MGSC believes players should only play above their age (or grade in school) level under rare circumstances. Examples of those circumstances follow:
- There is a need for players to form a team.
- There is no other team for the player to participate on.
The commonality of these situations is that they are beneficial to the player and the club, in the short term and the long term. Beneficial to the club means beneficial to the greatest number of players being served, according to the club mission statement. Following are some of the concerns regarding players playing up:
- MGSC wants all kids to be able to play and allowing someone to play up could mean another child won’t have a spot to play. MGSC always strives to develop the kids they have, into the best teams they can (including Classic level kids with commitment and desire) rather than form the best teams without regard to all kids having a team to play on.
- Though it’s relatively easy to determine if a child has the necessary soccer technical skills, less obvious is whether they have the maturity to “fit in” at a higher level.
- A child being technically skilled and mature one year does not guarantee they won’t fall behind in the next 2 – 3 years when the older kids mature faster.
- Losing the “fun factor” of playing with your buddies or peers increases the likelihood of “burning out” and leaving soccer, as you get older.
- Inevitably the rest of the players on a team will go onto High School, leaving the child without a team.
When players are allowed to play up, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Any decision to play up is only for a year at time.
- Playing up is the exception, not the norm.
If your child intends to tryout for a classic team that is higher than their age or grade level:
- Please be familiar with the preceding guidelines.
- If you feel that your child’s situation is exceptional enough to warrant a very rare exception to the club guidelines, please inform your child’s current coach and the appropriate Age Director for the club, before the tryouts. That way your child can be looked at more carefully during the tryouts. Please also provide a written explanation that addresses the above and details circumstances you would like to have considered, when the club decides whether or not to grant an exception.
- Under no circumstances will a player be allowed to play up, if that will displace another player from being able to play.
If your child does well at the tryouts, but is not able to play up, the following are some possible (with coach/club approval) accommodations that can allow a player to receive enhanced training and opportunities while still maintaining beneficial peer contact:
- Occasionally practicing with the higher level team.
- Obtaining a player “pass card” to sub in on an occasional game or tournament.