Rules and Regulations
The Brookline Soccer Club, Inc. (BSC), is a registered 501c3 not-for-profit and files annual required documentation for tax exempt organizations with the State of Massachusetts. BSC serves as the local sponsoring organization for inter-town youth soccer competition sanctioned by the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association. The Soccer Club works closely with the Brookline Recreation Department but is organized independently with a volunteer board of directors. Through Mass Youth Soccer we are affiliated with the United States Youth Soccer Association and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), soccer’s international governing body.
BAYS League Competition
Mass Youth Soccer sponsors several inter-town leagues throughout the state. We compete in the largest of these leagues, the Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) league. Over fourteen hundred teams representing more than 50 towns compete in the BAYS fall and spring seasons.
- Brookline fields both boys’ and girls’ teams in age groups ranging from under 9 to under 18.
- A player’s age eligibility is determined by their age as of the previous July 31. For example, if the player was 9 years old on last July 31, but has since turned 10, the player may play in the under 10 age group.
- BAYS imposes residency requirements. With certain limited exceptions, players must be residents of Brookline or attend school in Brookline.
Within each age group, teams are assigned to one of three divisions based on competitive strength, with division 1 being the strongest. Although BAYS also offers competition in divisions 4 and 5, players at these levels in Brookline are encouraged to participate in the Brookline Youth Soccer (“Rec league”) program. Each division is divided into sections of four to six teams. Each team plays ten games each season on Saturdays (or Sundays for high school ages) against the other teams in its section, half at home and half away. There are no trophies or playoffs in the fall, which is considered a developmental season. In the spring, post-season playoffs are held in some age groups and divisions, in which the top teams in each section meet to determine an overall division champion. These division champions advance to the state tournament of champions held in late June, where they meet the corresponding division champions from the other leagues around the state.
Tryouts takes place on the first weekend in May annually to determine teams for the following school year. Due to the lack of field space in Brookline, we cannot accommodate all interested players, and a competitive selection process is used in some age groups. Detailed tryout and registration information is posted on our website and distributed to all current BSC teams along with current Town of Brookline Recreation League players. Current BSC players are not guaranteed a place on the following year’s teams. In order to keep the tryouts at a manageable size, some (but not all) current BSC players in a particular age group may be exempted from the open tryouts. But all current and new players will be evaluated, either at the open tryouts or at other evaluation sessions. In rare occasions roster adjustments may be made at the end of the fall season, based on coaches’ evaluations in consultation with boys’ and girls’ coordinators, moving players a higher or lower divisions for the spring season. Roster changes may also be required at other times of the year due to unexpected vacancies. Our primary goal is to have each child playing at the competitive level appropriate to his or her ability. Experience has taught us that players do not enjoy soccer or develop skills when they are noticeably more or less skilled than their teammates and opponents. We do not make an effort to keep teams together from year to year, nor do we try to keep groups of friends or classmates together. This can at times be disappointing to players and parents, but it is inevitable in a program constructed by level of skill. Parents should discuss any concerns about their child’s placement with the coaches and boys’ or girls’ coordinators. Parents and guardians of soccer club members are expected to help support of our basic philosophy at home and help their players receive team placements and transfers with a positive attitude.
For Players only
Playing for the Brookline Soccer Club can be an exciting experience, but it also carries with it some obligations. Now that you are a member of one of our teams, here are the basic rules we expect you to follow:
- You will make every effort to attend all practices and games. Some conflicts are inevitable, but they should be rare.
- If you are unable to attend a practice or game, you will let your coach know in advance.
- You will show up for practices and games on time and with the proper uniform and equipment.
- You will exhibit good sportsmanship at all times, remembering that you are representing the town of Brookline. If you win, you can be happy and celebrate, but you may not speak or act boastfully. If you lose, you may be disappointed, but you may not act angrily.
- You will treat the referees with respect. If you criticize a referee’s decision, you can expect to be removed from the game.
- You will offer support and encouragement to your teammates. It is the coach’s job, not yours, to point out their mistakes.
- You will try to improve your soccer skills by practicing on your own and with your friends as often as possible.
For Parents only
Playing your role in getting kids to and from practices
Help your child understand the commitment involved in playing for the BSC. In particular, practices are not optional. Most of the learning and development takes place at practices, and we expect our players to attend. Occasional scheduling conflicts are expected and understood, but if your child has other planned activities which will keep her or him from attending a significant number of practices and games, you need to discuss the situation with your child and the coach. In some cases, such as a child wanting to participate in two or three after-school activities, choices may have to be made. Because we cannot accommodate all the players interested in our program, it is unfair to hold a roster spot for a youngster who does not fully participate. Players who do not attend at least 75% of their team’s practices and games will not be invited to return for the following season.
While on the sidelines
Please help our players learn good sportsmanship by setting a good example. Criticism of players, coaches, or officials does not belong on the field. If you have legitimate concerns, talk to your child’s coach in private at another time. Our league has a strong zero tolerance policy to protect referees from harassment or abuse. You may never address the referee during or after a game, nor may you do anything to convey criticism of a referee’s call. Being a referee is a lot harder than it looks, and even the most experienced referees will make mistakes. Most of our referees are youngsters, not much older than your children, and criticism or harassment from adults only serves to discourage them from continuing as referees. Coaches or parents who violate this policy may be asked to leave the game, and may be subject to other sanctions. Resist the impulse to “coach” your child from the sidelines with yelled instructions to “kick it” or “pass it” or “go to goal.” Your instructions only serve to distract and confuse the player. We are trying to teach our players to think for themselves on the field. The game is the best teacher! Only the coach may give instructions during games, and even that should be rare. Parents should limit themselves to “generic” cheering (“Good Effort”, “Go Brookline”, “Nice Ball”, “Great Defense”). Do not direct comments at specific players, especially those related to you!
While at home or at the office
No player should be sitting on the bench for an entire game. Every prepared player should have the opportunity to play in every game. If your child is not getting at least twenty minutes of playing time in each game, discuss the issue with your coach. If you have a problem with the coach, you may speak to the appropriate coordinator. Our coaches are always very appreciative when the parents organize among themselves for such tasks as making phone calls, arranging transportation, and bringing orange slices for half-time. Parents can also take the lead in organizing post-season pizza parties or outings to local college soccer games. Your coach will also need volunteers during games to serve as “club linesmen” (calling the ball out of bounds – a great way to keep warm on those nippy mornings!)
Uniforms and Equipment
Soccer does not require a lot of expensive equipment, but there are a few essential items:
- Your uniform (jersey, shorts, and socks) must be worn at all games.
- Shinguards and soccer shoes are required for games AND practices. These are available at most local sporting goods stores. Mouthguards, while not required, can be very useful in protecting against damage to teeth.
- In cold weather, you may wear a long-sleeve shirt and/or black lycra shorts under your uniform, if you need them.
- Bring a water bottle to games and practices.
- Bring a soccer ball to every practice. Under 13‘s and older use a #5 ball; under 12‘s and younger use a #4 ball.
- No jewelry is permitted. If your child wants her ears pierced, the day before a soccer game is not the best time. Many referees are also prohibiting regular eyeglasses, particularly at the older age levels. If your child wears glasses, safety glasses or sports goggles are recommended.
BAYS games are occasionally played in rainy weather when Town of Brookline Recreation League games are cancelled, so do not rely on the Recreation Department recorded announcement. We only postpone games for unsafe field conditions. Assume that you are playing unless notified by your coach. (For home games, we will also announce cancellations on this Brookline Soccer Home Page) If a game is called off, it will be rescheduled, usually on a subsequent weekday afternoon or Sunday afternoon.
Many of our teams participate in holiday tournaments over the Columbus Day and Memorial Day weekends. These tournaments typically involve 3-5 games over a two-day period in a nearby town.
Winter and Summer Activities
Many coaches hold some indoor practices or clinics during the winter at various local gyms. Participation in winter activities is encouraged but strictly optional. Some coaches may also organize informal teams to play in one of the indoor soccer or futsol leagues in the area. (Teams playing in indoor leagues are not organized by or sponsored by the Brookline Soccer Club.) Many of our players also attend one of the week-long soccer camps run during the summer by various organizations. Check with your coach or Club officials for suggestions.
Regional and state teams
In addition to the inter-town leagues, Mass Youth Soccer sponsors several other competitive programs for youth players. These include the Mass. Premier Soccer League (MAPLE) and the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Participants are selected through tryouts. These programs involve extensive travel and a very strong time commitment. Further information is available on the Mass Youth Soccer website (www.mayouthsoccer.org). Players selected for one of these other programs who also wish to play on a Brookline Soccer Club team should discuss the potential time conflicts with their coach in advance.
The state and national youth soccer associations maintain mailing lists of all registered youth soccer players, in order to provide notices of soccer events and related offerings which may be of interest. If you do not wish to receive these mailings, please send a note to the Club registrar at Post Office Box 566, Brookline 02446.
The Brookline Soccer Club is run by volunteers, most of whom are parents. We need your help to run a first-class soccer program for our youngsters. If you have played or coached soccer, consider volunteering as a coach or assistant coach, or become a certified referee. There are also many other jobs which do not require soccer expertise and which can accommodate your time schedules, including game scheduling, organizing tryouts, player registration, publicity, finance and budgeting, organizing clinics, fundraising, etc. If you can help, contact any of the club officers.