MJSL Travel Program Policies and Guidelines
Welcome to the Mamaroneck Junior Soccer League (MJSL)’s Travel Program.
The MJSL’s Travel Program strives to provide a positive, rewarding experience for children in our community that seek a higher-level of competition, development and advancement in the game of soccer. The MJSL offers scholarships for local residents with financial need; and is particularly proud of the diversity of our club’s members and the sportsmanship of our teams.
Participants in the Travel Program must be knowledgeable of the rules of the Westchester Youth Soccer League (WYSL) http://www.wyslsoccer.org, in which most MJSL travel teams compete.
The MJSL Travel Committee, which is comprised of coaches, managers and representatives of MJSL teams, has the authority to interpret, rule and enforce the policies of the MJSL Travel Program. Each age-group in the MJSL Travel Program is assigned an Age Group Coordinator from the Travel Committee, whose responsibilities are highlighted below. The MJSL Board of Directors oversees the Travel Committee.
The MJSL Travel Program’s policies and guidelines are in the following sections:
- Player Eligibility
- Sportsmanship, Teamwork and Behavior
- Required Commitment
- Playing Time
- Player Conflicts with Other Activities
- Tryouts and Team Placement
- Academy System
- Coaches and Managers
- Age Group Coordinators
- No Child Left Behind After Practices and Games
- No Bullying
- Rainout Procedures
- Equipment& Facilities
- Financial Aid
1. Player Eligibility
Children are eligible to be on MJSL travel teams if they reside in the Rye Neck or Mamaroneck School Districts. At least 75% of MJSL teams should be made up players that reside in these school districts.
Children that reside in other school districts may try-out for and play on MJSL travel teams. The MJSL may allow teams to register such non-resident players—depending upon team needs and on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the Travel Committee.
Players should play in their own age groups, as defined below by the WYSL for the fall of 2014 through spring of 2015.
U19 August 1, 1995 to July 31, 1996
U18 August 1, 1994 to July 31, 1995
U17 August 1, 1995 to July 31, 1996
U16 August 1, 1996 to July 31, 1997
U15 August 1, 1997 to July 31, 1998
U14 August 1, 2000 to July 31, 2001
U13 August 1, 2001 to July 31, 2002
U12 August 1, 2002 to July 31, 2003
U11 August 1, 2003 to July 31, 2004
U10 August 1, 2004 to July 31, 2005
U9 August 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006
U8 August 1, 2006 to July 31, 2007
The Travel Committee may allow players to participate in older age groups on a case-by-case basis, based on their skills, maturity and development. The Travel Committee must approve such exceptions. Players may not participate in younger age groups under any circumstances.
2. Sportsmanship, Teamwork and Behavior
Players, coaches, parents and supporters are expected to actively demonstrate good sportsmanship, teamwork and supportive behavior at games and practices.
The MJSL prides itself on excellence in sportsmanship. Coaches, managers, parents and players must abide by the WYSL’s Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct is available on the WYSL website in both English and Spanish.
The Travel Committee may suspend or ban players, coaches and supporters who violate the MJSL’s policies and high expectations with respect to sportsmanship, conduct and behavior.
3. Required Commitment
Participating in the MJSL Travel Program is a significant commitment for coaches, managers, players and their families. Players should consider this commitment seriously before participating in tryouts and joining the Travel Soccer program. The travel soccer season generally runs from the fall through the spring; and each player’s commitment to a team extends through this period.
Travel teams usually practice twice per week. For age-groups in the MJSL’s Academy system, one of these practices is held among all of the teams in that age-group.
Regular season games for teams in the WYSL are typically held on Sundays; and teams may also participate in tournaments and friendly matches. Players are expected to arrive at the field 30-60 minutes before games to warm up. Away games can take place at lengthy distances from Mamaroneck. Tournaments are often held on holiday weekends, such as Labor Day, Columbus Day and Memorial Day. Indoor activities in the winter may include practices, league play and tournaments.
Those players that wish to make a less significant commitment should consider the MJSL’s Recreational Program as an alternative.
4. Playing Time
The MJSL believes that its Travel Program will field consistently stronger teams when players get maximum opportunities to actively participate in competitive and friendly games.
Coaches are expected to balance individual player development with competitive situations, keeping the long-term success of the team and players in mind. While skills, effort, attendance and other factors may result in differences in playing time, every player on our teams is entitled to play in every game. Specialization in field positions is recommended only for older age groups.
Unsatisfactory attendance and failure to meet team commitment requirements can limit playing time.
5. Player Conflicts with Other Activities
The MJSL believes that it’s up to players and their families to decide their priorities and manage conflicts with other activities. Absences at practices and games due to religious, educational, health and other personal reasons cannot be avoided, but players and their families are expected to notify their coaches as far in advance as possible about these potential conflicts for planning purposes.
If conflicts result in too many absences from practices and games, players and their families should consider in consultation with their coach whether they are able to make the necessary commitment to travel soccer.
6. Tryouts and Team Placement
Open tryouts for existing and new teams take place once per year in the spring for the following season that begins in the fall. Players on existing MJSL travel teams do not need to tryout again.
The MJSL hires independent professional trainers to complete the evaluation of tryout participants. On the day of the tryouts, players and their parents are directed to designated areas for children in specific age groups. Evaluators and travel coaches will lead casual warm-up, after which time players will be independently evaluated in drills and small-sided games. The MJSL aims to provide feedback to participants by the early summer. Selection to a new or existing team is a competitive process and is not guaranteed.
The MJSL may invite certain players that do not make a roster to join a team as “practice squad” players. By practicing with a travel team, these players can continue to improve their skills in structured, professionally-managed weekly sessions in advance of the following season’s try-out. Practice squad players are required to pay a registration fee to the MJSL, which includes the cost of insurance coverage and other club resources. Practice squad players are not guaranteed a future position on a travel teams.
Consistent with WYSL Rules, the MJSL does not permit players registered with other clubs to practice or play games with teams in our club, unless league guest player forms have been properly completed. Players may transfer between clubs during the summer, according to the WYSL Rules.
7. Academy System
Under the MJSL’s academy system, players are assigned to teams with those that have similar skills. The MJSL believes that playing with like-skilled teammates and opponents will help the development and positive experience of its travel players.
Under the academy system, the MJSL may re-assign players to teams after the end of every soccer year, which includes the fall and spring seasons. At the end of the soccer year, the professional trainers who have worked with all the players throughout the year recommend which team will best meet each player's ability and needs.
Therefore, players may be on one team one year and a different team the next. The MJSL believes that the benefits of the academy system out-weigh any disruption this change may cause.
The Travel Committee has the discretion to re-assign players to teams between the fall and spring. Players may decline offers to move to higher-division teams.
Academy practices take place once per week. These professionally-managed sessions serve as an opportunity for all of the travel teams in an age-group to jointly participate in an age-appropriate, developmental curriculum.
8. Coaches and Managers
Most travel teams have a professional coach; a head parent coach; an assistant parent coach; and a team manager. Coaches are required to have WYSL coaching licenses and pass background checks.
Professional and parent coaches and managers are appointed by the Travel Committee; and must be re-appointed on an annual basis.
Parent coaches and assistant coaches are appointed and re-appointed on the basis of the following criteria:
- Ability to work with children in a pleasant, supportive and organized manner
- Strong personal, communication and leadership qualities
- Extensive soccer experience is preferred, but NOT required
- Meet WYSL licensing requirements
- Participate in MJSL coaches clinics and meetings
- Hold a parents/guardians’ meeting at the beginning of each season
- Ability to commit to the significant time demands of travel soccer. The coaches and managers must be able to arrange a minimum of two practices and one game each week during the fall and spring seasons. Winter practices and tournament participation are also highly recommended
The Travel Committee may solicit parent and player feedback on coaching performance; and welcomes unsolicited feedback about coaches and managers at any time.
Head Parent Coach
The Coach will have overall responsibility for the team, and he or she should be your first contact in the event of a problem. The coach is responsible for team financial commitment and presenting the parents with a team budget, discipline, player substitution, and game tactics.
Assistant Parent Coaches
Each MJSL team strives to have at least one Assistant Parent Coach who should be an active participant in all team activities. The functions and responsibilities assigned to the assistant coach will be at the Head Coach's discretion. The Assistant Coach should be able to step in for the Head Coach in the event of his/her absence.
The Team Manager handles many of the administrative aspects of the team, often supported by other team adults, such as registration, uniforms, communications, team finances, tournament travel plans and other administrative details.
9. Age Group Coordinators
Each age-group in the MJSL Travel Program is assigned an Age Group Coordinator. This individual serves as a liaison for the MJSL team(s) in that age group and the Travel Committee.
Age Group Coordinators assist coaches and managers with the interpretation, implementation and execution of the policies and guidelines of the MJSL Travel Program.
Age Group Coordinators are directly involved in player recruitment; the assignment of players to MJSL teams; realignment of players at the end of the spring, consistent with the Academy System approach; dispute resolution; and facilitating access to MJSL resources, including fields, uniforms, funds for scholarships and other items.
Coaches, managers and parents should contact their AGC with any questions or issues around these items at any time throughout the year.
All players should have matching jerseys, shorts and socks. For children’s safety, names are not permitted on player’s jerseys. Certain teams in the MJSL also have jerseys for practices.
11. No Child Left Behind After Practices and Games
An adult designated by the team’s coach or manager must ensure that all players are picked up and can get home safely after MJSL team practices and games.
Coaches and managers are required to have medical release forms, as well as parents’ contact information at practices and games in the event of an emergency.
12. No Bullying
The MJSL believes that bullying is serious and has no place within the club. The Travel Committee has the authority to suspend or ban players that bully others.
In the MJSL’s view, bullying occurs when a player, or group of players, intentionally and repeatedly try to get power over or hurt another player. Bullying occurs in four main ways: physical; verbal; relational; and cyberbullying.
All forms of bullying are unacceptable, harmful and preventable. It is the role of coaches, managers, parents, supporters and players to take responsibility for stopping it.
13. Rain Out Procedures
MJSL teams may not practice or play games on fields that are closed by the Town of Mamaroneck.
The MJSL will send an e-mail to all coaches and managers notifying of field closures.
Consistent with WYSL Rules, a scheduled game can be postponed if the field is pulled by a town; governing body; or by the referee at game time, if it is determined that the field cannot be played safely.
If a field has been pulled after the close of business on Friday, please follow these steps with respect to games:
- Up to one hour before game time, the responsibility for getting the game played shifts to the teams and clubs. Do NOT rely on the league to do so.
- If an alternate field is available and the start time will be within half an hour of the original time, the game moves. The home team must make sure the opposing team and ref assignor are notified. If notification is not conveyed to the referee assignor, then the home team is to post someone at the original field to redirect to the new field.
- If the new time is more than a half-hour difference or if the proposed field is at the away club, either team may choose to say "no thanks" and the game becomes TBA (make up game)
For WYSL games, keep the ref assignor (firstname.lastname@example.org) informed about the status of the game.
The Field Coordinator of the MJSL Travel Committee can assign available field space to travel teams that are required to make-up games. U8-U10 teams are not required to make up games.
If you are the HOME coach and need to reschedule a game, please follow these steps:
1. Pick two dates/times for the make-up game. One of these must be a Saturday.
2. Call the Field Coordinator on the MJSL Travel Committee to determine which fields are available.
3. Contact the opposing team coach to offer the two dates/times.
4. Once the date is agreed upon, fill out the Make-Up Form (found at www.wyslsoccer.org under “Forms”
5. Email the form to the League office at least four days before the game to ensure ref coverage.
6. You do not need to arrange for a ref.
If you are the AWAY coach, the home coach should call/email you. If he/she does not contact you after a week, you should call/email the home coach. If after this, the home coach still does not provide any dates/times, or if you cannot agree upon the date, contact the VP Travel. He/she will work with the league office on a solution.
14. Equipment and Facilities
Coaches and managers are responsible for the proper care of all equipment and facilities of the MJSL, including those in the shed at Harbor Island.
All goals must be secured to the ground with sand bags during games and practices; and must be chained together and off the playing field at the completion of activities.
Coaches and managers should have copies of keys to the locks for the goals and the soccer shed at Harbor Island.
Depending upon the team, travel soccer can cost approximately $1,000 for the fall and spring seasons, which includes $290 of registration fees; $625 for professional coaching; and $90 for a uniform. This cost may increase with participation in tournaments, indoor leagues, etc.
16. Financial Aid
Need-based financial aid and scholarships are available to cover a partial or full amount of registration fees and other team expenses. Please contact the coach, manager or Age Coordinator for each team for more information.