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Everything You Wanted To Know About Soccer Terms

Whether you are brand new to youth soccer or a long term veteran, you probably have questions pertaining to both, you and your child.  On this page, we try to provide as much information as possible and answer some of the most frequently asked questions. 

A lot of different terms are heard around the soccer field - Recreation Division, Travel teams, flights, divisions, age brackets, "U" teams, 8v8, 11v11, Short Sided, Full Sided, seasonal year, etc. 

What do all these terms mean? Let's take a look!

RECREATION DIVISION--This division is recreational in nature and emphasis is placed on teaching the fundamentals of the game and having fun. The program is for both boys and girls from age 4 to age 14.
TRAVEL DIVISION--This division is more competitive in nature and is available to both boys and girls from 8 to 19 years old (based on team availability). It requires a higher level of skill and commitment than recreation soccer. Most of our travel teams play in the South Jersey Soccer League (boys) or South Jersey Girls Soccer League (girls).
SEASONAL YEAR--Begins on August 1st and ends on July 31st. Our Recreation Division is run as two distinct sessions (a Fall and a Spring season) while travel soccer requires a commitment to play the entire seasonal year.
AGE BRACKET--This is simply the age of the team. In travel soccer, it is determined by the age of the oldest player on the team. A team denoted as U-10 can not have any player who turns 11 before July 31st of the current seasonal year.
DIVISIONS--Are separated into age brackets. At the youngest levels in the Recreation Division, an age bracket is made up of only a single age. In the older levels of the Recreation Division, an age bracket may be made up of two age brackets (ie: U9-10). In Travel Division, just to make it more confusing, the older teams are assigned the lower division numbers. For example, U-19 teams are Division 1, U-16 teams are Division 2, U-14 teams are Division 3 and so on.
Conferences or Flights--Are used in travel soccer to achieve balanced competition. Teams in each division or age bracket are grouped according to their respective skill level. Team flighting is based upon many factors including the past history of the team, the number of teams in each group and information provided by each club. The process is more difficult in the fall season when there is less "objective" data available on each team. Teams are re-flighted (or ranked) within their age bracket or division at the end of each season.
11v11 (aka Full Sided)--This term refers to the number of players that are on the field. U-13 and older teams play with 11 players on the field (one goal keeper and ten field players). Younger teams play with fewer than 11 players on the field.
9v9 or 7v7 (aka Small Sided)--U-11 and younger teams play on a smaller field and play with nine or seven players or less, dependent on how young the team is. Goal keepers are not used at the youngest levels in the Recreation League.

Ball Size -- Soccer balls come in multiple sizes.  In youth soccer, three different sizes are used based on the age bracket.  A Size #3 ball is used in Ages U5 - U7, Size #4 is used in U8-U12 and a Size #5 is used for U13 and older.

Can Jewelry Be Worn? -- No watches or jewelry of any kind, including, but not limited to, bracelets, earrings,  necklaces or rings may be worn during a game (even if covered by tape or bandages).  The only exception is for a Medical Alert type bracelet and that must be completely taped to the player with only the medical tag information exposed.

Shin Guards -- is a piece of equipment worn on the front of a player’s shin to protect them from injury.  The shin guard must be worn UNDER the sock and covered entirely by the sock.

Laws of the Game -- are the rules that help define the sport of soccer. They are the only rules of soccer subscribed to by the sport's governing body FIFA. The laws mention the number of players a team should have, the game length, the size of the field and ball, the type and nature of fouls that referees may penalize, the offside rule, and many other laws that define the sport. During a match, it is the task of the referee and coach to interpret and enforce the Laws of the Game.  While most FIFA Laws of the Game are followed, each division and age bracket will have certain rules that supersede the Laws of the Game.


What is the Millville Soccer Association?

The Millville Soccer Association is a volunteer organization run by a Board of Directors.  Our Recreation soccer program is for boys and girls ages U5-U14 and Travel is for U9-U19.  The programs are not affiliated with school athletics.  But, we are a great feeder program for your child to develop and learn for other sports programs.

What is MSA's Recreation Soccer program?

Millville Soccer Association offers both a Spring and a Fall Recreation program.

The Spring and Fall Recreation programs are geared toward children who are not yet eligible to play on a Travel team, unable to or simply don't want to play Travel soccer.  Our recreation programs give younger children the opportunity to play on a small-sided field and instructional games which allow for many ball touches per game.  Millville Soccer Association's Recreation Program involves a couple hundred children.  The program was designed to help children learn the game of soccer and develop their soccer skills in a non-competitive team environment.  Children between the ages of four and fourteen are eligible to participate. 

The season runs for ten weeks and begins the weekend after Labor Day.  In keeping with the Recreation's non-competitive philosophy, all children have the opportunity for equal playing time, taking into account the number of players present, weather conditions, injury and/or behavioral issues.   These games are played following US Youth Soccer and NJ Youth Soccer directives and philosophies under the direction of our Director of Coaching and Player Development, which allows every player many opportunities to touch the ball and improve their basic soccer skills.

Registration for Fall Recreation Soccer occurs in the Summer.  Registration for Spring Recreation Season occurs during the winter.  Volunteers run the Soccer League.  We need and welcome every parent to help with coaching, assistant coaching, registration  or other league activities.

How are Recreation Coaches Selected?


      MSA depends upon parents to volunteer as coaches.  Unfortunately, volunteer coaches are often in short supply.  If you think you might be interested, we encourage you to do so.  Direction, instructions, resources and encouragement will be provided. 


      Please don’t be reluctant to volunteer, even if you’re not athletic and know nothing about soccer.  Many of our most successful coaches never played soccer and are learning the sport along with their children!


      Of course, because most of our volunteer coaches are not professional educators or soccer players, occasionally some parents feel their children are not receiving the best soccer instruction. If you find yourself in this situation, we suggest you speak with the volunteer coach, volunteer yourself, speak with the Director of Recreation or Director of Coaching and Player Development.

Is It True That Games Are Never Canceled Due To Bad Weather?


      Soccer is an all-weather sport.  Therefore you should expect that at least some of your child’s games would be played on damp and rainy days. 


      The coach and/or parent cannot cancel MSA games if he/she feels the weather is too nasty.  This decision rests with the Millville Soccer Association Director of Fields & Equipment and/or Director of Recreation.  However, games may be canceled for safety reasons (e.g., thunder and lightning, or an unplayable, water-logged, or frozen field).  Make sure you have registered your text number and/or your email with our notification service found on the home page.  Cancellations will be announced via the service and webpage and Facebook posts.

Why Does Registration Take Place So Many Months Before The Start of Each Season?


      There is a tremendous amount of planning which takes place prior to each season.  Once we know which children and how many will be playing, we need to assign each player to an age group and a team and then see if which parents wish to coach.  Often there is a lack of volunteer coaches, so team assignments must be juggled.  We need and welcome every parent to help with coaching, assistant coaching, or other league activities.

So Your Child Is Interested in Playing Travel Soccer...

Do you wonder what it is all about?  Do you want to know what you are getting into?  Here are a few things to consider when your child wants to try out for a traveling team:

First, traveling soccer can be a wonderful experience. You will have a new extended weekend family of soccer enthusiasts. There will almost always be someone you can depend on for a ride, a Band-Aid, a spare set of shin guards or an extra drink for your child. Friendships will form and you will meet many new people. You will also see various NJ towns, parks, diners, etc. that you didn't know existed.

The level of playing in travel soccer is more skilled and more competitive. You and your child will learn more about the game and they will probably become an even better player than he or she currently is. The season is actually two seasons (Fall and Spring) that make up the travel season.

When you make the team, you play both fall and spring. The games are every Saturday or Sunday, and this may include Mother's and Father's Day.  In addition, most teams enter tournaments (a tournament could be four games played over the course of two days) which may fall on a holiday weekend such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day. There are also winter tournaments or indoor soccer, which some coaches like in order to get the kids ready for the spring. In addition to the registration fee, there are other fees depending on other activities that each team is involved with (tournaments, indoor, etc).  Tournament fees are additional, and your team may or may not participate in a team fundraiser to cut the cost.  Participation in tournaments and other extra activities are up to each coach or travel team.  There is a league fundraiser each season.

Travel teams play in all weather conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold. A game is rarely called due to weather unless lightning is involved or due to field conditions.

Practices vary according to each coach/team, but are generally 2-3 times per week. Some teams have a professional, paid trainer for added skill instruction.

As you can tell, travel soccer requires an added level of commitment on both the parts of the players and the parents. You may need to be available to taxi your child around town, miss a family event or two, and pay a bit more $$ than you would for recreation soccer. Your child has to enjoy the game enough to want to go to extra practices with a minimal fuss and hopefully keep the grades up also. But, they'll love it and so will you!

The above information is not meant to talk you out of allowing your child the opportunity to participate. Rather, it is a behind-the-scene look. For more information, ask someone who has been there! Most families will tell you the experience has been a positive one.

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