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Attleboro Youth Soccer

Attleboro Youth Soccer

Parent's Guide

What is Attleboro Youth Soccer?

The Attleboro Youth Soccer is a volunteer organization run by a Board comprised of Attleboro residents.  It is responsible for running the town’s fall and spring soccer programs.  Our soccer programs include children from age 4 through Grade 12.  The program is not affiliated with school athletics or the Attleboro Recreation Department.

The City of Attleboro Recreation Department and the School Department provide the playing fields for the league to use.  The Youth Soccer League uses portions of players’ dues to pay for field renovations and maintenance.

What is the League’s philosophy?

The Attleboro Youth Soccer’s basic purpose is to provide a safe, organized, high-quality environment for learning and playing the game of soccer.  The League’s purpose is guided by the following philosophy:

The Attleboro Youth Soccer will promote soccer instruction and competitive play as a means to encourage individual physical and mental development in a team environment.  The importance of winning and personal achievement is recognized, but these are to be attained in association with and not at the expense of sportsmanship and reasonable participation for every player.

      Our Code of Conduct is:

  •  Respect your teammates – they’ll play their best when encouraged, not criticized.
  •  Respect the coaches – they volunteer their time and energy and in return expect full cooperation.
  •  Respect the referees – they do their best to run the games fairly and should never be verbally harassed.
  •  Respect your opponents – they play for the same reasons we do, and should be applauded, not taunted.
  •  Respect the game – it yields the greatest benefit when taken seriously.

What is the In-Town Soccer Program?

Attleboro Youth Soccer’s In-Town Program offers both Fall and Spring Recreation programs.

Attleboro Youth Soccer’s In-Town Recreation Program involves more than 600 children.  The program was designed to help children learn the game of soccer and develop their soccer skills in a non-competitive team environment.  Children between the ages of five and twelve are eligible to participate.  Children must be 4 years of age by Aug. 31 in order to play Pre-K in the fall.

The season runs for eight weeks and typically begins the weekend after Labor Day in the fall and the first weekend of April in the Spring.  Grade 2 and up practice one hour per week and play one game during the weekend in Attleboro on Sunday.  The Academy Groups (Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade) run for 1 hour on Sunday, with a 30 minute skill session followed by a small sided game.  Practice schedules are determined by the coach, non-coaching families do not have an opportunity to change teams to accommodate practice schedules.  In keeping with the non-competitive philosophy, all children have the opportunity for equal playing time taking into account the number of players present, weather conditions, injury or behavioral issues.   The age group determines if the games are played on a dual field 4v4, 5v5 7v7 or 9v9 format.  Thes formats allows every player many opportunities to touch the ball and improve their basic soccer skills.

Registration for Fall Recreation Soccer occurs in the spring.  Registration for Spring occurs during the fall.  Volunteers run the Soccer League.  We need and welcome every parent to help with coaching, assistant coaching,  or other league activities.  Our motto is to "play safe, play fair, and have fun."

What is the BAYS Travel Program?

Attleboro is affiliated with Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS), a competitive league in which teams from other towns compete against each other on weekends.  Many of the towns we play are relatively nearby (e.g., North Attleboro, Plainville, Foxboro, Mansfield, and Wrentham); and some towns are further away (e.g., Marlboro, Natick, Newton, Watertown).  The average driving time is 25 minutes (ranging from 15 to 60 minutes).

The BAYS Travel Program offers competitive soccer for those in 3rd through 12th Grade.  The Soccer League does offer an In-town Program as an alternative to playing on a BAYS team.

Attleboro Youth Soccer places children on teams according to players’ ages and skills, and submits the teams to BAYS.  BAYS then places the teams in groupings (“Divisions”) with other teams of roughly equal ability.  Each BAYS age group may have up to 4 Divisions, with Divisions 1 and 2 being the most competitive.  The Divisions are further divided into Sections comprising 4 to 6 teams who play each other during the season.          

BAYS age groups are designated by gender and grade. Ex: Girls Grade 3 or Boys Grade 6.  Grades 3 and 4 play 7v7 on smaller fields (ideally 40 yds. X 60 yds.) with downsized goals.  Teams playing 7v7 will have 9 to 13 players per team. Grades 5 and 6 play  9v9 on a larger field than the 7v7 field. There are usually 12-15 players on each team. Grades 7 and 8 play 11v11 with 15 to 18 players on Division 1 & 2 teams and up to 22 players on Division 3 - 4 teams.  HS BAYS (Grades 9-12) plays in one of two formats.  Division 1 and 2 plays 11v11 on a full sized field and Division 3 and 4 plays 7v7 on a 9v9 field.

The fall and spring seasons last for 10 weeks, with 5 away games and 5 home games.  Games are scheduled on Saturdays, although games can be held any day of the week if a make-up is needed.

The Travel Program has a competitive focus, but still emphasizes fun, and skill development.  The spring season is more competitive than the fall, as the section winners for the older age groups receive awards and the Divisions 1 & 2 playoff winners play in the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC). 

Note:  At a coach’s initiative, some teams may enter tournaments, which are an additional soccer experience beyond the BAYS Program.  Each player must pay a tournament fee, typically $30 to $50 depending on the age group and size of the team.  Let your child’s coach know if you are interested.

Who decides on which BAYS Travel team my child will play?

Player placement is the responsibility of the Board of Directors who will rely upon coaches’ evaluations and evaluations by other impartial parties during the season. Additionally some form of evaluation or tryouts might be  held in the spring for the fall season.  Massachusetts Youth Soccer (MYSA), AYS Board Members and/or coaches may conduct or assist during evaluations or tryouts.   Emphasis in finalizing teams will lie with the coach of each particular team.

The top team(s) in any BAYS division will be the strongest.  The Travel Director will decide if other teams should be of equal strength or selected according to players’ skills.  However, in view of the competitive nature of the BAYS program, it is not possible to seed lower teams with some of our strongest players, as these players are needed on the top teams.  Likewise, it is also difficult to place children with their friends or family as soccer skills may differ.  While each team in an age group needs enough players to field a team with adequate substitutes, there will not always be an equal number of players on each team.  Players are placed on a team playing in a division appropriate to the player's skill.

All team assignments will be made not only on the basis of physical skills, but also on the basis of past on-field deportment and level of commitment displayed.  A player who misses or is frequently late for practices or games, or who is uncooperative or displays unsportsmanlike behavior, may receive a lower ranking than a dedicated, enthusiastic player with lesser skills.  In other words, the “whole” player will be considered and placed appropriately. 

Other factors, which affect team assignments, are the availability of coaches, practice time conflicts, and team balance (e.g., we may need to mix players with defensive skills or goal-keeping skills with other players who have attacking skills).

Once your child has been placed on a team, the rosters are submitted to BAYS.  BAYS regulations provide little flexibility in making roster changes during the season.

      Parents and players should understand that:

  • Team assignments are made with the best interests of players and teams in mind.
  •  Player assessment is obviously subjective, but will be conducted as fairly as possible. 
  •  Every effort will be made to see that teams are not exclusionary over time and that team assignments reflect an evaluation of each player’s current skills and commitment.
  •  A player’s individual success and development results in large part from how the player interacts with the team to which he/she is assigned, not on which team.
  •  Often there is not enough room to place all players with equal abilities on the same team. 

As a parent, you can help your child not to feel discouraged if he/she isn’t assigned to a specific team.  Such situations often work out for the best, as it allows your child to develop his/her soccer skills in a less-pressured atmosphere. 

We encourage you to discuss any concerns about team placement with the Travel Director for your child.

Is it possible that my child will not be assigned to a team?

Yes.  While Attleboro Youth Soccer would like to place everyone who wants to play, there are occasions when this isn’t possible.  Sometimes we do not have enough volunteer coaches, or there are not enough children to form a complete team.

The Travel Director will notify parents when there is a problem in assigning your child to a team and a full refund will be issued. 

How are coaches selected?

AYS depends upon parents to volunteer as coaches.  Unfortunately, volunteer coaches are often in short supply.  If you think you might be interested, we encourage you to start coaching in the 1st or 2nd grade, when practices consist of fun games (Farmers & Rabbits, Sharks & Minnows, etc.). 

Please don’t be reluctant to volunteer, even if you’re not athletic and know nothing about soccer.  Many of our most successful coaches never played soccer and are learning the sport along with their children!

Of course, because most of our volunteer coaches are not professional educators or soccer players, occasionally some parents feel their children are not receiving the best soccer instruction. If you find yourself in this situation, we suggest you speak with either the Recreation or Travel Director.

How do coaches become better coaches?

Each season, the Attleboro Youth Soccer runs a series of in town clinics for our coaches. The goal of the clinics is to teach fundamental ideas for running successful practices. The clinics are also designed to give our coaches more knowledge and confidence. The Attleboro Youth Soccer also provides information and funding for coaching seminars and licensing courses in the local area. We strongly encourage coaches to avail themselves of these opportunities so they may learn their craft.

What are a coach’s responsibilities?

  • The coach conducts practices to promote skill development and tactical game awareness, while instilling a sense of teamwork, camaraderie and sportsmanship.  At games the coach assigns players to positions, manages substitutions, and provides sideline instruction and encouragement.
  • Coaches should meet with players and their parents once before the season begins to discuss commitment and procedures.
  • Coaches should set an example of on-field decorum and good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Coaches should not have to waste their time (or that of other players) disciplining unruly or uncooperative children. Coaches must speak to parents immediately in order to remedy the problem. If the situation persists, coaches have the right to reduce playing time or require a misbehaving child to sit out a game. In extreme cases, the matter may be brought to the Travel or Recreation Director, and if still unresolved, before the AYS Board of Directors.
  • Coaches must address parents that display inappropriate behavior (abusing referees, criticizing players, criticizing coaching decisions, shouting instructions at players). In extreme cases, a parent may be asked not to attend subsequent games (and practices) if, after the coach has spoken with the offending parent and the appropriate Director, the parent behavior is still problematic.
  • Coaches are responsible for the children’s safety.   A coach or an assigned adult must remain at the field after practices and games until their parents pick up all children.
  • Coaches should know the rules of the game and should expand their knowledge of soccer by attending coaching clinics.
  • Coaches should ensure that all children on the team are learning soccer, developing a sense of contributing to a team effort and having a positive experience.

What are a player’s responsibilities?

  •  Players should take their commitment to a team seriously.  Players who join a BAYS team are expected to attend practices, games, and post-season playoffs. 
  • Players must notify their coaches when they expect to be absent from either practices or games.  In the case of games, as soon as a player is aware of an unavoidable commitment, he/she should let the coach know.  
  • Players must attend practices on time and come properly equipped with a water bottle, a practice ball, shin-guards, and appropriate clothing and footwear.  Players must wear standard Attleboro uniforms (shirt, shorts, socks) to all BAYS games.  It is a BAYS regulation that players will not be allowed to play without shin-guards and proper uniform. 
  • Players must exhibit positive behavior at both practices and games. Disruptive behavior may result in a coach employing such disciplinary measures as having the player sit out part or all of a game. 
  • Foul or abusive language directed toward any individual is never acceptable.
  • Players should accept their field position assignments from their coach without argument and recognize that the needs of the team as a whole take precedence over individual desires.
  • A player who elects to also play on a select (non-BAYS) team should avoid conflict with his/her BAYS commitment. Conflicts in scheduling should be resolved according to the guidelines established by the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association (MYSA).
  • A player who fails to honor his/her commitment to his/her team may lose playing time, sit out an entire game, or in extreme cases be dropped from the team. 

What are the parents’ responsibilities?

  • Parents should help their children honor their commitment to soccer and to their team by getting them to all practices and games on time, picking them up on time, making sure they are properly equipped before they show up at the field (soccer cleats, shin-guards, proper attire – including jacket/sweats during colder weather, and a water bottle for practices), encouraging proper eating and a good night’s sleep before games, and fostering appropriate behavior on the field.  In other words, parents should encourage their children to act like responsible athletes.
  • Parents are encouraged to attend as many games as possible.  Most children crave parental support and attention; your presence and enthusiastic cheers will help everyone’s morale.
  • Parents are responsible for registering their child prior to each season.  Late registrations may result in your child’s not being able to play if teams are full.
  • Parents should assist team managers when asked to bring water or other refreshments and to help with transportation for away BAYS games.  Parents must find substitutes if they are unable to help.
  • Parents should set a positive role model for children. Parents should not being overly focused on results. Parents should be positive and upbeat in supporting the players and coaches. They should also not blame unfavorable outcomes on poor coaching, refereeing or play by specific members of a team. Negative parental behavior takes the fun out of soccer for the children.

Is it OK to yell to (not at) my child during a game?

Parents are encouraged to attend games and loudly support the team’s efforts.  Words of encouragement, such as “Good try,” “Nice play,” “Great tackle,” and “Let’s go Attleboro” are always welcome.  Also, good plays on either side should be applauded. 

If you are tempted to yell instructions, however, remember that the coaches have worked hard to train and organize the players as a team; therefore any coaching from spectators may prove disruptive and confusing.  You might yell, “pass” when the coach wants your child to dribble, and you might yell, “shoot” when the coach wants your child to pass.  So, if you want to yell something you think is helpful, please ask the coach first!

Even soccer coaches are not supposed to yell instructions to the players, but anyone who has coached younger players knows this is not practical.  When children are learning the game, the coach needs to constantly tell players where to be and what to do, although at some point the children need to learn how to think for themselves.  For older players, quick thinking without help from the coach is a necessary mental skill needed to reach the next higher level.

What can I do if the referee is making bad calls?  Is it OK to question or yell at a referee?

No! AYS forbids shouting at game officials, because it sets a poor example for our youngsters. In fact, AYS does not permit parents to address the referee at all. The official BAYS policy is outlined in BAYS guidebook. It is quite explicit. Parents cannot communicate with referees. The policy applies to coaches as well. Coaches can only communicate necessary information to conduct the game (substitution, time left to play). Parents can help demonstrate good sportsmanship, particularly in game situations, by providing positive support, but never criticizing the referee, the coach, or another player.

There is a shortage of soccer officials, young and old.  About 30% of novice referees quit after just a year on the field, many of them citing harsh treatment by coaches and fans.  Don’t let their official uniform fool you. Many referees are high school students; they will make mistakes and bad calls; they will not see some fouls; they may even be confused by some BAYS rules, which differ from high school rules.  Let’s be courteous to all referees, even if they make a mistake.  It’s not an easy job!  Please treat our high school referees as if they were your children out there trying to do a good job.

Parents should also be aware that the coach is responsible for the behavior of spectators; inappropriate spectator behavior can result in the team being penalized.

Is it true that games are never canceled due to bad weather?

Soccer is an all-weather sport.  Therefore you should expect that at least some of your child’s games would be played on damp and rainy days. 

The coach cannot cancel BAYS games if he/she feels the weather is too nasty.  This decision rests with the Attleboro Youth Soccer Board of Directors or the referee assigned to the game.  The logistics of rescheduling BAYS Travel games is so involved that AYS or referee will be reluctant to cancel games.   Fall and Spring In-Town Recreation schedules have one rain date built into the schedule.  

However, games will be canceled for safety reasons (e.g., thunder and lightning, or an unplayable, water-logged, or frozen field).

How much time will my child play in every game?

Players in AYS’s In-Town Program will experience equal playing time, unless they are removed for behavioral issues or injury or simply do not want to participate.    

While BAYS coaches know that most players would like more playing time than they are given, they must do their best to allocate game minutes fairly among team members. For many reasons it is not always possible to give equal playing time to everyone. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Some players are only good at one position, but the team has a lot of other players who are also capable of playing the same position.
  • A player who is a goalkeeper may have more playing time because there is no one else appropriate for this position.  Coaches may also award goalkeepers by giving them extra time playing other field positions.
  • A player who has not attended practice regularly, does not play with full effort, or who has been uncooperative, should expect to play less during games.
  • A player who is not in good physical shape and tires easily, or who is complaining about an injury, will get less playing time.
  • The coach needs to wait for a suitable time to substitute according to BAYS rules.  This means that sometimes players cannot be substituted even if the coach wants to do so.

Why is Registration held so many months before the start of each season?

There is a tremendous amount of planning which takes place prior to each season.  Once we know which children will be playing, we need to assign each player to a team and then see if any parents wish to coach.  Often there is a lack of volunteer coaches, so team assignments must be juggled. 

For the BAYS Travel Program, team information must be submitted to BAYS 2-3 months prior to the season start.  BAYS needs time to assign teams to divisions and sections and build schedules.  In addition, Attleboro Youth Soccer needs adequate time for coaches to complete required registration and trainings; players to order and receive uniforms; as well as determine the need for and assignment of soccer fields.


Whom should I contact if I have questions?

Your first contact should be your coach. If s/he does not know the answer, you should contact the appropriate Director listed on the web page.


Attleboro Youth Soccer
Attleboro Youth Soccer, P. O. Box 641
Attleboro, Massachusetts 02703

Email: [email protected]

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