Coaching Philosophy and Policies

The Board of SYSL has a specific Philosophy and Policies regarding the placement of players, playing time, and positional play that we expect our coaches to
be aware of.

The Somerville Youth Soccer League is Somerville’s Youth Recreational Soccer League and as such is open to any interested child from ages 2 ½ to 18 years of age. As stated in our mission statement:
The objective of the SYSL is to provide an opportunity for youth to participate in the sport of soccer as part of an organization comprising players, parents, volunteers and corporate sponsors. The SYSL is devoted to providing training in the rules and regulations of the sport, encouraging the development of individual skills, promoting physical fitness, and fostering teamwork and fair play. Winning is fun and exciting but most important, we want to teach our children that striving to do their personal best is what really matters most. In this spirit, all member teams, coaches, managers, parents and players shall conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner and shall cooperate fully with the letter and the intent of the SYSL constitution and its bylaws and any rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Directors”.

Placement of Players:
There are three different team structures in our league:
Players under 8 years old: In-town program with mixed co-ed U6 and divided by sex  U7, and U8 teams. The games are played as small-sided games (3 v 3 at U6, and 6 v 6 at U7 & U8). These teams are instructional only; no scores or standings and players are placed on these teams so that all the teams are competitive.
Players over 8 Travel division: Travel program Middlesex Youth Soccer League (with teams from 28 towns). This league is competitive with scores and standings kept and teams assigned by skill level to one of four divisions. Players are divided by sex as well. Toddlers: For children younger than five. These are playgroups organized by SYSL with no official games.

Playing Time:
It is the policy of Somerville Youth Soccer that once players are placed on a team, that all players on that team be given almost equal playing time. We recognize that substitution rules do restrict how and when players are substituted but equal playing time should be the goal.  For travel teams equal times should be measured through the whole season and not per game. Not being given playing time is one of the major reasons given for players leaving our league.

Players and their parents on travel teams make a significant commitment by attending practice and traveling to away games that can be a considerable distance (for example Westford). Coaches need to honor that commitment by seeing that the players get to participate fully on the team.

Positional Play:
Somerville Youth Soccer does not have explicit policies covering positional play of players. However, another major reason players give for leaving our league is because they have been denied the opportunity to play more than one position. Restricting players to playing only one or few positions at young ages is inappropriate, it results in players with a poor understanding of the game, and players lacking in fundamental skills. It is not possible to predict children’s future growth, athletic development and interest in playing Soccer (i.e. it is not unusual for players who are very skilled at one position to end up being more skilled at a different position when they are older). The Middlesex Youth Soccer League is organized into two seasons partially for this reason; the fall season is intended to be instructional. Standings from the fall are only used for placing teams for the spring season when there is a championship tournament.

A Final Note:
A winning season is the consequence of good coaching and not the goal. If your players have learned to be better players and to play as a team the wins will come. The Board thanks the majority of coaches, players and parents who recognize this and participate in the spirit of the League’s philosophy. The Board expects all coaches to fully adhere to our policies stated above and will take appropriate action if any do not. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions,
or would like to address the Board on any of these matters please feel free to contact us.