Massively! It helps with Fair Play, Rapid Player Development, and is an Extraordinary Motivator for players.
The main purpose of any Youth Soccer League in the world should be about how to help players develop gradually, and consistently every year.
Let's start by mentioning some of the benefits of having several Divisions within a league , such as in American Soccer League:
#1 Fair Play
How many times have we seen teams who are currently ranked Top 25th in Florida or in the Nation, and they have registered to play in Division 2 or 3? Too many to count if we are honest. After years of analyzing this beautiful sport in Florida, whether is a local tournament or not, decisions like the one mentioned above, it has a tremendous negative impact on the game, and more importantly on the players. By having different divisions, the league coordinator can place all teams where they belong after playing a round of several friendly matches on the first day, and then is determined where they should be playing whether is Division 1, 2 or 3. Fair Play is more than what it means, or stand for, is creating a culture within players and clubs to be part of something better than just their names or brands, is to impact positively our next generation.
#2 Rapid Player Development
Imagine for a second that all players are sharing the ball in a match, both teams are losing possession, and then having it back, they also try to protect it but one specific player risks more than the rest of the team and comes around and takes the ball, it seemed as the whole team was just thinking what to do in that second but not that specific player. A minute goes by, and one of them tries a new move but he fails, the defender recognizes what she did good and looks to replicate it again in the match (we all know as coaches what it takes to become a decent defender or to have success in that department, it will take her more than one time, perhaps we could say 10 000 times; however, she is in the right path) We continue analyzing the match, and sharing every other minute a couple of smiles at the players and the game, we understand that our role is to praise them for their continuing efforts, and not criticize them in front of their parents or friends for their failures so that we justify if we happen to lose the game it was not our fault, it was theirs. The player that lost the ball a couple of minutes ago, he learnt in that moment what Transitioning is (do not say that big word to a 7 years old Division 3 Level) now he is undecided to try or not another move again, another 5 minutes passed, and he gets the ball back; however, this time he kicks the ball out of bounds, and the coach noticed it immediately what happened in his mind, same player then looked around and realized that not matter what he does from that point on, he will feel the tension from his teammates, viewers around, and every person in that moment. Whistle goes off a minute later, and they all headed to the bench...
As you probably noticed, the game was balanced and all players were around the same level. Ball Development was divided equally among them on both teams; however, what the coach stresses in those two or three minutes of rest, it will be what defines how the players will play the rest of the match, and if they are really in the right path towards Rapid Development or just the final result. Coach analysis and opinion of the 1st quarter of the match: "Hey team, I cannot say enough how proud I am to be your coach! Love how some of you guys are trying some skills and moves we practiced over the week. I also gotta mention that it is totally fine if you try to dribble and lose the ball, what I appreciate the most, once again, is you trying. Now go out there, and continue trying until the end"
That is what Proper Development is about, we really hope this message of a real narrative is read by you and some other coaches as well, and have the same effect that it has had in others including those players that are not giving up on their creativity, and dreams of one day become professionals.
#3 Extraordinary Motivator
What is a better motivator than playing another team and not losing 0-14? When a team is placed in Division 2 or 3, and all their games are against other teams of the same level, most of those games are going to be tight, but fun for everyone involved. Final Scores can ruin a player's dream, perhaps we are not talking about one game or a loss, but certainly a whole season going through repetitive experiences such as that, can weight a lot on a player's mind who is just starting in this sport. Coaches and Directors, keep always in mind that the self esteem of a player is one important factor whether he or she continues playing or not in the years to come, now is your turn to care for them, and find the right league for their development, and more importantly their dreams.