Overview of the Team:
Boardeaux (the name of the Boards.ie Football Team) play in the Astro.ie 11-a-side League. We recently moved up from Social standard to Medium standard.
Link to current league table: http://astro.ie/Soccer/11aSide/divis...aspx?CDID=3243
There are generally 10 teams in each league and 18 games per season, with a trophy, medals and tracksuit tops awarded to the winners and medals for the 2nd and 3rd-placed teams. There are also Top Goalscorer, Best Defence, and Best Goalkeeper (judged by the refs) awards with trophies for each. All awards are presented at a Prize Night Astro.ie host at a venue in the city centre a few weeks after the league completes. It's generally a good night out and Boardeaux aim to have a reason to be at the Prize Night every season.
The league runs twice per year: Winter season runs from Sept to Feb/March and Summer season runs from April to August. There is a Cup competition that runs (generally on Friday nights) in the Summer. We generally aim to have a few friendlies both to bed in new players and maintain sharpness before each league season begins.
We play on Tuesdays and in our current league the games are played at either St. Colmcilles Secondary School, Knocklyon or St. Benildus School, Stillorgan. The Social standard league was generally played at Wesley College, Dundrum. Colmcilles and Benildus are both very good quality astro surfaces, 3G pitches as they are called. Wesley is an earlier version but still good quality.
Matches are 60-minutes and kick-offs are between 19:00 and 21:00 and will kick off on the hour or at 15 or 30 minutes past the hour. Fixtures are published on our forum well in advance, so players have a chance to plan for the kick-off time each week. We use Teamer and the team forum for tracking availability for upcoming games.
Each player pays €125 (€7 per game) per league season to cover the league fees, ref fees, and a purchase of balls (Boards.ie kindly help out by getting jerseys sponsored and subsidising some costs). Where necessary, Des (Baldy Conscience) can arrange for the payment to be split into 3 payments across the season. But players that have not paid or agreed a payment plan within a couple of weeks of joining should not expect to play until they make at least an initial payment and agree the plan for the remainder. It's not feasible or fair for team mates to have to pick up costs of players who haven't paid.
Anyone that would like to come along to watch the games and support the team is more than welcome to do so. Our game threads go up generally the weekend before the game and will be at one of the 3 pitches mentioned already.
If you are interested in joining this is a good way to come and see what the standard is like.
The Manager, Des (BaldyConscience), picks the team, gives direction on tactics and manages substitutions. We generally aim to have 16 players in our squad and the manager aims to give everyone a run where possible, but to avoid ambiguity, he picks what he judges to be the best team and makes subs aimed at winning each game. Selection is based on merit, not to give everyone a run or equal time on the pitch. In practice, if the result looks clear (e.g. 3-0 up or down with 10mins to go), the manager will generally ensure everyone gets a run, but if we're 1-1 against top of the league, subs will be made based on merit with a view to winning the game. In general though, everyone tends to get a decent run.
Towards the end of each season, we generally send out the word that we're open to recruiting new players and if we're not still fighting for league position, new players can get a run in the last few games. We also aim to have friendlies in the off-season to allow new players get a feel for the team and the manager to have a look at whether they'll be a good fit. The manager will then tell players who he has selected for the squad for the next season. If we have too many players, or if it's clear a lad is not quite up to the required standard, the manager will indicate it's best not to sign-up if game time would be minimal.
Astro.ie 11-a-side games have one Referee (no linesmen) and the rules are the same as normal grass football with a few exceptions:
1. No slide tackling. You can slide to retrieve the ball when there's no opposition player around, but you can't go off your feet when you're near an opposition player. Goalkeepers can go off their feet and slide out to win the ball.
a. Medium (our current level) & High standard: there is no offside outside of the 18-yard line, but there is offside from the 18-yard line to the goalline, the whole way across the pitch, not just the penalty box. So if you're nearer to the goal than 2 opposition players when the ball is kicked, whether you're in the box or out on the wing, you're offside. The ref makes the call and tends to favour the defending side.
b. Social standard: there is no offside in any part of the pitch. You'd think this would distort the style of play with hatchers staying up, but in reality it rarely does, not enough Stevie Gs able to ping 60 yard balls onto a hatcher's foot up front, so in general, strikers still stay alongside the last defender.
3. Yellow & Red Cards:
a. A yellow card automatically leads to a 5-minute sin-binning, player can come back on after that.
b. Red card means a ban, ref & Astro.ie will decide the length of the ban based on referee's report.
4. Substitutions: unlimited amounts of roll-on and roll-off substitutions can be made at any point during the game, and you can have any number of players on the sideline. You don't have to register player names with the league in advance, so new players that want to have a run to try it out can show up and the manager can put them on without having to have given advance notice to the league (like you would in a grass league).
5. Shinguards are required and boots cannot have studs. Astroturf boots are ideal (the ones with about 5mm grips on the bottom). Mouldies may be permitted but have to be shown to the ref and the opposition have to agree to allow them, so you're best off not using them. Normal grass boots are not allowed. Normal runners are allowed, but you'd be slipping all over the place in them.
Medium league standard is generally quite strong. Always hard to make comparisons, but having played at all levels of grass football, I'd estimate Medium is at least similar standard to the low to mid Leinster Senior League Saturday league standard. Views on that will differ so it's not intended to provoke discussion, just a ballpark indication to illustrate that the standard is decent, whereas in the Social standard there are some strong teams and some ramshackle outfits (as was Boardeaux when we started out 9 years ago).
The pace of the game on an 11-a-side astro pitch is high as the ball travels faster than it does on grass. The St. Benildus pitch is the largest pitch, so decent fitness level is needed.
Generally, anyone who has played 11-a-side at any point and is in reasonable shape, will likely be at least close to the required level. If you have played only 5-a-side, it's still absolutely worth a look: it generally takes a period of adjusting to the higher pace, but we've had many good 5-a-side players step up to become very strong 11-a-side players.
As the team was originally founded to give lads that otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to experience competitive 11-a-side football, we'd still very much prefer that anyone who is considering joining and is a decent 5 or 11-a-side player and is reasonably fit come down to have a run to get a feel for it, as opposed to staying away. While the standard nowadays is that bit higher in order to compete at the Medium standard, the same principles still apply:
1. where someone looks a decent player and just needs to work on fitness, the manager will generally take them in (if we have space) and give them a bit of time to get up to speed.
2. if it looks like they won't be a fit right now, he'll let them know rather than have them join and get no game time. So nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Over the course of 9 years, the team has generally had a remarkably positive team spirit and very strong harmony within the squad (per obervations from refs), and it's a very decent bunch of lads. So if you're interested in playing and are trying to make up your mind, come on down and give it a lash (post on here or PM BaldyConscience to let him know).
This is the forum the team use to publish fixtures & results, match reports, check availability for that week's game, link to the Astro.ie league table, and discuss any other appropriate team matters.
New players: please PM BaldyConscience or helimachoptor after you join to ensure they know your name and boards.ie username (please create one if needed).
As we don't get to meet a few times a week to train together and discuss tactics, players are encouraged to post here to share their views etc. The forum does serve to help recruit new players so keeping it active is helpful.
While this forum is kind of as close to a team dressing room as we have, please also remember that it is a public forum. Therefore, selection decisions and criticism of individual player performance should not be discussed on this forum and please keep comments constructive.
We don't do things like issue player ratings or best player awards, as the team ethos has always been that the team is more important than any individual, but there's no harm with praising a player when you see fit.