Plainfield Optimist Soccer: My Site News

Wednesday, March 5
Spring 2014 Signup Info

Spring 2014 Signups are Closed


+++The deadline to signup will be around Feb 15 to Feb 20th. We leave it open as long as possible, however this is usually the time that divisions start filling up+++


Here is the link: This will open up the registration page in a new window do you can toggle back and forth between it, and this page, so you can review the instructions if needed. If this is your first time using this program, you need to create a Family Account in the GotSoccer system. This will automatically give you the family discount for multiple kids. If you have forgotten your GotSoccer User ID and/or password, just click on the "Player Password Lookup" link on the registration page, and both will be emailed to you. Here is the link to set up your Family account: (This link is also on the registration page) If you have younger children that may play in a few years, I recommend you go ahead & do the family account now, not an individual account. It will be easier to add them in down the road. After you have created your Family account, you add in each child. You will see that you can click to copy much of the information from your Family account into each child so you only have to type addresses, phone numbers, etc. one time. You will then need to add in our Club. Click on the Club link. You can type in Plainfield-there are only 2 or 3 results-click on ours. You can then complete the registration process by clicking on the "Register Now" button underneath the Current Programs box.

***Competition Level*** If you are playing in U4-U10 (up through 4th grade), select the Rec option. U12 and up (Grade 5 & up) will select Rec+. Only select the Travel option if your child was on a travel team the past fall season.

***Payment Process*** Payments are done online with a debit or credit card. Should you need to pay with cash or check, you will need to come register in person at the Plainfield Public Library on either Thursday January 9th from 6-8pm, or February 1st from 10am-2pm. Fees for Rec (U4-U10) are $70. Rec+ and Travel are $105. There is a $20 late registration fee after February 1, 2014.

***Dates*** Practices will start the week of Apr 7th for Rec, Rec+ and Travel will more than likely start mid-March and will be determined by each team's coach. Coaches Meeting, either March 8th or 15th. Games will start Mid April.

***Coaches Needed!!!*** We've been averaging about 85 teams the past few seasons, and each team needs a head and an assistant coach (or 2). That comes to 170 of you that we need to make our program work. We have many resources to help you learn the game, and teach it to your kids, so a lack of experience doesn't matter. We have a weekly email blast with practice plans, we will have 2-3 coaching clinics lead by Adam Mathis, our Director of Coaching, and at the Coaches meeting, we will review a number of things to help you be a better coach.

Thursday, April 25
Coaching Ideas

Need some ideas to help your kids practice?

See the ideas in the coaching section of our handouts page.

Here is the link to get access to the corresponding videos: Drop down the menu at the top of the page to get the other age division videos.

Week 2 Videos




Tuesday, March 19
Important Info for Spring 2013 Soccer Season
Hello Parents, This email will be a little long, however there’s a lot of things to share & I’d rather do one big email than a bunch of small ones. Please take your time when you read this. If only 5% of you respond with dumb questions because you read this too fast (or not at all), that’s 50 emails I’m going to have to answer with a simple statement of “Read the email, I don’t have time to answer dumb questions”. Now, if you have an important question, please email me as many of the changes we’re making, and plan to make, are from the feedback we get from you. Here are the items in this email: 1. Coaches Clinic/Coaching Help 2. Equipment 3. Direction/Goal of our Program 4. Upcoming Changes for Fall 5. Parental Involvement 6. Parental and Player Conduct Ok, here we go: 1. Coaches Clinic-We are having a coach’s clinic at the soccer fields one week from today at 6pm. In the past we’ve had to beg for you to help coach, but never gave you any help on how to coach. At the coach’s meeting, we had Dave Knueve, the boys High School soccer coach make a presentation to us on things to do to have fun and effective practices. I had a handout of his presentation that I’ve given to the coaches. I’ve had a few of you parents express a desire to come Monday. Please know this clinic is open to ALL parents, not just coaches. Should any of you parents want a copy of the presentation, it’s posted in the new Coaches/Practice Ideas section of the handouts page on our website. As I come across other items, I’ll post them in there for all to use. Should you have something we need to add in there, please send it to me. We have a coach’s certification class scheduled for June 7-9 here in Plainfield. This is to get your E license. This is the license that all travel coaches must have. It’s broken down into 3 parts, the first part is how to coach kids, the second is rules of the game (this section covers about 75% of the referee certification course), and third, tactics and strategy of the game. You will come away knowing how to run an effective practice that the kids will enjoy. Sign up online via the state soccer website (there’s a link to the state website on our website). You have to make a $106 deposit and that will be refunded to you upon completion of the course. There were only 40 spots available initially and I believe that 10-12 people have already signed up in less than 10 days. This is open to anyone who wishes to get certified, even if you have no coaching experience. One of the biggest reasons I get for parents not wanting to coach is a lack of knowledge of the game. We’re providing multiple ways to learn the game and remove that obstacle from you. 2. Equipment-All participants are required to wear shin guards and to have a ball. I would encourage cleats because it will be rainy and muddle for probably a third of the games this spring (Oh the joys of living in Indiana). I have posted coupons for Dick’s on our website. For those of you with equipment that your kids have outgrown, we have a box of donated items for others to use. We’re fortunate in Plainfield that most of us have reasonable incomes and can get the things we need, however it’s been a rough few years for some and the cost of equipment can be a hurdle. If you have items to donate, please let me know. If you would benefit from using any of these items, also please let me know. 3. Direction of the Program-In the past, soccer has been a “fun” league, and not really focused on instruction. As I said in the section talking about coaches, we never helped you knowing how best to coach your kids. We’re changing that. We’ve added in some extra practices during the season. We’re going to add in even more practices and shoot for about a 50/50 split between games and practices for this fall. We still want to have fun; however we also want to give our kids a chance to develop a passion for the game. Our girls High School program has had some decent success and we have some good things in place for the boys High School program. What the soccer program hasn’t done is give the Middle School and High School enough skilled players to build a consistent program of winning. Plainfield has always been a football & basketball town. Here’s a little irony, for every kid that plays little league football, baseball, or basketball, we have 5 who play soccer. We want our kids to develop a passion for the game so they will want to improve their skills, and want to keep playing. Now I know that there will be many who will play the game just for fun. That is wonderful. As they practice and play, they will get a great amount of exercise, develop better coordination, and learn many skills that will transfer to other areas of their lives for years to come. There was a great segment yesterday on Outside the Lines on ESPN about a charter/private school for troubled teens (for varying reasons). The main focus is that these students spend 2-3 hours a day playing sports. The lessons they have learned on the court and on the field have turned every one of those kids into high functioning students. If you ever wonder the power sports can have on a kid, I’m sure ESPN will repeat that show a few times this week. We can, and should be able to develop enough talent that in a few years Plainfield High School can compete for a state soccer championship. We have 61 teams this season working towards that goal. 4. Changes for the Fall-A few things I’ve already mentioned. Another improvement we are making is changing the U10 program from a coed league on a bigger field to separate boys and girls leagues on mid-sized fields. This will also align our U10 program with State, National, and International standards. Right now boys & girls are together for U4-U6, we split them up for U8, put them back together for U10, then split them back up for U12. Going forward for U8 and up, we will have separate boys and girls leagues. For the U10, it will be 6 vs. 6, down from the 8 vs. 8 we have now. By using a smaller field, and fewer players, that will force the kids to have better ball control skills (otherwise the ball will be going out of bounds every 30 seconds). By having fewer players, the kids will get more “touches” on the ball per game. We have seen that as our kids move up to Rec+ or travel, and play against programs that have been using a smaller U10 setup; those other programs have dribbled circles around our kids. Luckily our kids catch up in a year or two, but I’d rather have them go in on equal terms, and with some passionate coaches that we seem to have, be better prepared than the competition as they move up. To have an idea of the field, our current U8 fields are 100’ x 150’. The U10 will play on a 120’ x 150’ field. Field #8 for this spring is a new U10, state approved sized field. 5. Parental Involvement-I can’t stress enough how much we need your help. We are a volunteer program. Without you, we cannot survive. The board puts in an unbelievable amount of time. I know that several of us have been putting in 20-30 hours a week lately as we prepare for the season. This is in addition to our jobs, our families, our church, and other civic pursuits. If you do not want to help us one way or another, our program will not succeed. We’ve automated/computerized a few things like online enrollments, credit card payments, etc., but can only do so much before real live people have to do some work. What are some things we can use help with? Here’s a couple: Technology- I’m pretty smart, but sometimes smart enough to be dangerous. I would love for someone who knows computers inside and out set up our game & practice schedules into one of those things were you can download it right into your computer’s calendar. Setting up the schedule each season-Lisa Rogers and Sue Elhabrush spent around 9 hours a few weeks ago setting this up. This is in addition to Lisa running the rec+ program, and Sue getting ready to open up the concession stand. Speaking of Concessions-For those that offered to help us in the concession stand, THANK YOU! I have posted the schedule in the Spring 2013 Schedule section on the handouts page of our website. We still need more help. If everyone would help just once a season, we’d have to turn half of you away (but we can use your help in other ways). Board Member-Specifically I’m speaking of the WCSSF board for our Rec+ program. We have 9 teams this season playing rec+, making us the 2nd largest participant, yet we have no one from our club on the board. They meet once a month, need ideas, and email makes it easier to get involved without having to go to meetings all the time. All of us on the board for our local league are stretched too thin as it is. I’m sure that one of you parents of the 140 kids in rec+ can help make sure that our club is represented in the WCSSF league. Coaching-This is the big one. I almost had to cancel the U8 Boys age group because I only had 2 parents sign up to coach, and we needed 8. In U4 and U5, for several seasons in a row we’re at 10 teams in each of those age groups. According the demographic numbers I’ve seen, we’re going to have to split both of those age groups into 2 different divisions, probably as soon as this fall. Coaching is fun, it’s rewarding, and a great way to spend quality time with your kids, and get to know their friends. You can’t use the excuse of not knowing the game any longer. I already discussed a few of the things we’re doing to help you learn the game, and there will be more. Now I know some of you truly have work obligations and can’t, that number though is small. We have some parents that year after year coach not just one team, but 2, at the same time. This season we have one parent who is coaching 3 teams (He had to take an assistant role on all 3 as there’s no way even Superman could coach 3 teams at once). Now if we don’t get more of you to step up and help us out (in many different ways), we will have to take the drastic step and reduce the number of kids we take each season. I would hate to do that, however I can’t keep putting in 30+ hours a week to make this program work. Bob Barasso can’t keep putting in 20-30 hours a week for the travel program (in addition to coaching 2 travel teams), Lisa Rogers can’t keep putting in 20-30 hours a week for rec+, Rob Burtz can’t keep putting in 10-20 hours a week to run the U10 division (and coach 2 teams), Sue Elhabrush practically lives in the concession stand 4 months a year…I think you catch my drift. We are having around 550 kids play each season, and the number continues to grow. The only other choice we have besides capping the number of kids playing each season is to raise our fees to hire professional management to run the program. I don’t think many of you want to pay $1000 a season or more. 6. Parental/Player Conduct-This hasn’t been too much of an issue for us, however in the past season or 3 there have been a few parents using inappropriate language towards a referee, a coach, a player on another team, or their own child. At some other clubs, I know of cases in older age groups where a boy has said things he shouldn’t be saying to girls on coed teams. This is the part of being the director I don’t like, but will not ignore. I have zero tolerance for this. I would hate to ban someone from our facilities, but I will do it. That means your child will have to find alternate transportation for future games & practices, or they will have to withdraw. I think that’s enough on that topic. Thank you all for having your kids play in the Plainfield Optimist Soccer program. Thank you for taking time to read all of this information. If you read it too quick, don’t email me dumb questions, go back and read this again. Please help us out. We want to grow and will only do so with your participation. Ed

Wednesday, February 20
Spring Season Update 2/20/2013

Thanks to all of you for having your kids participate in the spring soccer season. A special thanks to those of you who are taking time to coach these teams. We've got over 500 kids participating and we couldn't make it happen without you coaching.

Here's a brief summary of our next steps:

We're putting the teams together and should have that done this week. With the online registration system, you will have the ability to look up online (by signing on to your account @ to find out what team your child is on. You will then be able to go to our website ( to get your schedule and coaches' contact information. When all this is posted, I will send you all an email to notify you. This should be all online within a day or 3 of the coaches meeting.

The coaches meeting will be on Mar 9th (probably at 9 or 10am at the library). One or maybe both of the High School soccer coaches will be there and give us some ideas on how to have better, more effective practices. This will help all you first time coaches, and for your older farts (I mean more experienced coaches), give you some extra ideas that you may not have thought of to help your kids in their skill development.

Practices for U10 will start Mar 23. The town doesn't start working on the fields until April 1st, so we need to ask you U10 parents to come out for an hour or two on Mar 16 to help us stripe the U10 fields, get the nets up, etc. It's only 2 fields so it shouldn't take too long. You'll hear more about that from Rob Burtz, the U10 coordinator.

Practices for U4-U8 will start after spring break.

Rec+ and Travel teams will be contacted by your coaches for your schedules.

Picture day is Apr 13th at Brentwood.

That's enough for now. A certain rec+ coach will criticize me if I make this any longer. More info in a few weeks!

Thursday, February 21
Online Signup Instructions

***Online Signup Instructions ***




Here is the link:

If this is your first time using this program, you need to create a Family Account if you have more than one child. This will automatically give you the family discount for multiple kids.

Here is the link to set up your Family account:

If you have younger children that may play in a few years, I recommend you go ahead & do the family account now. It will be easier to add them in down the road. After you have created your Family account, you add in each child. You will see that you can click to copy much of the information from your Family account into each child so you only have to type addresses, phone numbers, etc. one time. You will then need to add in our Club. Click on the Club link. You can type in Plainfield-there are only 2 results-click on ours. You can then complete the registration process.

***Competition Level***

If you are playing in U4-U10 (up through 4th grade), select the Rec option. U12 and up (Grade 5 & up) will select Rec+. If you are a Travel program player, do not register online at this time. You need to contact your coach from the Fall 2012 season.

***Payment Process***

Effective Thursday Jan 24, we were finally able to activate the online payments. You can now pay online, or if you choose to do it the old fashioned way, mail in a check. The mailing info is in the final page once you complete your registration.

***A few other notes***

We're still learning all of the things we can do with this new technology. One of the fields on the registration page is where you can type in your cell phone number and your provider. After we figure how to use this, we will be able to send you a text message for immediate notification should games be canceled due to the weather. Please complete all the fields you can...the more information we have, the better able we can design our programs, communicate with you, etc. 

Friday, November 30
Soccer Board Meeting Nov 18th Summary

Hope you all are having a good Friday afternoon.  Here is a summary of the items discussed at our recent board meeting.  We welcome your feedback & ideas to keep our league a great experience for all our kids.

 In no particular order, we discussed:

1. U10 uniforms-many parents have expressed a wish for a little nicer uniform for the kids as they get a little older.  Also, we need a little better color selection to help distinguise the teams apart.  There will be some increase in cost for this.  By eleminating the participation trophies (only for U10).  This will help offset cost.

2. Parent Uniforms (Spirit Shirts)-For those parents who wish to have a matching uniform as their kids, we will offer those.  We're estimating a price of about $10-15 for these.

3. U10 Evaluations-beginning for the fall 2013 season, evaluations will be mandatory for U10.  We did them for the first time for the fall 2012 season and we seemed to achieve a level of parity greater than ever before.  The other sports leagues in town have been doing them for years and now we will too, but only for U10.

4. Online Registration-beginning with the Spring 2013 season, all registrations will be done online.  For those who wish to sign up in person, we will have a room in the library with several computers set up to register your children

5. Season starts-U10 will start practicing on Mar 23 (the week before spring break).  U4-U8 will start the week after spring break.  For the fall 2013 season, we will wait to start 2-3 weeks later than we have in the past.  There are just so many back to school activities the first 2 weeks of school.  Some may be concerned about weather.  For the U10 starting earlier in the spring, they may need a sweatshirt.  For the fall season, daylight is the potential issue here.  Finishing in Mid October should not be a problem as there is still daylight well past 7pm.

6. Board Meeting Minutes Online-obviously we're doing this since you're reading them now.  We want you all to know what we're thinking, but there's only 10 of us so we welcome your feedback and ideas if there are things we need to do, do more, do less, or not at all.

7. Online Team Rosters-once again, the other leagues have done this, and now so will we.  All that will be posted is the players first initial and last name.  There will be no other contact info posted for your privacy.  However we also want you to have access to your kids info and not have to wait for your coaches to call you (And I am not crazy about 500 of you calling me 2 minutes after the coaches meeting because you haven't heard from your coach yet).

8. License Certification-For those who wish to learn more about coaching, the State Soccer Association offers courses to become a certified coach (For those wanting to coach a travel team, it is mandatory to be certified).  We will pay for the course for you (we pay it upfront, so you don't have to hound us to get reimbursed).  We also have decided that for those who do get their certification, we well refund your child's last registration fee.  There are multiple degrees of ceritifications, and each time you complete a new one, we'll refund another season's fees.

9.  Travel expansion-We now have travel teams at the U12 and up levels.  We realize that there are some kids who would benefit from greater competition, and in the past have been forced to go to West side, Fusion, etc.  We will be offering travel at the U11 and maybe U10 levels and the goal is to have that up and running for the fall 2013 season.

Thank you all for your time.  Have a wonderful weekend! 

Tuesday, November 27
New Soccer Director/Board Members for 2013

Good Evening All,

My name is Ed Gunnell and I am the new director for the Plainfield Optimist Soccer program. I have received congratulatory emails and phone calls already from a several of you and I thank you for those (and even a few condolences from some sarcastic friends).

Many of you know me from serving as the U10 coordinator the past few years. With Plainfield being my home town, and me being the oldest of 7 kids, many of you know me or my family from our glory days at Plainfield High School.

A little about myself-as I said, I am the oldest of 7 kids and we all went to Plainfield High School (we all even graduated, but let me tell you it was close with one or 2 of my siblings). I graduated in 1990, went to Indiana University and also served a 2 year mission for my church starting in Panama, but was transferred to South Texas after the water got the best of me (If you want to lose weight quick, I highly recommend Central American water-I got down to 135 lbs. Being a little over 6 foot tall, I fell over from a strong ocean breeze). I am married to another PHS grad (and my former Belles and Beaux dancing partner) Alex Barile. We have 3 children, Jake (5th grade), Macy (3rd grade), and Mia (5 months and screaming right now because she's hungry again...)

I also want to introduce the soccer board with their respective roles to you:

Bob Baraso Travel Coordinator

Lisa Rogers Rec+ Coordinator

Rob Burtz U10

Buffy Lutzke U4-U8

Sue Elhabrush Concessions

Jim Eckroth Referees

Adam Mathis

Bobby Smith

Chris Spires

All of our email addresses are listed on the Board page should you need to contact any of us.

Thanks to all of you parents for having your kids play soccer. We've been averaging over 500 kids each of the past few seasons, making us by far, the biggest league in town. That however does not come without some challenges. The thing we need most are you parents to help us coach your kids. Some of you may be concerned about knowing the rules, strategies, etc. For the smaller kids, the rules are simple:

1. The ball goes in the goal

2. You can't use your hands (unless you're a goalie)

3. Have fun

Things do get more complex, but at the same time, more fun as the kids get older. There are official coaching classes and certifications offered by the State Soccer Association. There will be more info on that posted in the next week or two.

This is a volunteer league. There are only 10 of us on the board, so parents, we need your help coaching the kids. Most of the board members already coach one (or more) teams, so we can't coach any more. Last year while serving as the U10 coordinator, I sent an email out to all the parents in that league asking for help with coaching. I shared with them that personally I had a wife who was at that time extremely pregnant, was coaching my daughter's soccer team, helping coach my son's baseball team, finishing over 2000 square feet of basement to make room for the arrival of our baby daughter, serving on the soccer board, serving at my church, and being in the financial business, was going through tax season. I shared those things not asking for sympathy or praise, but to share that the excuse that there isn't time really is that-an excuse. It is important for me to be involved with my kids and sports is a great way to do that. Now I know that some have jobs that make it impossible. Most of us however can do it. I personally can't think of a better way to spend time with my kids, their friends (and get to know who their friends are) than by coaching their sports teams. Well, the U10 parents came through with flying colors and I had more people offer to coach than we had teams. I also had more people offer to help as assistant coaches than we had teams. I'm not sure if I ever thanked all of you before, so I thank you now.

Now, that being said, last season, for the U8 boys division, we had 8 teams, but only 2 parents offer to coach. All of us board members were dialing and begging for some of you parents to help out with coaching. We almost had to face the choice of having to combine U6 and U8 boys, or the U8 boys and girls together, or just canceling the U8 boys league for that season. Luckily there were several of you that stepped up to help and we thank you for that. I ask all of you to please at least once, coach your children. I promise you it will be something that when you're old and creaky, you and your kids will look back on with fond memories.

As we have news and other items to share, we will post them here on this page. Thank you all again for the help you've given and we look forward to a fun Spring season in 2013!