Travel Team Philosophy and Processes
Forming youth teams is a big responsibility and can be extremely challenging. The major constraints include registration numbers, age cut-offs, available coaching volunteers, and various player skills. MYS takes this responsibility very seriously. Our goal to be as fair, as transparent and as consistent as we possibly can be.
The objective for player placements is to form teams of similar skilled players and to place all players who want to participate in travel soccer. MYS believes our defined and well documented process for meeting this objective is solid. There is diversity (different points of evaluation) and anonymity built into the process which results in a fair and unbiased method of producing accurate placements.
Age Group Specific Q&A
Yes players can attend evaluations with their cast wrapped (however)........MYS will assess the situation during evaluations and if they feel that it is something of danger for any participants they will intervene
· Evaluations are kept confidential
· Tryout and game evaluations are performed by random numbers ( evaluators do not see any names)
· Qualified raters are used who are not familiar with the players
· Coach evaluations of players are considered valuable inputs but do not weigh more than an impartial evaluations
· Evaluations are used as check and balances to each other
Over the years MYS has worked to improve the policies behind the process as well as the inputs to the process. We continue to evaluate the process and member feedback every year and make changes as appropriate. MYS policy and procedures are update on a yearly basis.
MYS travel committee holds post-evaluation sessions to discuss the process and any feedback received during the yearly process. MYS feels it is important to continuously adjust the process to improve it. Please provide your feedback using this secured form.
MYS policy manual is available on the website for all to access and we encourage you to use this manual as your first source of information. It is best to be informed of the MYS process from the documented, factual source.
MYS keeps all player rating information confidential and will not share individual player ratings with any persons outside the Travel Coordinators and President of MYS. This policy is strictly enforced.
Playing travel for MYS in BAYS league is a 2 season commitment for the player and parents. MYS forms teams based upon players participating in both the Fall and Spring season. Players are expected to participate in the majority of practices and games each season. You should generally expect two practices a week which your player needs to commit to, games on Saturdays somewhere in the Metro West area, periodic tournaments over 3 day weekends. Sometimes participate in indoor soccer and summer training starts 2 weeks before the first game of the Fall season. The team Coach is responsible for the monitoring of this policy and working with the Travel Director to address non-compliance to this policy. MYS follows player playing priority guidelines as established by Mass Youth Soccer.
The process of player evaluation is challenging for the players, the parents and the organization. MYS strives to keep these challenges in perspective and set good positive examples to our players when dealing with them. We ask for your help by keeping your feedback to your players and to our volunteers positive as well.
Yes all players who register
for travel soccer make a team. U9 and U10 teams are balanced. U11
and above are leveled A,B,C… It is IMPORTANT to note that MYS may have to combine some players in age groups in order to allow
every child who wants to play travel soccer for MYS the ability to be placed on
an appropriate team.
U9 Division: MYS teams participating in the U9 Division will consist of XX, evenly balanced teams. Boys and Girls teams will be organized the same. Team Names White Hornets, Green Hornets, Swarm, Buzz, Stingers
U10 Division: MYS teams participating in the U10 Division will consist of XX balanced teams at the “A/B” level, balanced teams at the “B/C” level, and so forth, dependent on the number and skill level of participating players. Boys and Girls will be organized the same. XX is dependent on age groups skill level and registration numbers. Level A/B teams are White Hornets, Green Hornets Level B/C teams are Swarm, Buzz Level C teams are Stinger, Black Hornets
U11,U12,U14 Divisions: MYS teams participating in the U11 thru U12 Divisions will consist of teams at the “A” level, teams at the “B” level, and so forth, dependent on the number of participating players. Boys and Girls will be organized the same. Hornets I = A, Hornets II = B, Hornets = C so on.... B and G refer to the gender of the team (Boys or Girls)
Example of Team Name: U12B Mansfield Hornets I translates to U12 age group; Boys; Name; Level I=A
BAYS league dictates the U14 age group as a combination of U13 and U14 players. Aligned with BAYS, MYS
player evaluations combine 7th and 8th grade. U14
teams based on the objective of placing similarly skilled players within an age
group (U14 is one age group) and not limiting players on travel teams (no cuts).
MYS will compete in the U14 age group in BAYS, which is the league we participate in. This means that 7th and 8th graders will be playing against 7th and 8th graders from other towns. Approximately 2/3 of the towns that participated in BAYS have in the past merged age grouped teams at this level. Many youth sport leagues have combined age groups around the country, state, town, including the MYS in-town program. BAYS does offer four divisions of play at the U14 level to accommodate teams and players of all skill levels. The number of MYS teams, their roster size and eventual placement within the BAYS U14 division is dependent upon the number of players that have registered and participated in this years’ tryouts. MYS roster sizes are driven by MYS policy. Having all players of the U13/14 age group tryout on the same day for the same raters has allowed MYS to form teams fully based on soccer abilities and not on age first and then the players’ abilities. This will allow for the level and skill of a team to be more consistent with less significant variation in players’ skill level which may occur on some teams if age is the first deciding factor. Tryouts, coach’s evaluations and game evaluations have been considered, per policy, in the formation of all teams. Teams that are comprised fully of eighth graders or seventh graders may occur based on the process. Again, our philosophy is to form teams of comparably skilled players so that each team and player can develop and compete against teams and individuals of like ability.
Playing Up: A player may play in a higher age group division if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
Born in the month of August, they may play at their grade level.
It is determined that the player’s skill level cannot be met within the current division (must be supported by prior coach and Travel Program Director).
In either case, the player’s parent must notify the Travel Program Director of their desire for their child to play up. Final determination of placement will be made by the Travel Program Director.
Playing Down: A player may NOT play down with their grade if their DOB does not fall within the BAYS guidelines (teams placed in Division 1 or 2). A waiver may be obtained at the discretion of BAYS for a player participating on a team placed in Division 3 or lower.
MYS holds player evaluations each year to re-evaluate all travel players and see where they are compared to their peers every spring - just because a player made one team last year does not necessarily mean that is the correct team for next year. Some player movement [up and down] between teams is generally expected each year. Our soccer players are children who are growing and developing at different rates and at different times. Some players love soccer and knew from the very first soccer experience that soccer was their number 1 sport and they work on soccer skills every day either in the backyard - in skills clinics - camps - or by playing on a CLUB team, others really like soccer - but it is their 2nd/3rd favorite sport/activity and one/two day/s of practice a week is just right for them, some are in-between with soccer becoming their #1 sport or going the other direction and focusing allot more energy and time on a new favorite sport, while still wanting to play soccer and have some FUN.
Our goal is to place each player on a team with players of similar skills and 3 sources of data points allows MYS to continuously reach that goal. MYS collects 3 sources of data which serve as check and balance to each other. Collecting 3 sources of data observed on 3 separate occasions enables MYS to assess players are assessed under fair and equal conditions.
A few years ago MYS acted upon membership
feedback that one night of evaluating is not enough. MYS found it valuable to have
players evaluated in game situations so the process of game day evaluations was
made policy and is now strictly followed. MYS (board members, coaches and former
players) spend many hours evaluating games.
MYS request experienced coaches and former players help with the process. This is 1 source of information supplementing the evaluation information. Game evaluations are an anonymous source of information which limits bias, favoritism, and opinions within the player placement process. These evaluations also serve as a check and balance to the coach’s evaluation of the player.
Evaluations are held in a single session per age group. At check in players are RANDOMLY grouped into teams of 6-8 players. When the session is broken down the players are observed non-stop for XX hours by experienced soccer coaches or former players. XX is dependent on the number of players being evaluated. The evaluators observe each team 2 times on the larger fields and 1 time on the small sided fields with rotations occurring every 12-15 minutes. This produces a significant amount of data points and various views of the player.
The evaluation of a player by the past season coach is very important data to our process. The travel committee uses the coach’s input to help determine the correct player placement. This data serves as an important check and balance to the rest of the data points we gather.
The evaluation process incorporates position changing, opponent changes and rest periods. The evaluators are instructed to look for basic team skills (passing, communication, etc) as well as individual skills. Player evaluation is on small sided fields which enables the evaluators to monitor foot skills, ball control, off the ball movement and ball possession. Players are also rotated to 6v6 or 8v8 fields so skills such as shooting, defensive technique, aggressive play, player understanding of positions can be assessed.
Our evaluators are current and former players and current and former coaches. Some evaluators will be boys coaches, some will be girls coaches, no evaluator will be assessing age groups they have a child in. One or more board members will be at each evaluation night.
A key asset to the player placement process is MYS’ multi-member travel selection committee. The role of this committee is not to pick the teams but to assure that the process and policies are followed when forming teams of players of like skill/talent. The committee compiles the evaluation results and are responsible for calculating a final rating. They do not have input or make changes to the results. The results of 3 data sources drive the player placement.
MYS posts names/numbers on website. This method can change from year to year. Parents and players will be notified of changes via email and website communication.
The program forms teams of comparably skilled players, so that each team can develop as a group and compete against teams of like ability. MYS strives to build depth in age groups by balancing teams of U9 and U10. U11 is the first year “A” teams will be formed. The objective is to place youth soccer players at a level of competition that is most beneficial for their own development. MYS believes that players have the most positive experience when playing with and against players of equal ability and experience.
BAYS is the travel league we participate in with over 50 other towns in the metro west area. Bays has over 1,000 teams participating and is broken up into 4 divisions of teams in each age group, with many sections in each division. Once MYS build teams - we try to have them placed in an appropriate division/section of BAYS so that any given team is playing against similarly skilled teams. If over time [season] one team improves relative to the peers in the section - BAYS can move that team up to face more competition - if one team is really struggling, BAYS will move our team down - to give it more equal competition. BAYS goal is have every team win half of their game - which would mean that that team is in the perfect spot — very competitive for the skill set.
The Travel Program Director reviews all teams prior to the start of each season (Spring and Fall), and submits to BAYS a recommended Division and Section of play. The recommendation is based upon a team’s performance during the prior season, roster changes, and game size (ie. 6v6, 8v8, or 11v11). When a new team or a blended equal strength team is formed, the Travel Program Director will submit this information to BAYS for divisional placement of similar teams. MYS does its best to have teams placed within the appropriate bracket so that each team will be evenly matched against its competition.
It is the philosophy of MYS to form teams of appropriate size to maximize player participation and game endurance. Targeted roster sizes are noted in the MYS policy manual.
Each team has a volunteer Head Coach with the objective of assigning at least one (1) Assistant Coach, as well as a team parent. Additional volunteer coaches may be selected based upon roster size, game schedule, or other event. A team parent is also encouraged to help with coordinating communications to the team (fundraising, team events, car pooling, coaches’ gifts, etc.).
Players participate in at least 50% of every game.
Each season MYS is tasked with identifying volunteer coaches for both their In-Town and Travel program. A travel coaching selection committee will review each coaching candidate based upon the following: Completed Coach’s application, Willingness to abide by BAYS Code of Conduct/MYS Playing Policy, MYSA Licensure, Prior coaching experience: Including coaching feedback – parents, MYS Board Members, Soccer playing experience, CORI check. In the event that there are multiple candidates with equal qualifications, the final selection will be made by the Travel Program Director.
Terms for coaching positions, In-Town and Travel, are for a one-year term only. It is important to note that coaching one year does not guarantee being assigned a team the next year. Volunteers must apply each year for a coaching position. Limits to teams and terms is determined by the travel committee and coach development director.