For players in grades 5-8, NYSA teams play teams from surrounding towns in the Essex County Youth Soccer Association (ECYSA). Unlike the NYSA it-town program, ECYSA maintains all the administrative scheduling and team and roster management. For information on schedules, rules, etc. please visit the full schedule here. https://ecysa.org/ECYSA/full-schedule
The goal of the NYSA U12/U14 program is to continue the player development process, helping to build individual and team skills. Unlike younger levels, players are placed on teams according to skill level through a thorough player evaluation process articulated in detail below. All teams are travel teams and half of the games are home games and are played on Saturdays in Newburyport, while the remaining games are away games in towns throughout Essex County.
Practices are generally 2-3 times per week in the early evening though the individual coaches may make other arrangements at the consensus of the team. Practice times and days are determined by the coaches.
Seasons run in the fall and spring and include playoff games at the end of the spring season. Fall and spring seasons require separate registrations and no player is required to play both. Teams change from one season to the next.
The goal of the evaluation process is to maintain a fair, objective, data-driven process for assessing player abilities and skills in order to place each player onto a team that will best challenge their current level of play. There are no "cuts" and every player will be placed on a team. Players are expected to attend the in person evaluation session.
Evaluations are held once a year in the Spring. Players must register online with NYSA prior to evaluations and provide payment, a copy of the player's birth certificate, a headshot image, and signed release forms (these are within the online registration). NYSA has developed a multi-step process to place players on the appropriate teams. Information from each part of the process is used to form the teams.
Coach Evaluation: All players that register for the program will be evaluated by their current coach. A written player evaluation will be submitted to the travel director prior to the end of the Spring season.
In Person Evaluation Session (aka try out): Players are evaluated during a one day evaluation session. Teams of evaluators (a neutral third party, not coaches or parents) rate players on performance during a series of stations that showcase a variety of soccer skills and abilities. Players wear numbered pinnies and are not identified by name or current team. Parent coaches cannot evaluate their own child or the gender/level they will be coaching. Parents are not permitted to attend the session.
We understand that no process is perfect, however NYSA believes this process results in a fair and unbiased evaluation player evaluation.
What coaches look for at the tryouts
Below is a sample of skills and techniques that the evaluator will be looking for during the tryouts:
Dribbling – ball control, inside/outside foot control, pace of dribbling, feinting, inside/outside cutting skills, acceleration and deceleration with ball, head up while dribbling.
Passing –technique with both feet (inside/outside of foot), crisp/accurate passing to feet and to space, pace of pass, movement after passing.
First Touch/Ball Control – trapping and receiving ball in front of body, positioning to field when receiving, head up and field awareness after controlling ball.
Defending – marking player, pressuring player without over committing, body position when defending, stopping forward progress, tackling/gaining control of ball, knowing when to clear ball vs. dribble/pass
Shielding – body position when under pressure
Heading – attacking/striking ball with forehead, heading for control, passing or clearing.
Speed – quickness off/to ball, acceleration to ball/space, change of direction and deceleration
Strength – standing ground and/or winning position
Aggressiveness – attacking and going to the ball on defense, attacking and dribbling around/through defenders on offense, attacking and finishing shots
Communication – calling for the ball, directing players to space
Field/Game Awareness – head up view of the entire field/game, awareness of other players, knowing when to pass vs. dribble or shoot, seeing plays materialize and moving to position
Attitude – are they having fun? Positive to other players/referees, not giving up on plays, sportsmanship, coachability, overall potential.
After completion of the tryout process, the travel director compiles the data from the coach evaluations and the skill evaluation sessions and builds teams based on the data and number of players in each division.