When it comes to youth sports, team rankings are a hot topic. Some believe that they are essential for determining a team's level of success, while others believe that they are irrelevant and do not provide an accurate measure of a team's abilities. So, does team ranking matter? The answer is both yes and no.
On the one hand, team rankings do not matter because they only provide a snapshot of a team's recent performance. Rankings do not take into account the nuances of player development, injuries, coach changes, guest players, and other extenuating circumstances that could affect a team's performance on any given day. For example, a team may be ranked highly one week but could suffer a loss the next week due to an injury to a key player or a change in strategy by the opposing team. Therefore, relying solely on rankings to determine a team's level of success can be misleading and inaccurate.
On the other hand, team rankings can be useful as a tool for player (and parent) preparation. For instance, a player or parent may use a team's ranking to determine the level of competition they will face in a game or tournament. Additionally, leagues can use team rankings to determine whether a new team would be a good fit and have competitive success in their league. Furthermore, tournaments can use rankings to determine flights and bracketing. Thus, team rankings can be helpful in certain situations, but they should not be the only factor considered when evaluating a team's abilities.
Team Ranking Resources
Youth Soccer Games - a new tool being developed to provide score and match up details
GotSoccer - a points based ranking system
Team rankings can be both useful and misleading. While rankings can provide a snapshot of a team's recent performance and help with player and parent preparation, they do not take into account the many nuances of youth sports that can impact a team's success. As such, it is important to use rankings as a tool, but not rely solely on them to determine a team's level of success or for choosing a team to play on, other factors like club culture and coach and team chemistry are much more important. Ultimately, the best use for youth sports rankings is entertainment. They are fun to look at, compare and discuss, but should not be taken too seriously.