Frequently Asked Questions

DYSA | Decatur Soccer

General/Registration/League (6)

What is recreational soccer?
Recreational soccer is primarily devoted to the enjoyment and development of soccer players without the emphasis on travel or high level competition. The purpose of recreational soccer is to provide an opportunity for the participants to have fun, learn the sport and develop life skills including a life long love of the game.
Why doesn’t Decatur Soccer have a draft like baseball?

Until recently, we’ve had a difficult time balancing teams.  We’ve tried coaches evaluations but those were erratic and inconsistent.  For the 2012 Spring season, we had mandatory player evaluations where all coaches were the assessors.  The teams were more evenly distributed, but there was still along way to go.  For the 2012 Fall Season, we used only five assessors who are also experienced coaches. The players came through in groups of 6 players, completed a same simple skill test and then finally played a 5 minute small-sided game.  Using a 5 point scale, the assessors assigned a rating to each player.

The league took those ratings and then conducted a board draft where each coaches team was randomly assigned a number.  We then sorted the players in a spreadsheet from high to low and start the process of building teams.  Team 1 gets player 1; team 2 gets player 2; and so on until all the teams have a one player assigned.  Then, we reverse the order of the teams and assigned players again.  We reverse the team order until all players are assigned to a team.  During this process, we make sure that head and assistant coaches have their children on their team.  At that point, we calculate average scores for each team.  For teams that score a below 2.75 or above 3.25, we swap players until we can give each team in each age group a final rating of about 3.0.

Although it is a board draft, it is open to any coach who can stand the tedious discussion that takes place over 4 hours.  We feel this is the most fair way to create teams and limit coaches stacking teams or having player on teams with little chance of success during the season.

Our goal is to have all games decided by no more than 2 goals.  Last season, my team was one that didn’t win a game in U8 regardless of the evaluation.  We were small and young and that wasn’t accounted for.  This season, we are applying more weight to the older players in each age group to see if that improves overall results.

When and where will my child have practice?

Practices times are decided by your coach.  Available times will be 5:45 or 6:45 pm on Tuesday or Thursday, and 9:00am-11:00am on Saturdays.  Time is limited based on age group (2-3.5 hrs/week).  Locations typically alternate between Point Mallard and Jack Allen.

How do I know what age group my child is in?

We are now following the US soccer guidelines of grouping entire birth years together.  We will no longer be going from August to August.  Your player will still only be playing with players one year older or younger.  Age groups are labeled with the birth years, so it is much less confusing to know which group they should be in!

I have a parent on my team who uses foul language. What can I do?

Contact the Board of Directors immediately at  Foul language during games and training sessions is prohibited regardless of where it originates.  We will gather details and determine if intervention is necessary.

What days and how long?

Practices and games are typically on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with some Saturdays.  Practices usually last one hour for all age groups.  Games last about 30-45 minutes for U6, about one hour for U8 and U10, and about 1 ½ hours for U12 and 14.

Coaches (10)

Do I need to buy uniforms?

No.  Player registration fees pay for uniforms, including the head coach’s jersey.

How soon should I contact my players?

Soon!  Once teams are finalized, coaches and players will be notified by the Board. Coaches should contact players and establish communications and practice times and any other valuable information.

I have a parent on my team who uses foul language. What can I do?

Contact the Board of Directors immediately at  Foul language during games and training sessions is prohibited regardless of where it originates.  We will gather details and determine if intervention is necessary.

When should I put players in permanent positions for the season?

Since the purpose of this league is player development and enjoyment, there is no reason to give permanent positions to players.  Sticking the slow kid at defense is the classic move, but this does nothing to grow their understanding of the game.  In all age groups, strive to give each player equal experience on offense and defense.  In the upper age groups, try to give equal time in the goalkeeper’s role unless you think it is detrimental to a player’s self-confidence.

I teach my players to play strong defense. What is wrong with this?

There is one position on the field that generates the most controversy each season in the U5, U6 and U8 age groups.  That position is the last defender, also known as the player in front of the goal and the player in the goalkeeper position.

To begin with, the DYSA handbook under Law 3(f) has this to say (I’m paraphrasing): If your team chooses to play a player in the goal, that player can only do so for 1 quarter each game.  Also, when the ball is on the opposite half of the field, the player must move out of the goal box in U6 and the penalty box in U8.

This is the opinion of the Director of Coaching: I’d rather see all kids playing soccer and learning to play attacking soccer rather than one kid only trying to keep the other team from scoring.  However, it is the coach’s call to make, at this time.

This is his rationale: We don’t have goalkeepers in these lower age groups for one very good reason: to encourage scoring and encourage kids to play attacking soccer and not defensive soccer.  Scoring is what gets kids to love soccer.  The more they score, the more they want to play.  In U5 and U6, we want to see as many goals as possible.  I’d love to see every game become a “score fest”!  This is recreational soccer and the goal is for the kids to have the best time playing soccer as possible.  Scores aren’t kept, officially, so let’s have a bias toward offense and not toward defense.  Judge your team’s performance on how well they attack their opponent’s goal and NOT how well they defend yours.  But, isn’t defending part of soccer?  Absolutely, but keep it in perspective and encourage working hard to get the ball back, not clogging the mouth of the goal.

Why can’t I choose the players on my team?

In U5 and U6, players can request you as a coach, but you can’t request players.  This helps to ensure the youngest players have a chance to play with their friends from school or church while also limiting the possibility that a coach will stack his team with the best 5 year olds he can find.  It’s ridiculous, but it has happened.  This is a recreational and developmental league and the emphasis, regardless of age group, is on becoming more skilled soccer players while having a great time doing it.  We are working on ways to create a more individually competitive environment for the more advanced players in U8 – U14.

I keep hearing “no laps, no lines, no lectures” as guidelines for coaches. What else is there to do as a coach?

Laps, Lines and Lectures are all things kids don’t like.  We want kids to have a great time learning how to play the game of soccer while also improving their skill and fitness level.  If you feel like they need to run at the end of the session for fitness, you may be missing opportunites during the session where the intensity level can be increased along with heart rates.  Regarding players standing in lines, please see the next FAQ item.  There is a absolutely a place for targeted, constructive feedback and discusson during the session. If you are talking to the players instead of asking them good questions and allowing them to arrive at an answer, you’re probably lecturing. Let their parents lecture them; you are their coach so foster good discussions with thoughtful questions.  Soccer is a “players game” where the players make the decisions and not the coach. A soccer game is an exercise in problem solving and decision making; not executing a play (unless it is a set play like a goal kick, corner kick etc.) and waiting on the coach to tell you what do next. Like the game, your interactions should be fluid and thought-provoking  A lecture is neither.

What is wrong with making my players run laps without a ball at their feet?

Soccer is a unique sport in that eye-foot coordination is the focus instead of eye-hand coordination. We use our hands all the time and choosing to take the ball away from the player’s foot during training for the sole purpose of fitness is short-sighted.  A simple fitness activity is jogging around the field with each player dribbling with right-foot only while touching the ball each step.  At the conclusion of lap one, they switch to using only the left foot.  This is actually more demanding than simple running as they must coordinate their movements with the ball on a constant basis.  The time a player has for training is limited; make sure they get as many touches as possible.

How can I run a practice where the players aren’t standing in line waiting their turn?

A primary goal during practice is keeping the kids engaged and working as much as possible.  Boredom is the enemy fun.  Kids love games and playing with the ball at their feet.  Instead of using drills, have the kids play skill contests, relays, and small-sided (1v1, 2v1, 3v2, etc) games and other activities.  If you are having a hard time coming up with activities instead of drills, contact our Director of Coaching at for some ideas.

If I coach two teams, will the league schedule my games so they don’t overlap and are back to back(stack)?

Multi-team coaches have initial scheduling priority. We try to stack games wherever possible to avoid conflicts.

Parents (4)

My child’s coach yells a lot at the kids. Who can I talk to about this?

Contact the Director of Coaching ( or the President ( at anytime to discuss coach behavior.  We discourage yelling and poor behavior by our coaches and will work with the coach to improve in this area. Sometimes, a coach comes across as abrasive when his or her intent is anything but.  We absolutely don’t won’t verbally abusive coaches to negatively impact any child’s enjoyment of soccer in our league.

If I coach two teams, will the league schedule my games so they don’t overlap and are back to back?

Multi-team coaches have initial scheduling priority. We try to stack games wherever possible to avoid conflicts.

I registered my child so what happens next?

If you completed the online registration for your child, you should have received an email confirming their registration.  If you did not get an email confirmation, you may not have fully completed the form.  Please email for help.
All players will need to attend evaluations. Please check the calendar to see when and where evaluations are. Once registration has closed and all of the players have been evaluated, the teams will be drafted. Again check the calendar for the draft date. We hold our coaches meeting shortly after the teams are drafted. Your coach will contact you shortly thereafter and practices and games will follow.

Why do we to attend mandatory evaluations if my child was evaluated last season?

The purpose of the player evaluations is to give the league as much information as possible as we try to balance teams.  While we did request player evals from coaches last season, not everyone responded. Also, history shows relying solely on coach’s late season ratings often results in significant disparity at the end of the next season.  Evaluating all players at the same pre-season time is proving, we think, to make more balanced teams.  Balanced teams result in closer games and higher player enjoyment.  Therefore, we are making player evaluations mandatory.