Introduction to BSC
Structure and Terminology at The Brookline Soccer Club
- Team Labels: Teams are created by gender and age. There are no co-ed teams at this time. The leagues throughout the country have teams labeled as “Under a certain age in years”. Often the age and gender are abbreviated. So for example. a GU12 team is a Girls Under the age of 12 years team.
- Number of Teams: The club fields around three teams per gender and age group from U9 through U14. All the age groups are single year with the exception of U14 which includes both U13 and U14.
- Select Teams: The club also labels certain teams as “select” teams for older players. Those teams will include a professional coach, extra practices, and away tournament travel.
- Other Types of Teams: Describing different soccer organizations is also sometimes confusing. Typically town residents call the Town of Brookline teams “Rec” teams because they are managed by the Recreation Department. Typically our Brookline Soccer Club teams are called “Town Travel” teams because we play other towns and travel to those games. Then some players in town elect to play for a regional club that accepts players from any town. Those are often called “Club” teams even though we also consider ourselves to be a soccer club.
- Parent Coaches: Some of our teams are coached by parents. Typically younger teams have more parent coaches. Prior experience coaching or playing soccer is not required to be an excellent parent coach. Parents receive training on running practices and coaching games from the club. Most parents find this experience very rewarding.
- Professional Coaches: The direct involvement with the professional coaching staff increases with age and provides players with additional coaching culminating with a professional coach for “select” teams at older ages. BSC has a professional coaching staff including a director of coaching.
- Team Managers: Parents also have an opportunity to become a Team Manager playing an essential and helpful role to reducing the administrative burden upon the coaches.
- Weekly Practices: Acceptance of a player spot on a travel team includes a commitment to attend weekly practices. Most teams have two practices per week at fields located in Brookline. Practice schedules are set by the club in conjunction with the parent or professional coaches working around available fields. The number of practices varies by age group with some older teams having additional practices.
- Logistics: Players will not have opportunities to request practice times or attend practices with other teams held at more convenient locations or times because it is essential to work with your team. Parents often carpool to and from practices and the coach or manager will help facilitate this with team contact lists at the start of the season. Players who accept a spot on these travel teams must be prepared to give practices priority over other after-school activities.
- Travel Required: All of our soccer teams are travel teams and represent Brookline in competition against other towns in the greater Boston area. If you are placed on a team, you can expect to travel as far as an hour away from Brookline. Some games will also be as close as Newton or Dedham.
- BAYS League: We compete in the BAYS (Boston Area Youth Soccer) league, the largest local soccer league in the eastern part of the state. There are separate boys and girls teams in each age group. All teams play a 10-game season in the fall and another 10-game season in the spring. In almost all cases the team assignments remain the same for both the Fall and Spring season.
- Schedule: BAYS games are scheduled for Saturdays. A small percentage of games are postponed due to weather or other state of emergency, make-ups can be scheduled for Sundays, as a second game on Saturdays or weekdays late afternoon/early evening. Home games are played in Brookline, and away games involve travel to other towns. Parents often arrange car pools to make travel easier. Players who accept a spot on these travel teams must be prepared to give weekly games priority over other activities and family plans with obvious reasonable exceptions like family weddings, grandma’s 70th birthday, but not your child’s own birthday party which we would expect you would schedule around your BAYS games.
- Tournaments: Many teams participate in one or two weekend tournaments over holiday weekends like Columbus Day or Memorial Day. Tournaments may be local or in another region as determined by each individual team with their coaches. Tournaments typically cost around $50 per player and are collected by the coach or team manager. Participation in holiday weekend tournaments, particularly at the younger ages, is optional.
- Futsal (Indoor Soccer): Many teams also elect to participate as a team in winter indoor soccer—called “futsal”. This is a modified version of soccer played with a smaller, less bouncy ball on a standard basketball court. Participation in futsal is not officially managed by the club, but instead parents often organize this themselves. Some players who participate in winter sports cannot join for futsal but typically many teams have enough players to create one or even two teams. Registration for futsal costs about $75 to $100 per player and games are typically on Saturdays in Brookline, Newton or Dedham. Participation in futsal is completely optional.
- Regular Program: The regular program cost, including registration fees, uniforms, equipment, and other expenses, is about $430-$500 for the year (two seasons) billed through an online registration process.
- Select Program: The Club also offers a select program for highly skilled players with more intensive instruction; higher registration fees (about $630-$700 for the year) apply to this program.
- Aid: Registration fees can be reduced or waived in cases of financial need through a confidential process.
- Eligibility: Our program is open to all children who live in Brookline or attend school in Brookline.
- Youngest Players: The youngest players at spring tryouts will usually be currently in second grade. But, unlike some other sports, soccer is played by age groups rather than school grade in most cases.
- Age Restrictions: Players who are in a certain grade but are older than the age cut off set by the league, cannot play with their grade. Players who are younger than most of the kids in their grade can sometimes play with these older kids but that situation has to be addressed by the club on a case by case basis. Certain rules about age limits are enforced by the league and cannot be waived by the club.
- Minimum Age to Tryout: The club also does not allow players younger than the minimum age cut off to tryout for U9 teams even though the level description says “under 9” unless they are currently enrolled in 2nd grade at the time of tryouts.
- August 1st Cutoff: To add further confusion, the age cut offs do not correspond to state public school age cut-offs either. The league defines a player’s age as being born on or after August 1st but before July 31st of a given year. So there may be August birthday kids who will not be playing with their grade. You will be able to use the birthday age grid included in online tryouts registration to determine where and when your child should tryout with his age group.
Finding the Right Program
- BSC Not Introductory: The Brookline Soccer Club travel teams do not provide a basic introduction to soccer. Players are expected to have some skills and knowledge of the game as well as prior competitive experience at spring tryouts.
- Town of Brookline Recreation Department Teams: Another option for players is the town recreation department’s Brookline Youth Soccer (“Rec League”) program, which runs from kindergarten to the eighth grade. The Rec League is an intramural program (all games are in Brookline and do not require weekend travel). Many Soccer Club travel team players originally started out in the Rec League. Note: players can not sign up for both the Brookline Soccer Club and the Rec League, as both programs play regularly-scheduled games on Saturdays.
- Rec-Plus Clinics: BSC now offers “Rec-Plus” training both outdoors and indoors through a partnership with the Town of Brookline Recreation Department. Information on this program which only includes instruction without league games for younger players does not require a tryout. Registration is available both on our website and the Town of Brookline.
How to Join Our Program: Spring Tryouts
- New Players: Any new players wishing to join teams U9 through U14 age groups must participate in a free open tryout held each year on the first Sunday in May at fields in Brookline. This single tryout determines placements for all Fall and Spring teams for the following seasons. The goal of tryouts is to make them as fair and impartial as possible.
- Returning Players: All players will need to tryout every year and placements from prior years are not guaranteed. Players must arrive to tryouts wearing non-club soccer jerseys. Players are evaluated by an objective group of player evaluators who are typically parent and professional coaches for older age groups.
- No Guaranteed Spots: Current Brookline Soccer Club players are not guaranteed a place on the following year’s teams. All players will be evaluated, although some older current players will be evaluated at separate sessions due to space limitations at the open tryouts.
- Tryout Schedule: The tryout schedule will be posted here on the website in April and pre-registration is required even for returning players. Because of the shortage of youth soccer fields in Brookline, we cannot accommodate everyone who is interested in our program.
- Email Notification: Players will be notified of the tryout results by email in June after the current BAYS season has ended.
- Registration Required: Players who make teams will be given instructions on how to register on our website. Players who fail to register by the July deadline risk losing their spot. Also, be forewarned that your designated practice days will not be known at the time of registration. Players will receive their team and coach assignments in late summer.
- Placements: Team placements are based on ability. Our goal is to have each player playing with teammates and against opponents at the same skill level. Requests to be placed with friends or schoolmates are unwelcome and will not be honored.
- Waitlist: Players with the requisite skills to play on a travel team who are not selected due to space limitations will be placed on a waiting list. We are often able to place many of the players on the waiting list at some point during the subsequent year.