Travel Team Policy
a) The North Andover Soccer Association (NASA) was formed to provide recreational and athletic activities for the children of North Andover by fostering and playing the sport of soccer.
Our association is dedicated to the belief that any child, regardless of ability, has a place in the association. The In-Town teams provide the opportunity for the children to learn the game and develop soccer skills, while all Travel Teams play in ECYSA and compete at the appropriate competitive level.
In order to assure fairness, this Travel Team policy has been drawn up and approved by the Board of Directors, and will be
2) TRAVEL TEAM COMMITTEE
a) The Travel Team Committee shall be comprised of 4 members with two co-chairs from the Board which will be respective the Boys and Girls Travel Directors. All 4 Travel Committee members should be current or prior Travel Team coaches with at least 2 years of coaching experience; or be an individual with extensive knowledge of soccer and the NASA programs. (If the Travel Committee member is a current travel coach, their youngest child should be in their last year of travel). The co-chairs shall be Board Members (Boy's and Girl's Travel Team Directors). The other committee members shall be non-Board members and must be nominated for approval by the NASA Board of Directors. No Travel Team committee member shall serve more than 4 consecutive years.
b) All members of the Travel Team Committee should be seasoned coaches or individuals who have sufficient knowledge to contribute for the following reasons:
i) They are familiar with the highest level of Travel Team play.
ii) They are aware of the coaching and playing situations unique to this level.
iii) They are among the most dedicated individuals and fully understand the effort needed to compete at the top levels.
iv)They will have Tournament experience which can be conveyed to NASA coaches to aid individual skill development and game tactics.
v) At any time during the tenure of a Travel Committee Member, the NASA Board of Directors reserves the right to remove any member who does not sufficiently fulfill his/her duties and obligations as a Travel Committee Member.
c) Even though this committee appears to be autonomous, it is not. The intent is to allow the committee to oversee a specialized situation and to unburden the Board of Directors with problems unique to this area. It should also be recognized that this Committee has the responsibility to act openly, fairly, and effectively upon each and every Travel Team situation which arises. Committee members will be volunteers or nominees approved by the Board of Directors as needed. No sitting board members, with the exception of the President and the respective Boys and Girls Travel Directors, shall attend each Travel Team Committee meeting, except at the request of the committee. The President shall sit as a non-voting member, however, in the event of a tie vote after nominee consideration, the President will cast the tie-breaking vote.
d) This Committee is responsible to the NASA Board of Directors. However, it will also be relatively free to govern its own affairs in order not to burden the Board of Directors with day-to-day matters.
3) U12 AND U14 SELECT TEAM COACHES
a) Select Team Coaches must apply in writing to the Travel Team Committee by January 15th preceding the Fall season in which they hope to coach.
b) Application letters must be a maximum of 2 pages.
c) Choosing a coach one full season in advance will allow ample time to "scout" potential players, so that he or she may make informed choices for the Travel Team Roster.
d) A Select Travel Team coach will be selected and recommended to the NASA Board of Directors by the Travel Team Committee. He or she will be assessed on the following qualifications: :
i) Personal qualities - integrity, leadership, understanding, sensitivity, organization, ability to communicate, fairness, dedication, commitment, etc.
ii) Coaching experience.
iii) Coaching license. The expectation is this coach will have at least an E license.
iv) Recommendation of other coaches, coordinators, Board members, U-10 Director, Referee Director and parents.
v) Playing experience.
vi) Other factors deemed appropriate by the Travel Team Committee.
e) The Travel Team Committee reserves the right to request that each applicant attend an interview process. If only one applicant has applied for the position, upon review, the Travel Team Committee reserves the right to seek additional applicants for the position.
f) Select team coaches selections will be recommended by the Travel Committee to the NASA Board of Directors. The NASA Board has the option to approve or reject any selection recommendation. Upon final decisions by the NASA Board and the travel committee, the applicable Travel Team Director will communicate the outcome to the select team coach applicants.
g) The Travel Team Committee may also recommend a second Division 2 Travel Team in the U12 and U14 age groups if they deem appropriate. The Committee shall try to select the head coach from among those not selected (but formally applied) for the two primary Select Team coaching positions in that age group, or from among anyone who has formally applied specifically for that position. To minimize conflict, board members who are candidates for a select team travel coach position may not vote for themselves. As deemed appropriate, the board member will be asked to excuse themselves during the discussion and about his/her candidacy or any other potential conflicts.
h) These additional Division 2 teams will be designated as Select Teams and tryouts will be mandatory for players to be selected for these rosters. If there are not enough players attending tryouts to fill out the roster, then the requisite number of players will be placed on the roster at the discretion of the appropriate Select Team Coach with input from the Travel Team Director and other coaches in that age group.
i) Attendance at tryouts for "club" players is imperative for participation in the NASA Travel Team program and only written excuses in advance of the tryouts will be considered by the Travel Directors.
j) In case of no coaching candidates for a particular Travel Team, it will be the responsibility of the Travel Team Director and the Travel Team Committee to obtain a qualified coach for the team. It is the intent of NASA to not deprive North Andover youngsters of the opportunity to play soccer at a more competitive level.
k) A Travel Team coach is subject to review and scrutiny of the Travel Director or Board from time to time.
l) The Select Travel Team coach must make a commitment to a team for both the Fall and Spring seasons.
m) There must be one head coach for each Travel Team. This individual will have the final say in player selections, and will be responsible for all phases of the team. He or she will choose an assistant coach. First year Travel Coaches will choose an Assistant Coach after tryouts are completed.
n) Travel Team coaches should be encouraged to attend coaching clinics offered and sanctioned by NASA (other than "in-town" clinics), as we want to continually advance our level of play and coaching techniques. NASA will reimburse coaching licenses up to Class D. Class C licenses and above will be subject to reimbursement at NASA's Board's discretion, based on a commitment made by the licensee to NASA in the form of hours donated to camps, clinics, skill sessions, etc.
o) Coaches may not start practicing more than two weeks before their first regular season game without prior approval of the Travel Team Committee. If a coach wishes to practice earlier than two weeks before the season, then he or she is required to get approval by the Travel Director with approval by the NASA Board of Directors.. The parents and players would be notified that the practice is optional. No practices will be authorized before March 1 or August 1 respectively, and will not be more than once per week until official practices are started.
p) Use of the fields is prohibited at the start of the season until released by the Field Director. Practice should not be conducted on wet, sloppy fields.
q) In the case of wrongdoings by the Travel Team coach, either in violation of NASA guidelines or league rules, the coach may be removed during the season by the Travel Team Committee with Board approval. A letter of reprimand may be issued for the first time violations and further action may be taken on subsequent violations.
1) 4) SELECTION OF PLAYERS FOR TRAVEL TEAM
a) The head coach of each Select Travel Team will have the final choice of the players selected for his or her team. Personal judgment will obviously be a factor in the selection process, but the coach must generally consider the input from other sources. "Other sources" may be defined as recommendations of other coaches, scouting indoor and outdoor games, team practices, and other involved coaches. All selections must be from those players that have tried-out (or having an excused absence) first. Only when all players that have tried-out (or with excused absences) have been selected, may coach select additional players.
b) During the initial Spring Season after his or her appointment, the Select Team Coaches should scout all teams multiple times in the age division for potential Travel Team players. The new boys and girls U12 Division 2 Coach should consult with U10 coaches for potential players.
c) Open tryouts for Fall Select Travel Teams for all Age Divisions (U12 and U14 Boys and Girls) will be advertised prior to the end of the Spring season in the Soccer Net News. New U12 all 5th grade players will have two tryouts.
d) A player will be permitted to miss a tryout for good cause (e.g. illness, injury, unavoidable family obligation). In the event that a player cannot attend a tryout, a letter must be sent to the Travel Team Director indicating the reason for the absence. If the Travel Team Director finds the excuse acceptable, the player will be eligible for consideration by the appropriate Select Team coach, provided the coach has seen the player practice or play during the current season.
e) A U12 or U14 eligible player who moves into town after tryouts may be considered by the Travel Team coach if his/her team has a roster position available, if the parent(s) request consideration, AND if that player previously participated in a select team-like program.
f) Travel Team Players maybe placed on or off a Select Team between seasons. Any existing player who is not selected for the next season's pure grade Select Travel Team must be notified by phone or in person by the Travel Team Coach first; the parents will be personally notified and then the child in a mutually acceptable manner to the parents and to the coach. Because of the nature and composition of mixed grade Select Teams (they are composed only after the pure grade teams are assembled), such notification is not possible. The Travel Team Coach should be communicating with players during the season so that the final decision will not be a complete surprise.
g) At least one member of the Travel Team Committee will observe tryouts for fairness to everyone. Using guidelines established by NASA, and using a NASA evaluation form for tryouts, the Travel Team Coach is expected to use independent coaches and evaluators during the tryout process. The tryout process, in and of itself, does not assure nor deny a player of a position on a select team. The coach must take into account the "full body of work" of the players. That is, performance in games, commitment to the sport, and the many intangibles outlined with guideline 4o.
h) No commitment will be made to any player prior to or during the tryouts. The Travel Team Select coaches should not communicate until the postcards are received by the players. At no time should player tryout rankings or results be discussed with players or player parents. These results are only to be used by coaches and the Travel Team Director in the player selection process
i) The Select Travel Team Coach will make his/her selections for up to 18 players in any season. A Select Travel Team Coach may limit his/her roster to 16 players, especially if the coach feels that the next best players are not sufficiently competitive at that level and/or the consequence would potentially be a negative experience for those players and/or the team. If a Select Team has fewer than 16 players, the Travel Team Committee may require the team to add players up to 16 to accommodate a greater number of registered players. Essex County and Massachusetts Youth Soccer has announced its intention to migrate the U-12 travel program to an 8v8 format. Under such preliminary guidelines, a U-12 Select Travel team coach would be limited to 15 players on a roster in any season but no less than 12 players. This guideline will be reviewed upon 8v8 format implementation.
j) By mid June and mid December, the Travel Team Director will advise of their consent, or resolve any questions regarding the Travel Team Roster with the respective Travel Team Coaches. (All players selected must be paid registrants of our Association.)
k) All players coming to tryouts must be advised of their selection (or non-selection) by means of an authorized post card which will be mailed no later than July 15th.
l) Alternatives or additions to the roster will be according to ECYSA rules. Division 3 roster sizes may be extended to 20 players, as permitted by ECYSA, but only in the event that doing otherwise would result in players who registered on time not having a team to play on.
m) In order to maintain eligibility for the Tournament of Champions, Select teams will include no more dual-rostered players than allowed by MYSA. Each Select Team Coach is responsible for informing players and parents up front on the situation and keeping track of the number of dual-rostered players on his/her team. Travel team coaches are encouraged to monitor the impact club players may have on their team and potential for spring conflicts that may arise.
n Select Team Players will be judged on:
(2) Endurance and Strength
(3) Speed and Quickness
(5) Overall Health
ii) Soccer Skills
(5) Shooting with both feet
(9) Goal keeping Skills
(2) Ability to use open space
(5) Rules of the Game
(6) Mental alertness and quickness in various situations
(1) Coach-ability - willingness to follow directions
(2) Teamwork - ability and willingness to be unselfish
(3) Supportive while being both on and off the field
(4) Aggressive but fair when playing
(5) Respectful to coach, players, and referees
v) Commitment to the game, practices, and the team.
Because placing a player on a Select Team roster, by definition, prevents another player from making that team, there is an implied commitment. The Travel Team Committee and Board of Directors, therefore, have decided that every select team player should meet an acceptable minimum requirement. That requirement is that each player should participate in one of the two scheduled practices each week and be available to play in every ECYSA game. Only compelling reasons will be considered acceptable excuses for not meeting this requirement. Compelling excuses will be defined as situations, by their nature, that are beyond the player's control, i.e. an important family obligation or responsibility. Obviously, a greater commitment than the stated minimum is encouraged and is in the best interest of the player and the team. Failure to meet this commitment requirement may result in the player losing his/her place on the team. Further, the expectation is that the player will play both fall and spring seasons to be eligible to play on a select team. A coach is expected to communicate his/her own requirements prior to the selection process.
o) When the Travel Team Committee deems a second U12 or U14 Division 2 team appropriate, head coaches of the two primary Select Teams in that age group shall provide a list of players that he/she recommends for consideration for the additional team. The additional team's Head Coach will then select the team, but selection must first come from among those having tried out for the primary team or those with excused absence. NASA strongly recommends an even roster split if the talent is deemed to be comparable between the grades. Mixed select teams should be comprised of a minimum of 7 players from each age group.
p) Travel Team players may be suspended during a season for disciplinary reasons by the coach with the approval of the Travel Team Committee and the Board of Directors.
q) The remaining Division 3 teams should be balanced by the Travel Team Director and coaches in order to provide competitive balance in ECYSA.
5) NUMBER OF TRAVEL TEAMS
a) It is suggested that we have the following number of Travel Teams in our town:
U-12: one 10 Year Old (typically the 5th grade) Team, one 11 Year Old (typically the 6th grade) Team, and all other 10 and 11 Year Old mixed teams
U-14: one 12 Year Old (typically the 7th grade) Team, one 13 Year Old (typically the 8th grade) Team, and all other 12 and 13 Year Old mixed teams
U-16 All Team Travel (see appendix)
U-18 All Team Travel (see appendix)
U-19 All Team Travel (see appendix)
This would apply to both the boys and girls division.
b) Teams would be established strictly by age for better or worse to provide continuity to our program and to allow other players of the same birth year to compete for the available positions. This restriction will help force us to further develop the skills of our players rather than going after the superb athlete.
c) A decision to change a Division 1 vs. Division 2 designation in the Spring requires recommendation by the Travel Team Committee and the Board of Directors.
6) TRAVEL TEAM UNIFORMS
To insure uniformity of the soccer association players, all U-12 and U-14 teams will wear the NASA approved uniform. This uniform is chosen by the board of directors. The only exception to this policy is when there is a conflict with the color of the opposing team uniform.
7) TRAVEL TEAM POLICY CHANGES
Any changes to this policy will require affirmation by the Board of Directors according to NASA By-Laws.
8) RIGHT OF APPEAL (Player Selection)
If player selection is accomplished by the guideline stated in this policy, appeals should be unwarranted.
However, if a parent wishes to make an appeal, it must be done in writing to the Travel Team Committee stating the specified and objective reasons as to why their child should have been selected.
The Travel Team Committee decision regarding the appeal will be subject to Board approval.
APPENDIX A (TO TRAVEL TEAM POLICY)
a) U12 and U14 TEAMS
Coaches have discretion regarding playing time and equal playing time is not always possible. It is expected, however, that the coach has a consistent policy as pertains to playing time and that it is communicated to the players and parents. It is expected that travel coaches employ equitable playing time.
a) U-16, U-18, AND U-19 TEAMS
The Travel Team policy as stated in the attached document does not specifically apply to U-16, U-18, and U-19 teams. These teams are unique and depend upon the number of available players prior to county deadlines.
b) As many teams as possible shall be formed and fielded in these age divisions.
c) Age division Travel Teams from the U-14 division can remain intact if there are sufficient remaining players and coaches from these teams.
d) Additional players will be placed to fill the rosters of existing teams or create another Division 2 team. If no prior travel teams remain, then the players will be pooled into Division1 and 2 teams as the numbers allow.
e) These older teams will be placed in the county leagues according to their relative strength by the Travel Team Director in conjunction with the U-16, U-18, and U-19 coaches.
f) Moving players up in order to "field a team" will be done as follows:
i) In a manner that does not severely handicap the original age group teams.
ii) In a process that will allow only players with significant varsity experience to be considered for movement to the U-19 team.
iii) In a way to ensure as many youngsters are playing soccer as humanly possible in each group.
iv) In a manner to never allow an older player to be denied the opportunity to play because a younger player is taking a position on the U-19 team.
g) It is our intention to promote soccer at this older age level. Competitive, well coached teams at the U-16, U-18, and U-19 level will increase the interest of our teenagers. Opportunities abound at the U-16, U-18, and U-19 age groups for district, regional, and national competition as this promotes the Olympic Development Program.
h) If a roster has openings as of December 1st, coaches may recruit non-resident players. These players will not be removed from the team due to late (after December 1st) registrations by a North Andover resident. Recruiting non-resident players must be done in accordance with ECYSA rules and regulations. Each year the non-resident player must wait until the December 1st deadline before being placed, even if the player was on the team the previous year.
(NASA subcommittee-Peter Novello, Cynthia Klein, Kristen Huberdeau, Anton Den Boggende, Bill Varney, Peter Karalis, Carol Moroney)