Player Placement Process

Cambridge Youth Soccer offers two programs, an In-Town program for U8, U10, U12, and U14 players and a more competitive travel program through the Bay Area Youth Soccer League (BAYS) for U10 (6v6), U12 (8v8), U14 (11v11), U16, and U18/19. U10, U12, and U14 complete a twenty game fall/spring schedule (ten weeks in the fall and ten weeks in the spring). The high school age groups, U16 and U18/19, play in the spring only.

While In-Town teams are formed to create as evenly matched teams as possible, BAYS teams are formed to create teams with comparably skilled players, so that each team can develop as a group and compete against teams of like ability. In addition to a player's skill level, we also take into account commitment, participation, and attitude.

How does Cambridge select players for BAYS teams?

Any Cambridge player that elects to play BAYS will be placed on a BAYS team (so long as they register before June 15). Cambridge does not hold "Tryouts" we hold "Placements". That is, we evaluate each player and try to place them on the right level team. (However, we cannot guarantee a place on the right team nor on any team for late registrants.)

How does Cambridge place players?

There are three key components:

  1. Coach evaluation from previous teams.
  2. Player field evaluations by at least 2 experienced individuals (not a previous coach), and preferably more than 2.
  3. Team formation meetings conducted as roundtable discussions with coaches and age group coordinators to review items 1 and 2 and place the players on specific teams. These placements are then reviewed again by the group usually one to two weeks later before rosters are finalized. Each of these steps is reviewed below.

1. Coach Evaluations: In-Town and Bays coaches and assistant coaches are asked to complete an evaluation for each player on their team. Each player is evaluated in the following categories:

  • Skills Attacking
  • Skills Defending
  • Tactical Decisions
  • Speed & Agility
  • Game Impact
  • Attitude
  • Percentage of Games Attended
  • Percentage of Practices Attended

There is also a place for comments and/or special considerations.

2. Field Evaluations: Cambridge runs a field evaluation session in June. At our Player Placement Field Evaluations, each participant is given a number, and we then randomly place the players in 5 vs 5 games (or modified depending on number of participants to 3v3 or 4v4). We use a small format because this greatly increases the number of touches each player makes. We use as many fields as necessary.

At least two experienced coaches or college players, and personnel from a group like Play Soccer, or Mass Premier Soccer evaluate the kids on any one field. After about 10 minutes of play, players are moved from one field to another with the consensus of both evaluators in order to have kids of similar ability playing with each other. This is repeated 2 to 3 times or as many times as necessary until all evaluators are comfortable with the level of play on their field. The numbers of each participant are then recorded and additional comments are made as necessary. (very fast, strong left foot, not disciplined, etc.) Particularly strong players on a field as well as players who may fall into a gray area between two groups are also identified.

Players interested in being goalies, are placed in the exercise above as well as evaluated separately. Note: Even if you already play in BAYS, it is important to attend the field evaluation. The more evaluators that see a participant play, the better the placement is likely to be.

Parents and players should not assume that the groupings of players at the end of the field placement sessions will be the final teams; there will be absent players who aren't in the mix and important evaluation input from coaches to be factored into the placement decisions.

3. Team Formation Meeting: All coaches and coordinators are invited to a group session. Coaches for each age group work around a single table facilitated by the age group coordinator. Together they review the coaches evaluations and placement data and then form the teams through an extended discussion. (The placement data has been aligned with the players name by the Director's office). Sometimes previous coaches for players are consulted and group consensus is the objective. After the initial teams are formed, these are then documented, distributed and discussed again before rosters are published. The age group coordinator is responsible for managing the process. The coaches construct the teams.

Please remember that forming teams is not a science, and as many points of view are taken into consideration as possible. (That said, also remember that teams in BAYS are not formed around friendships nor school classmates.)

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you would like any further information.

Andrew Farrar
CYS Board
Coach Development


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BAYS Placement Field Evaluations

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