get really intense when they play, but this is really not the game for it. We have small fields and learning players.

WHAT TO WEAR

Shin guards are highly, highly recommended for all of our games. Even though our games are slow, things happen.

We recommend TURF soccer shoes (not tennis shoes, flat soccer shoes or cleats) for all of our games on the turf. Cleats tear up grass fields and get stuck in turf fields - plus they injure people more easily. Flat shoes slide on both turf and grass when it is wet.

If you don't have shin guards or turf shoes, just come anyway. It doesn't matter and you can get that stuff later.

Please do not wear watches, large jewelry, necklaces, or earrings that could catch on anything.

We have vests/pinnies, so there is no need to bring a white and dark shirt to designate teams unless it is specified in the event description.

WHAT TO BRING

We have all the gear. Just bring a water bottle. If you have a soccer ball, bring it if you can!

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE

When you arrive, introduce yourself to whoever is hosting and be sure to sign in right away so you don't get counted as a no show.

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