I coach the Middle Country 4th grade girls team and we're facing the same problem/question of when is the right time to have the girls take the next step and move on to the club programs. My older daughter plays for the Top Gun 2014 Black team and started out with Southbay three years ago in the sixth grade so I have limited experience with the club environment. I have two thoughts on the subject.
I honestly donít believe joining a club team until the sixth or seventh grade is all that important to the development of a player. There are an abundant amount of clinics and skills development programs that your child can go to to attain the same skill sets. The problem is, as an earlier writer mentioned, if you donít align yourself with one of the better teams early, it gets increasingly more difficult to get onto one of the upper tier teams unless the coach of one of those teams has an opportunity to see your child play elsewhere. We were asked to have our girls tryout for several teams this fall for next yearís team, but felt the time, money and commitment was unnecessary at this age.
I guess weíll be asking and answering this question again next August. Good luck to all this year!