Medway Youth Soccer – Travel FAQs
To help parents and guardians understand the structure, process, and philosophy of Medway Youth Soccer’s Travel Program, the Board of Directors have created this FAQ document to alleviate areas of confusion we see come up most frequently.
Travel Program Organization and Philosophy
- How is the Travel Program organized?
- Are cuts made in the Travel Program?
- Why are teams comprised of players with comparable skill levels, rather than balanced evenly?
- What are the key dates and schedule for the Travel Program?
- Why is the refund deadline so early and before teams are announced?
Player Placement and Evaluation Process
- How are players assigned to teams?
- What is the process for travel evaluations and how are they organized?
- Why are evaluations held so early?
- What happens if my child is unable to make evaluations?
- Question: Why are evaluations held once per year and not twice per year (i.e., in both spring and fall)?
- Can parents request a change in placement?
- I’ve seen players change teams after the initial release – why did this happen?
- How are coaches determined? What if more than one parent would like to be head coach?
- Are player placements made based on available coaches?
- What happens if a coach is not found?
Travel Program Organization and Philosophy
Question: How is the Travel Program organized?
Answer: Beginning in fourth grade, Medway Youth Soccer players enter the Travel Program. Medway is part of the Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) league. Medway offers dedicated teams for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, while 7th and 8th graders are blended onto joint teams. On occasion and as numbers necessitate, blended teams for grades 4/5/6 may be necessary, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The Travel Program runs in both the fall and spring seasons, though players sign up for each season separately and do not need to commit to both.
The primary purpose of the Travel Program is to continue to develop the skills and confidence of each and every player to assure their current and future enjoyment of the game. Travel players are placed on teams with other players of a comparable skill level, to play against other Travel teams of comparable skill level to maximize each player’s opportunity to develop his or her skills and confidence.
Question: Are cuts made in the Travel Program?
Answer: No players are ever “cut” based on their soccer ability or performance. However, players signing up after the deadline are not guaranteed a roster spot. MYS makes every effort to have all players interested in playing participate. However, in fairness to those who sign up on time, late signups may not be accommodated if they result in unacceptable roster sizes.
Question: Why are teams comprised of players with comparable skill levels, rather than balanced evenly?
Answer: As mentioned, MYS believes that the best way to maximize each player’s opportunity to develop his or her skills and confidence is to place them with other players of a comparable skill level and have them play against other teams of comparable skill level. Most towns in BAYS also follow this model. This makes accurately placing teams of blended skill level very difficult, where higher or lesser skilled players can be significantly over- or under-matched. This results in a less than ideal environment for many of our players.
Question: What are the key dates and schedule for the Travel Program?
Answer: Travel teams play 10 games per season on Saturdays from early September through mid-November in the fall, and early April through mid-June in the spring. Girls travel teams typically play between 9am and noon, and Boys teams between 1pm and 4pm. Teams practice twice during the week, with the schedule determined at the discretion of the head coach. Further:
- For the Fall season, registration runs from April to mid-May, with evaluations occurring in late May and early June. Teams are announced in early July, and coaches begin to contact their teams in late mid-late August. The deadline for refunds is June 1.
- For the Spring season, registration runs from December through January. Rosters are announced in late February or early March, and coaches begin to contact their teams in mid- to late March. The deadline for refunds is February 1.
Question: Why is the refund deadline so early and before teams are announced?
Answer: While the refund deadlines seem early, they are based on financial commitments MYS makes to the league based on player registrations. With more than 50 towns in BAYS, it takes months for the league to collect team submissions and initial placement requests, set up initial groupings, review those placements with the towns, make changes based on feedback, and build the full schedule for the season. If towns withdraw teams after this process has begun, it creates a significant burden on the league, and as a result, financial penalties are levied on the withdrawing town.
When players drop out late in the process, it can create a trickle-down effect impacting other players on their team, other teams in our Travel Program, and across other programs in the league. The Board understands that at times, withdrawal will be unavoidable, and will review situations as they arise, however, our refund policy serves to ensure players that sign up are committed to playing that season.
Player Placement and Evaluation Process
Question: How are players assigned to teams?
Answer: Since children mature and develop physically at different times, it is critically important to reassess their skill development every year to assure that they remain properly placed. Players are assessed by their coaches on a biannual basis, and independently during the annual evaluation sessions. Based on the combination of these assessments, players are placed on the appropriate team by the respective Travel Director. Efforts are made to maintain team continuity over the course of the year (fall and spring seasons), but placement can be fluid between fall and spring based on the number of signups in a particular grade level. Any changes to spring rosters are made based on the same set of evaluation criteria that is used for the fall.
Question: What is the process for travel evaluations and how are they organized?
Answer: Evaluations are held over 2 weeks in late May and early June. Each age group is scheduled for 2 evaluation sessions (one each week), with different drills and focus areas being emphasized on each night. Players should make their best effort to attend both sessions to give evaluators the best opportunity to accurately score them. If a player cannot attend either or both sessions, the respective Travel Coordinator should be contacted prior to the session. In order to participate in an evaluation, players must be registered.
Evaluations are run under the supervision and direction of our Girls and Boys Travel Directors. Experienced Travel coaches serve as evaluators, with a focus on ensuring that that coaches with experience coaching girls evaluate girls and coaches with experience coaching boys evaluate boys. Coaches of the age group being evaluated are prohibited from serving as evaluators to maintain impartiality.
Question: Why are evaluations held so early?
Answer: Similar to the rationale behind the refund deadline, this comes down to the league timeline for submitting teams, building groupings, and scheduling games. See above “Why is the refund deadline so early and well before teams are announced?”
Question: What happens if my child is unable to make evaluations?
Answer: Every effort should be made to attend both evaluation sessions. This provides evaluators with the greatest opportunity to assess each player’s skill level. It is understandable that conflicts will occur. If a player is able to make only one evaluation session, the respective Travel Director should be notified ahead of time so that they can make the evaluators aware of the player’s availability. If a player is unable to make either evaluation session (due to conflicts, date of signup, or any other reason), they will be placed on a team based on the information the Board of Directors has available to them.
Question: Why are evaluations held once per year and not twice per year (i.e., in both spring and fall)?
Answer: There are two reasons evaluations are held annually rather than biannually. First and most importantly, the Board of Directors feels that an annual independent evaluation, coupled with coaching feedback, provides more than enough information with which to build teams in an informed manner. Most towns and club organizations follow this model. Secondly, while evaluations are necessary they also disrupt the normal schedule of the Medway Youth Soccer community. Fields are closed to non-evaluation activity and most teams do not practice over the two weeks of evaluations. This is acceptable once per year to ensure we have the information required to accurately build teams. But a biannual evaluation process would provide limited additional value for the disruption it would cause.
Question: Can parents request a change in placement?
Answer: MYS does not make changes to player placements based on parental feedback. Parents are always welcome to ask for clarification on the evaluation process and provide feedback to their respective Travel Director. Evaluation scores and coaches’ assessments are strictly confidential and cannot be shared, and changes cannot be made based on these conversations.
Question: I’ve seen players change teams after the initial release – why did this happen?
Answer: Over the course of the pre-season, additional players may sign up that were not included in the original team release. As noted, players signing up after the deadline are not guaranteed a roster spot, but MYS makes every effort to accommodate all players when possible. In this scenario, players may be moved from one team to another to even out roster sizes. This is done at the discretion of the Travel Director and based on the same process used for initial placements.
Question: How are coaches determined? What if more than one parent would like to be head coach?
Answer: MYS is strictly a volunteer organization. Our program depends entirely on our parent coaches. Parents have the opportunity to volunteer as either head coach or assistant coach when registering their child. After evaluations are held and player rosters are released, Travel Directors review the head coach volunteers and assign them to the teams on which their children have been placed. In the event there are multiple volunteers for head coach, each candidate will be interviewed before a decision is made. Assistant coaches are selected by the head coach, at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
Question: Are player placements made based on available coaches?
Answer: No. Players are placed based solely on their evaluation scores and coaches’ assessment. Players are placed on teams first, and then coaches are selected.
Question: What happens if a coach is not found?
Answer: The Travel Directors work diligently to find coaches and support them however possible. This could be through coordinating joint practices with other teams in their age group, providing practice plans, and on rare occasions finding non-parent volunteers to assist. If all these options are exhausted and no volunteer coaches are found, it is possible that the team would have to be disbanded. In this case, refunds would be made.