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FAQs about Team Formation

What Division does my child belong to? 
The assignment of your child to a Division depends on their age as of July 31 of the year. AYSO provides an age guide by birthdate.

The age divisions (the U stands for under) are:
U5 for 4 and 4-1/2 year olds
U6 for 5 year olds. (note: some regions have only U6 divisions for all players under 6)
U8 for 6 and 7 year olds.
U10 for 8 and 9 year olds.
U12 for 10 and 11 year olds.
U14 for 12 and 13 year olds.
U16 for 14 and 15 year olds.
U19 for 16, 17, and 18 year olds.

Children do not move up in division for the Spring season even if they have had a birthday, so there may be times when, for example, there will be a 6 year old in the Under 6 division.

Why doesn’t AYSO allow me to specify a team for my child?
Two of the mission statements of AYSO are Balanced Teams and Everyone Plays. These two philosophies become very important when you consider the goal of operating a soccer program where young people can learn to develop a positive self-image, self-confidence and other positive character traits through their interest and participation in soccer. We want to achieve this goal with all kids. If kids were able to choose a specific team, then some teams would get stacked with experienced players. This would really diminish the image of soccer for the less experienced teams. It is much more fun for everyone to play (and watch) close, evenly matched games, rather than blow-outs. Therefore, we strive to balance the skill level of the teams during team assignment. Regions may try to support parents who have transportation difficulties and attempt to honor those requests that help avoid undo hardship. Requests based on established friendships are not considered vital.

What if I want to switch my child to a different team? 
Wrong gender or wrong age group assignments will be corrected. Otherwise, team switching is not permitted. If you have been placed with the wrong gender or age group, tell the coach, who can get your child assigned to an appropriate team.

What does it mean to play up or down? 
Teams are organized into divisions that group players by their birthdates, not by their grade in school or by their soccer skills. A division contains players within a given age-bracket. A player whose birth date falls after the end of the bracket, i.e. is very close to the next higher age-bracket, can request to play-up into the next older division. Conversely, but only under very exceptional circumstances, a player may play-down into the next younger division.

Can I request my child play up into an older division if it contains most of my child’s friends or classmates?
Yes. You must make the request this at the time of registration, however we cannot guarantee the request will be granted. We must take into consideration many factors such as the child’s age, size, experience level, and availability of space in the requested division.

Is it a good idea to play-up into a higher division if it contains most of my child’s peers or classmates?
Not necessarily. If your child is an average player relative to age-bracket peers, playing-up will put him or her in the position of being younger and probably weaker than most others on the team. This is particularly true when playing-up into a two-year age bracket. For example, there is a significant difference between the U12 and U14 brackets, where some of the 13 year olds are well into adolescence, physically and mentally. The end result may be that the social benefits of playing with grade-mates are negated by the soccer difficulties.

My child is a very talented player and isn’t challenged by playing with his age-bracket peers. Can he/she request to play up into an older division? 
Yes, provided there is evidence from the previous season that validates the request. Typically, this will be based on information from the player’s coach from the previous season or some equivalent proof. This form of play-up request must be made at registration, but is not guaranteed to be granted and may depend on other factors.

Under what circumstances can a player play-down a division? 
AYSO has strict rules about requests to play-down. These requests are typically denied unless there are very valid reasons. All requests of this nature must be approved by your Regional Commissioner.

If my child played-up last year will he/she automatically be played-up this year? 
Yes. And No. It depends on the reason the child was played up the previous season. If a parent requested a child be played-up based on experience and skill level, and that request was granted, then that child will remain in the higher division. On the other hand, there may be rare occasions when registration is low and two age divisions must be combined in order to form one team. That team would be given the older division’s designation. If enough players register the following season to form teams of both divisions, then children who played-up the previous season would not be forced to do so again.

Is it possible to play-up more than one age bracket? 
No. 

FAQs about Games

How often are practices and games?
Practices are usually held twice a week (the days and times are determined by your child’s coach). Games will normally be on Saturdays, although some regions schedule their U6 games for a different day of the week. There are typically 8 games per season.

Should players wear uniforms to practice? 
No. Uniforms should be reserved for game days. Players simply need to come to practice in comfortable, breathable clothing, and must wear shin guards and athletic shoes or cleats.

What are short-sided games? I saw a professional soccer game and the size of the field was huge! Is my child going to have to play on a field that big?
Only the U12 division and up play on a fairly large field. All the fields are sized so they’re appropriate for the children’s age. The younger children play ‘short sided’ matches with less players on the field at the same time. This is to give those players more playing time and allow them to develop their skills.

How many players are on a team? How many are on the field during a game?
Because we play short-sided games, the answer depends on the age division. AYSO guarantees each child at least 2 quarters of playing time each game, so teams should never have more players than that guideline will allow. For example, the U8 division plays games with 5 players per team on the field, so there should never be more than 10 players on that team, and preferably fewer. U10 games are played with 7 players per team on the field, U12 games are played with 9 players per team on the field, and U14 and older play with 11 players per team on the field.

How early do we need to arrive on game day? 
We recommend that all players be at the field 30 minutes prior to game time.

It’s my turn to bring snacks to the game. What kinds of snacks are recommended?
Snacks are provided by the “snack parent” for players on game day. At halftime, they should get water and fruit (grapes, and orange slices are popular). At the end of the game, healthy snacks such as juice boxes, granola or fruit bars, yogurt, etc… are recommended. The Coach or Team Parent will sign up snack parents and each family will be responsible for at least one week.

It’s raining! It’s thundering! Do we have practice? Do we have the game?
We do play in rain. We do not play when there is lightning. Games or practices may have to be cancelled or end early because of weather conditions, so be ready to pick up your child. Your child’s coach will contact you if a game or practice needs to be cancelled.

I don’t think my child is getting enough playing time. What can I do about it?
All coaches are required to keep track of which players play in each quarter, in every game. These records are then turned in to the referee at the end of each game. If you’re not sure how much playing time your child has had, please talk to your coach. Every player is guaranteed to play at least half of every game.

If your concern is legitimate, and your player truly isn’t being given an equal amount of playing time, ask your child’s coach or contact your region’s Coach Administrator.

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AYSO Area 5G

Pete Xiques, Director, AYSO Area 5G 
 Tennessee 37931

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 865-604-2678
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