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Recreational League - Frequently Asked Questions

Recreational League - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Recreational League?  EBSC has two programs - Recreational and Travel.  The Recreational League offers an introduction to the sport at a very young age through our Superstars Program, with an emphasis on teaching the sport through activities geared to the psychological age of the players.   There are no 11v11 games in Superstars, just opportunities to develop the basic foot skills and playing concepts that will be used by players throughout their soccer career.  We start with our youngest age groups, Munchkins, which have an hour of training each with a dedicated professional trainer. After two years of Superstars, the Recreational League has two years of Instructional level soccer (the U7 and U8 years - see below), where players practice as actual teams during the week, and play small sided-games (starting at 4v4 in U7 and moving up to 6v6 at U8) on weekends.  The concepts of goalkeepers are introduced at the U8 level, along with most of the actual laws of the game.  At the end of the U8 year, many players try out for the Travel Program, which accepts a limited number of players following the tryouts.  From U9 onwards, the Recreational League continues to offer boys and girls the opportunity to develop their game through weekday practices, and often professional training sessions, with weekend games against their friends and classmates.

How do you group players?   The Recreational League groups players by age, based upon how old they are on in a calendar year.  This age cut-off is set by the USYSA, our national youth association, as the soccer year runs from Fall to Spring.   For example, if your child turns 7 during a calendar year (January-December), we refer to your child as Under 7, or U7 for short.  This means in the Fall a player may be 5 turning 6 before the end of the current year, he or she will be a U7 since they turn 7 before the end of the coming year.  We also combine certain age groups, where the pooling of players is necessary to create enough teams. 

For the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 year, refer to the following chart to determine what age division your child will play in:

Born in in 2016

Munchkins (Boys and Girls)

Born in either 2015 or 2014

Superstars (Boys and Girls)

Born in 2013

Boys U7 or Girls U7

Born in 2012

Boys U8 or Girls U8

Born in 2011 and 2010

Boys U9/10 or Girls U9/10

Born in 2009 and 2008

Boys U11/12 or Girls U11/12

Born in 2007, 2006, 2005

Boys U13-15 or Girls U13-15 **

Born in 2004, 2003, 2002

Boys U16-18 or Girls U16-18 **

** In the past, we have included the U13-18 age groups in one division.    In the Boys Program, the teams were formed into U13-15 teams and U16-18 teams and played against comparable aged teams in neighboring towns.   In the Girls Program, the teams were formed with mixed ages from U13-18 and played against similarly mixed-age teams from neighboring towns.   We will continue to attempt to form the teams based upon ages but may not be able to do so if our registration numbers do not allow.

Do you allow players to play out of their age group?  We do not allow players to play in a different age division [except with respect to U13 and above, where the registration numbers require it - see above note).   There are always going to be some players who have the skills and ability to play with older players, and there are many players who are born close to the cut-off point, but it is a firm Club policy to keep players within their own age group in the Recreational Program.

Why are some of my child’s classmates not in the same division?   Our Club (in accordance with State and National policies) uses the calendar year as the cut-off point for setting age groups.  The public-school system uses a different cut-off date.  Therefore, a single age division will often include players in two different grades.

How do you pick teams?  Do you group players by school?  The over-riding concern when forming teams is to make them as balanced as possible across the division.   While winning or losing is unimportant compared to the simple fun of playing the game, no players want to step onto the field thinking that they do not even have a chance to win.  If we allow a division to get so unbalanced that some teams win all their games and some teams lose all their games, inevitably the players on the losing teams stop enjoying the game and drop out.   The Club therefore takes steps to form teams that will be balanced and competitive, requiring that we not look at social arrangements (i.e. - which school or neighborhood the players are from), but at each players’ ability.

How much playing time will my child get?  We will not form teams with rosters so large that a child will ever get less than 1/2 a game on the field.  However, we are limited as to how many teams we can form by how many volunteer coaches step forward to assist us, and the number of registrations varies each season.    Because of that, we sometimes have rosters that are larger than ideal, and consequently the players may not get much more than 1/2 a game on the field.  In practical terms, it also can vary significantly game to game, depending on how many players miss a game.  That said, it is the expectation that each coach will play all their players an equal amount of time over the life of the season, subject of course to player absences, or other special circumstances.   A player’s skill level is NOT an acceptable reason to limit that player’s time, however.

When does the season start and end?  What days are the games?  The Fall season generally begins shortly after Labor Day and ends before Thanksgiving.   The Spring season generally starts at the end of March and ends at the beginning of June.  There is often a week off during the season, to accommodate holidays.  The specific beginning and end dates of any season are usually posted on the Website 2-3 months before the season starts.   The actual game schedule, with times and fields, will usually be posted 2-3 weeks before the season starts.

How do I register my child to play?  Registration is handled on-line.  On the Club’s home page there is a link long the top of the page called "Registration".  Clicking that link will take you to a page providing all preliminary information you need to be aware of before registering.   Whenever the registration period is officially open, that page will also contain the link you must use to open our registration program.  Registration for the Fall season should open during May, and registration for the Spring season should open during October.  

Can I request that my child play on a team, or with a coach?  The Club cannot honor such requests, for several reasons.  As mentioned above, the teams first and foremost must be competitively balanced, and to accept player requests would make that impossible to achieve.  Second, we may receive more requests for one coach than that team can hold - and since we cannot numerically accommodate all those requests, it would not be fair to grant some requests but not others.  Third, assuming for argument’s sake that the coach being requested is the next Sir Alex Ferguson and has the magical ability to bond with your child, that once again is reason why it would not be fair to allow your child the benefit of that coach season after season, and not allow other children that same opportunity.  The Club will accommodate requests to have siblings play on the same (or separate) teams and will also consider requests to be separated from particular coaches or players, based upon personal conflicts.

How do you make those teams competitive?  In our Recreational League, we ask the coaches to rate all players each season – both on their own team and other teams. These ratings in no way affect the way players are trained, or pre-select players for future tournaments or travel teams – they are ONLY used as a tool to select balanced teams in the following season.   Prior to the following season, the coaches get together and draft players using those ratings.  However, there are several reasons why that system will never be 100% successful:

  • We may not have ratings for many of the players, and many of those unrated players may turn out to be exceptional.    This lack of ratings can be because (a) we get significant numbers of new players each season (sometimes over 40% of a division is new), or (b) because coaches fail to provide ratings (sometimes happens if the coach has no intention of returning the next season)
  • The ratings we receive may be inaccurate because (a) some coaches are uncomfortable, or not experienced, with making distinctions between players (we often receive ratings where the coach gave every player the same rating, or gave them all above-average ratings), (b)many coaches only rate their own players, not players on other teams, so we have no way to cross-check the accuracy of these single ratings, (c) coaches have been known to manipulate ratings of their players to disguise their abilities and give them an unfair advantage at the draft – it’s unfortunate, but it is a reality that we cannot overlook, (d) the performance of players changes from season to season, which is why these ratings have no bearing on the players’ future travel careers. (E.g. - a player with an early growth spurt may not be as large or speedy the following season; a player that was shy her first season may come out strong the next).
  • The coaches at the draft may not select the best team available. This sometimes occurs because a coach overlooks the need for competitive balance, instead preferring to draft a team of friends and neighbors. We discourage this as ultimately detrimental to the team and the division and take steps during the draft to ensure that all coaches wind up with comparable and balanced teams.
  • After the draft is complete, other circumstances may occur which destroy the balance created at the draft, including (a) despite requiring players to indicate during registration if there is a practice night they are unavailable, some players will still inform the Club after the teams have been formed and started practicing that they can’t make their team’s practice night, thus requiring a move from Team A to Team B. However, at that late stage, it wouldn’t be fair to remove a player of similar ability from Team B and move her to Team A, after she has already spent a few weeks with her team; (b)some players drop out after the draft, and there are occasional late registrations that are added after the draft (usually only to fill out a team’s roster that might be shorthanded), or (c) some teams will start pre-season training earlier, or hold more practices, and that can greatly affect the team’s performance during the season. Likewise, if the team has a greater number of players attending the optional UK Elite training sessions, those players are going to increase their skills throughout the season at a faster pace.

All those circumstances, together with the frequent absence of players on game day, and the simple inconsistency that is a natural part of players this age, all lead to the problems we sometimes see with unbalanced teams, despite all our efforts to create balanced teams.


What equipment do I need to purchase?  If you are joining the Superstars program, the Club will provide a ball for you.  For U7 and older divisions, each player is expected to have his/her own ball and bring it to all practices (size 3 ball for Superstars-U8; size 4 for U9-U12; size 5 for U13+).   All players are required to wear shin guards, which must be worn underneath the player’s socks.  Soccer cleats are strongly recommended, though at the Superstars level, regular athletic shoes are acceptable.  No cleats for other sports (baseball, football, etc.) are permitted.  Uniform jerseys will be provided by the Club.  Shorts, socks and any cold-weather gear are your responsibility, and we naturally recommend soccer-specific items if possible, though any general athletic gear is acceptable.  It is important that your child bring enough water to each practice and game - at least 20 oz. in warm weather.

Is there anything my child cannot wear?  No jewelry of any kind is permitted, nor hard metal or plastic hair clips, bows, etc.  Placing tape over stud earrings is not an acceptable remedy - they must be removed entirely.  

What days and times are games played?  EBSC has over 1,000 players in the Recreational League, and nearly 500 in our Travel program, making up nearly 100 separate teams.  In order to fit all those teams onto the fields for weekend games, we have a full slate of games each Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 am and continuing until the evening.   At present, the Recreational League primarily plays games on Saturdays between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm, but there may be occasional later games (usually only for the older divisions).  Occasionally, depending on field availability as well as scheduling requirements if there are odd numbers of teams, some Rec games may be scheduled for Sunday.  If regularly scheduled games are rained out on a weekend, they may be rescheduled for a weeknight.  Generally, teams can expect a variety of game times throughout the season, as the Club avoids setting strict times for any single division - to do so would potentially lock children with conflicts out of every game for the entire season, whereas varying the times will minimize any one players’ conflict.  The one exception to this is Superstars, which traditionally has all sessions early every Saturday morning (in addition, the U7 divisions are sometimes scheduled for the same time each week).

When are practices held?  Except for the Superstars division, which does not have weekday practices, each individual team sets its own practice schedule, both as to time and day(s) of the week.  Generally, few Recreational Teams will have more than one (1) practice a week.  While coaches will hopefully consult with their players to select days and times convenient to as many as possible, in the end the teams cannot exist without the volunteer coaches, and the coach’s availability must be the foremost factor in deciding the day and time of practice.  If your child has conflicts with any particular night of the week, it is incumbent upon you to state as much when you register your child - we can take that information into consideration at the time we assign players to coaches, but we cannot reshuffle teams around afterwards if you wait until practices begin to raise a conflict.  Since this is Recreational League, however, coaches will not be penalizing players for missing practices - we all know players have other commitments and cannot always make every practice.  Please be courteous to your coach, however, and give advance notice when you will be missing any team event.

Do I need to stay during the Practices/Games? Parents are expected to have at least one adult responsible for their child present at all practices, scrimmages or games, which adult must be knowledgeable about, and prepared to deal with, any pre-existing medical condition of such player.   Under no circumstances can the parents or the responsible adult be absent at the conclusion of any practice, scrimmage or game.  It is Club policy that the EB Police Department be contacted promptly at the conclusion of any team event, if the parents are not present.


What is East Brunswick Soccer Club?  Are you a profit-making company?  No.  The Club is an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt not-for-profit organization that exists simply to serve the community by providing the opportunity for our children to learn and play soccer.  No Trustee, Officer or Coach gets paid anything by the Club for their efforts - all time and energy is donated on a purely volunteer basis.

Does the Club own the soccer fields?  No.  Each season, we petition for use of the soccer fields within Dideriksen Park, the Heavenly Fields turf fields, and various school fields and other parks.   We are then granted specific times and fields by the Township’s Parks Department.  Because of not owning the fields, the Club also has no direct authority over the maintenance of the fields but must seek the cooperation of the Township in maintaining them.

So where does my $100 dollars go?  Although the Board of Trustees and all coaches volunteer their time for free, the Club nevertheless has many expenses to cover.    Those include team jerseys, fees for referees, trophies, field supplies, insurance, coaching education, tournament participation, and many other items.  The Club also retains professional training organizations, such as ATSC, to provide regular training sessions to the players. The Club has worked hard to keep its fees in line with its costs, and as a result, we probably have the least expensive registration fee for any youth athletic league in the community.

And what is the Work Bond?  As an all-volunteer organization, we rely on the time and effort of all parents to help us out.  Consequently, each registration (even if there are more than one child per family) comes with an obligation to perform at least two (2) hours of service to the Club.   Although Head Coaches and Board members are exempt from that requirement, because they give much more than two hours of service each season, all other families, including assistant coaches, are obligated.  The Work Bond can be satisfied in several ways - working a shift at the concession stand; doing field set-up or clean-up on Saturdays; assisting during any of our tournaments in various capacities; or simply being your team’s photographer.  As a Club, we are always trying to develop new opportunities for service to be performed, so if you have any ideas, please let us know.  

What if I volunteer for Work Bond duty, but am not selected to work - do I get charged?  No.   Unfortunately, at the present time we do not actually have as many work opportunities as we have parents, so often we will not need everyone to work during a season.   The only time you will be charged the $50 Work Bond is if you are assigned (either after volunteering or by being appointed because no one volunteered) to a work duty but you fail to show up.  If you cannot make an appointed duty, it is your responsibility to find a replacement.

I performed my Work Bond duty - when do I get my $100 back?   You have the option of asking you coach for the check back or if you don’t the coach will destroy them once the year has been completed.

What else can I do to help?  So very much, actually!  Performing the Work Bond Service may be the first thing that comes to mind, but the Club will benefit much more from your participation as a Head Coach (or assistant), or as a member of our Board of Trustees or serving on any of our several committees.    Please think about donating your time in these areas, which in the end will make the Club a much better organization.  For more information on how you can help, feel free to email the President of the Club.

Whom should I contact if I have a problem?  The first person you should go to is your Head Coach.  Any information you need should be available to him, and as the closest Club official to the situation, your Coach is the best person to answer the question.  If the Coach cannot help you, please go to your respective Division Director, then to your respective VP (either Boys Rec, Girls Rec or Superstars), and then ultimately, the President of the Club.   Please do not start in the reverse order.  All contact information can be found on this website.  Maybe your question will even make it here onto the FAQ!









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