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FAQs

Welcome to SYSA!  As a member of the SYSA community you are sure to have questions.  As this is often your child’s first athletic experience and that youth soccer has many moving parts, it can be confusing.  To that end we list the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  In most cases, the answers represent guidelines, rather than hard and fast rules, and are subject to change.  SYSA’s guiding principle is for the children involved to have fun and enjoy the SYSA program. Should you have a question you do not see listed below, please send to the Safety & Risk Management Director Safety.

 

What are the differences between SYSA’s “intramural” and “travel” soccer programs?

All SYSA programs are guided by the same fundamental principles, but travel and intramural soccer are by necessity organized differently.  SYSA fields teams in both the fall and spring seasons.  Both fall and spring programs generally have an 8-week season commencing after Labor Day in the fall and in early April in the spring.

Intramural soccer commences with the U-5 (under 5) age group and continues through U-9.   The program generally consists of 1 to 1½ hour of soccer on Saturdays, with some portion dedicated to drills and skills training and the other portion dedicated to games against other teams.  We may also hold clinics and other activities on Sundays and other days of the week.  We generally do not field intramural teams older than U-9 as most kids desire to play travel soccer when eligible and we do not have sufficient numbers to field intramural teams at older ages.  Nahant Youth Soccer operates their own training sessions for their intramural players. All IM games are against other Swampscott teams and the Nahant teams, so intramural soccer is an “in-town” program.

Travel soccer competes in the Essex County Youth Soccer Association (ECYSA) league and is subject to ECYSA’s rules.  In the fall, we field teams in the U-10, U-12 and U-14 age groups, and we also field older teams in the spring when numbers allow.  Teams older than U-14 are not fielded in the fall as many of the older players will be playing high school soccer. 

The U-12 and older age group teams will have players within a two-year age group who are eligible to play for those teams (i.e., 1st year players and 2nd year players).  This is different from our U-10 teams, where typically only “2nd year” players play travel soccer, as our U-9s continue to play intramural soccer.

 

What is the new "preparatory" soccer program?

 

Under the legacy Intramural framework 350-400 children from age 5-9 were grouped together under a single "Intramural" heading. This is a very large number of kids to be managed under one organizational umbrella. This age range spans a very diverse spectrum of needs with respect to soccer skills instruction and the teaching of team and game concepts.  

 

Starting in the Fall of 2012 SYSA will be separating the Intramural grouping into two new groups, Intramural (U5, U6, U7) and Preparatory (U8, U9). This is being done in an attempt to improve the ease of logistical coordination and enhance overall skills development  of these kids in an efficient and appropriate manner.

 

In these years SYSA expects that players and coaches will continue to gain and refine soccer skills and experience as they focus on learning, playing and coaching within the structure and rules of the game. SYSA recognizes that the element of competition will emerge, but the priority and focus must be on the continuous development of team and individual skills that elevate all players and coaches as they advance and enjoy the game of soccer.

 

What are the differences between SYSA's "Intramural", "Preparatory", and "Travel" soccer programs?

 

All SYSA programs are guided by the same fundamental principles, but Travel, Preparatory and Intramural soccer are by necessity organized differently.  SYSA fields teams in both the Fall and Spring seasons.  Both Fall and Spring programs generally have an 8-week season commencing after Labor Day in the fall and in early April in the spring.

 

Intramural soccer commences with the U-5 (under 5) age group and continues through U-7.   The program generally consists of 1 to 1½ hour of soccer on Saturdays, with some portion dedicated to drills and skills training and the other portion dedicated to games against other teams.  We may also hold clinics and other activities on Sundays and/or other days of the week.

 

Preparatory soccer consists of our U8 and U9 players and is meant to bridge the transition from Intramural to Travel soccer. The U8/U9 grouping under the "Preparatory Soccer" umbrella is new for the Fall 2012 season. In these years SYSA expects that players and coaches will continue to gain and refine soccer skills and experience as they focus on learning, playing and coaching within the structure and rules of the game. For both U8 & U9 preparatory soccer teams will be chosen randomly and balanced before the season starts. U8 play will be 5 v 5 and U9 will be 6 v 6.  U8 and U9 play may consist of a midweek practice/skills session and also Saturday game.

 

We generally do not field intramural teams older than U-9 as most kids desire to play travel soccer when eligible and we do not have sufficient numbers to field intramural teams at older ages.  Nahant Youth Soccer operates their own training sessions for their intramural and preparatory players. All IM and U8 Preparatory games are against other Swampscott teams, U9 play will be amongst Swampscott and Nahant teams, so both are "in-town" programs.

 

Travel soccer competes in the Essex County Youth Soccer Association (ECYSA) league and is subject to ECYSA's rules.  In the fall, we field teams in the U-10, U-12 and U-14 age groups, and we also field older teams (U16 – U19) in the Spring when numbers allow.  Teams older than U-14 are not fielded in the Fall as many of the older players will be playing high school soccer. 

 

The U-12 and older age group teams will have players within a two-year age group who are eligible to play for those teams (i.e., 1st year players and 2nd year players).  This is different from our U-10 teams, where typically only "2nd year" players play travel soccer, as our U-9s continue to play preparatory soccer. 

 

How are players selected for the teams?

Players play in their own age group as determined by birthdate (i.e., there is generally no “playing up”).  See “Does SYSA allow playing up or playing down?” for more information. 

For the intramural teams, the teams are chosen at random, and not by school or some other pre-determined criteria.  In the older age groups, the Intramural Director may work with the age group directors and others to attempt to balance the teams.

For the travel teams, teams are chosen based principally upon results from try-outs held every spring for the following year, and evaluations prepared by the coaches from the prior season.  Teams are picked on the basis of ability rather than age (i.e.,  a team may be composed of a mixture of “1st year” and “2nd year” players, rather than fielding teams composed only of 1st or 2nd  year players). 

It is important to understand that the purpose of the try-outs is to determine which team each player will play on, not which players will make the teams and which players will be cut.  A fundamental goal of SYSA is to place each player who wants to play on a travel team.  However, the ECYSA league rules place limits on the maximum size of team rosters, and due to those limitations, SYSA is sometimes unable to accommodate every player on a travel team. 

It is also important to understand that the teams are chosen without regard to who the potential coaches might be.  The players on a team are chosen first, and after that is accomplished, SYSA looks at the list of parents of those players to see who has volunteered to coach the team.  In other words, the perception that a particular parent may be a “good coach” does not affect which team his or her child is placed on.

 

Does SYSA allow “Playing Up” or “Playing Down”?

For travel soccer “playing down” (to play with players younger than the specified birth date) is not allowed by league rules.  In general SYSA does not allow players to “play up” (to play with players older than the specified birth date).  An exception may be made for players who want to play up in order to play with school classmates.  Once a player has chosen to “play up” that player must continue to “play up” at that level for each future season through to the second year of U14.

 

Will the players and the coaches stay together from one season to the next? 

A soccer year consists of 2 seasons (Fall and Spring).  Teams are selected for the Fall season each year.  IM teams change from Fall to Spring.  Travel teams generally stay together from the Fall to Spring seasons.  Some changes will occur, however, as players may decide only to play one of the two seasons, and coaches may sometimes change.  Sometimes the change in the number of players from Fall to Spring is such that the teams must be combined or more fully reconstituted in order to field teams of appropriate size.

Each Fall, new teams are chosen as players move to appropriate age groups.  As described above, the Travel teams within an age group are chosen based upon ability and not age.  Unlike some other towns, SYSA does not seek to field  “first-year teams” and “second-year teams.”  So as a general matter, the teams will not remain together from year to year, and keeping teams together is not a criteria used by SYSA in the team selection process.

 

Does the Essex County Youth Soccer Association (ECYSA) have different divisions, and how are teams placed in those divisions?

ECYSA has Divisions 1 , 2 and 3, with Division 1 being the most competitive, and there are various groups within each division which are ranked based upon ability.  Teams are placed by ECYSA based upon their record from the prior season and input from the travel director from each town.

 

How can I become a SYSA coach?

SYSA is always looking for volunteers to coach and provide other assistance.  The first step is to volunteer- indicate your desire to help in connection with the on-line registration process for the players each season.  SYSA can also use volunteers in a number of other areas beyond just coaching.

If you are interested in coaching, you should also contact either the IM Director or the Travel Director depending on the age group. Parties interested in coaching should also review SYSA’s Coaches Code of Conduct, which all SYSA coaches are required to sign, to understand some of the expectations in connection with serving as a coach.  

SYSA also has coaching license requirements.  SYSA requires that its IM coaches obtain a “G” license, and that its travel coaches obtain an “F” license.  SYSA will pay the relevant license fees and will assist interested parties in learning how to obtain their G and F licenses.

 

Why does SYSA make people sign up so early for travel soccer?

The timetable  for sign-ups each season are driven buy ECYSA’s deadlines to get teams registered.   Teams for the fall need to be registered with ECYSA by early July, and teams for the spring need to be registered by early January.  So SYSA needs to get the players signed up early and then divided into teams in order to get the teams registered to play in the travel league by ECYSA’s deadlines. 


Does SYSA have futsal and/or indoor soccer teams?

SYSA does not organize futsal and/or indoor soccer teams, although it encourages its coaches to do so.  Whether or not to organize a team is entirely within the discretion of coaches or other interested persons, although it would be helpful to inform the appropriate SYSA Age Group Director of the intention to do so.

Historically, the most popular venues for Swampscott teams have been in Beverly and Revere for indoor soccer and in Danvers and Topsfield for futsal (futbolito, calcetto).

 

What level of commitment is expected of the children?

IM player participation usually consists of games on Saturday in Swampscott (or Nahant for U9) and up to one practice per week. 

Travel participation consists of one weekly game (in Swampscott or anywhere in Essex County) and up to two practices per week. Being present for Travel practices is very important for the development of the players and the team.

 

Does SYSA enter teams into tournaments?

SYSA does not enter teams into tournaments, although it encourages its coaches to do so.  Whether or not to enter a team into a tournament is entirely within the discretion of coaches or other interested persons, although it would be helpful to inform the appropriate SYSA Age Group Director of the intention to do so.  Among other things, most tournaments require that the players exchange town “patches” after each game, and these patches will need to be obtained from SYSA.

Many of SYSA’s travel teams will play in out-of-town tournaments, particularly over holiday weekends.  Historically, the most popular tournaments for SYSA teams have been over Labor Day weekend (in Salem), Columbus Day weekend (in Peabody), and Memorial Day weekend (in Danvers and Lynn).  

Many tournaments have brackets for teams starting at the U-8 age group.  Teams of Swampscott/Nahant intramural players could be entered into these tournaments at the discretion of coaches or other interested persons.

Most tournaments will allow players of the appropriate age within Swampscott or Nahant to play on any other team fielded by SYSA in that age group.  Accordingly, a SYSA team which is short players for a tournament will sometimes borrow players from another SYSA team for purposes of the tournament.  Some tournaments also allow teams to field a limited number of “guest players” from other towns, and the tournament rules should be consulted for these and other applicable tournament rules.

 

 

©® 2011- 2014
Swampscott Youth Soccer Association
 

 

SYSA
Board of Directors

John Callahan
President & Travel

Susan Rosa
Nahant Rep & Travel

Mellisa Caplan
Intramural & Prep Director

Scott Macey
Safety & Risk Management Director

Paul Bilodeau
Fields and
Equipment Director

Chris Hersey
Skills Director

Patrick Sheehan
Registrar

Seth Caplan

Treasurer

Sarah Marston
Secretary

Bob Van Dam
Communications Director

Doug Sutherland
Director at Large

 

Interested in volunteer opportunities with SYSA?  Contact SYSA Nominating Committee.

 

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