How do we run pro clinics and team practices for U9 and above?
Pro clinics are run like the U6-U8 practices, with Brendan distributing a practice plan prior to the practice and leading the coaches through it at the start of the clinic. There is less direction (and therefore more flexibility) for team practices. You can repeat exercises from the pro clinic. Or you can create your own practice plan from exercises in the coaches section, tailored to your team. Note that you will not have access to the Pugg goals for team practices; some coaches purchase their own.
Do we need to reserve fields for team practices for U9 and above? How and when do we do this?
Coaches do not need to reserve fields for pro practices and games; this is done by LUSC. However, they do need to request field space for their team practices with the field scheduler. This should be done before the season starts, but can be changed during the season if space permits. Consider reserving a field alongside another team from your division, so you can join up and support each other as needed.
What are the differences in the various fields around Lexington?
Besides location, fields will vary by what types of games they support and type of surface. For example, Lincoln fields have artificial turf, which means they are playable even after a heavy rain, but the smooth surface changes the ball dynamics from natural grass. Also be sure to note on the schedule when some fields might be going offline for maintenance or conflicting events.
What happens to evening practices as the days grow shorter?
LUSC will have access to lighted fields later in the fall season when the sun sets early. The schedule will be reworked at that time, although effort is made to keep practices on the same day.
I can’t make soccer three times a week. Should I still coach?
Having more coaches on a team makes it easier for everyone. Missing the pro clinics but supporting the team practices is still a big boost for the other coaches, so please consider volunteering even if you cannot make every meeting.
For Division Directors
What is the maximum team size for U9 and U10 (7v7 games)?
Ideally, the maximum team size is 12 for Division 1 and 2 travel teams, and 13 for Division 3 and 4 travel teams and for In-town teams. Players are getting more serious now, and attendance is close to 100% for games barring bad weather and holidays. Having 14 or 15 players on a team makes it harder on the coaches to manage substitutions and ensure a player is not sitting too long.
How do I get more coaches to volunteer?
The coaching attrition from U8 to U9 is much greater than the U7 to U8 transition due to the greater commitment of U9. One thing to do is to encourage coaches to bring parents on as unofficial assistants in U8, so they get a taste of coaching before they might be asked to volunteer in U9. Another thing is to encourage coaches to volunteer even if they cannot make it to all soccer sessions. Very few coaches will be able to make all practices and games, and letting hesitant volunteers know that it’s okay if they miss some meetings will get more to volunteer.
BAYS Zero Tolerance and Player Safety
A situation that puts the Zero Tolerance Policy to test is when players get injured due to rough play. It’s natural for a coach to want to alert the referee to the issue. After all, as BAYS says, “Ensuring player safety is the responsibility of all adults involved with a BAYS soccer game.” [www.bays.org/content/policy-terminated-and-abandoned-matches]. This FAQ addresses the appropriate response for a coach in this situation.
1) As a coach, am I allowed to tell the referee to watch out for player safety? No. The BAYS Zero Tolerance Policy specifically says: “Absolutely no disputing calls, during or after the game, no remarks to the referee to watch certain players or attend to rough play (emphasis added).” [www.bays.org/content/zero-tolerance]
2) If I’m not allowed to address the referee, how can I communicate with him/her? The only individuals in the game who are allowed to address the referee are the players. If you are concerned for player safety, send a message to the referee via one of your players.
3) If rough play continues, what options do I have? If you feel like continuing the game will put your players’ safety at risk, you should abandon the game. This is how BAYS suggests going about this [www.bays.org/content/policy-terminated-and-abandoned-matches]: “Coaches may abandon their team’s participation in a match if they become concerned that by continuing with the game their players would be exposed to a risk of serious injury due to player infringement of the Laws, outside interference or weather or field conditions. To abandon a game, coaches shall call their players to the sideline in front of their bench and request that the captain or another player inform the referee that the team is abandoning the game. Coaches are required to follow Zero Tolerance Policy when communicating to the referee that they are abandoning the game. The game shall be abandoned when the referee signals that the match has ended.”
4) If I abandon the game, won’t this be an automatic forfeit? No, not necessarily. The other team could even be assessed a forfeit. BAYS updated their policies in 2014 to recognize that in situations where player safety is deemed at risk, teams should not be automatically penalized for abandoning the game. Section III in www.bays.org/content/policy-terminated-and-abandoned-matches outlines the procedure to report the game, and possible outcomes of the game. To reiterate, the coach should never address the referee even when players are getting injured due to rough play. Instead, communicate via players, and as a last resort, abandon the game. The above scenarios also apply to player safety due to bad weather such as lightning, or poor field conditions, such as standing water and muddy fields.
5) What happens if the referee cites me for a Zero Tolerance violation in his/her game report? For the lowest level violation, level 1, LUSC will notify the coach that he/she has been cited. For a level 2 violation, BAYS will notify LUSC, and LUSC will impose an automatic one game suspension after the second level 2 violation. For a level 3 violation, BAYS will notify LUSC, and BAYS will impose an automatic one game (or more) suspension.
- Support for Referees of Zero Tolerance Policy: bays.org/book/bylaws-conduct-discipline
- Guidelines to refs for game reports: bays.org/content/zero-tolerance-guideline-game-reports
- Game feedback for sportsmanship and referee issues: Login in to bays.org using your coach login (ask Registrar). Click on “Game Feedback”.