In choosing between the In-Town and BAYS Programs within CYS, parents and players should consider their commitment and conflicts with other activities, the amount of practice time, and willingness to travel to other towns for games. It's our goal to offer a rigorous and exciting soccer program for all CYS participants. These descriptions should help you decide what's right for your player, and we encourage you to talk to other parents, coaches, and CYS volunteers.

In-Town Program

The In-Town program is for children in first through eighth grades. The teams are formed in two-year age groupings. Girls and boys play on separate teams. The game format ranges from 5 v 5 at the young end to 8 v 8 for the oldest players. Games are played on Saturdays in Cambridge. Under-10 and older teams also practice once per week.

In addition to mixing children from different schools across Cambridge, all In-Town teams have players with a variety of skill levels and a mixture of older and younger players. Established CYS policy makes this "team parity" the primary consideration in creating teams with the objective of having all players experience both winning and losing during the season. Teams are disbanded and re-formed during the summer, but generally stay largely intact from the fall to spring seasons.

The In-Town program is ideal for children who wish to have a good soccer team experience, but do not envision themselves primarily as soccer players, children who have numerous other weekday afternoon commitments, families who prefer to place more emphasis on the game and less on the standings.

BAYS Travel Teams

Cambridge participates in Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS), a league serving over 50 towns from within roughly the I-495 boundary, and open to teams ranging from Under-10 to Under-18. Younger teams play 6 v 6 or 8 v 8, and older teams play 11 v 11. High School age teams play only during the spring to avoid conflicts with school programs. The inter-town competition is often very competitive. Teams are placed in brackets with opponents from other towns thought to provide close competition. Game times are usually the same from week to week throughout the season, with games on Saturday for the younger ages and on Sunday afternoons for the spring-season-only U-16 and U18 teams.

BAYS teams typically practice twice weekly. While it's desirable for players to attend all practices, it's expected that some players will have conflicts (school teams, academic schedules, etc.). All players must be able to attend at least one practice each week. Practices are usually held for 1.5 to 2 hours, between 3:30 and 7 pm. Coaches and team managers do their best to accommodate all players in the practice schedule.

BAYS teams are organized according to player ability. Players are ranked using Player Placement Assessments and Coach Evaluations during the spring. These rankings are used to place boys and girls onto teams that best meet their soccer skills and interests, so that they are challenged but not overwhelmed. The Player Placement sessions are not tryouts — all players will be ranked and placed on teams accordingly. Ability-grouping is the priority; thus, friends cannot expect to play on the same BAYS team if their playing abilities differ widely. BAYS teams are formed over the summer for the fall season and generally stay together through the following spring. For various reasons, however, roster changes can be made between fall & spring seasons.

CYS teams may be placed at levels from Division 1 (highly skilled, highly competitive) to Division 4 (less skilled, more recreational). Travel teams play a ten game schedule with 5 home and 5 away games. Teams may attend tournaments, particularly on Memorial and Columbus Day weekends. BAYS players must play within age groupings established by Mass Youth Soccer; these age groupings differ from our In-Town age groupings.

If your family would like good competition with all games within Cambridge and one practice per week (second is optional for in-town teams) then the In-town program will be the best choice. If your player plays soccer in the fall only, In-town is the best choice. Our In-Town teams offer good competition and soccer development in Cambridge.

The BAYS program may offer a higher level of competition for some teams, BUT it requires a commitment for both Fall and Spring, and a considerable time commitment each week, as well as travel time. BAYS is a good option for many middle school players, who may be thinking about playing High School soccer. Participation on a BAYS team requires a larger time commitment from the players and the away games are often harder to get to.

Please make a choice based on what is best for your family and your player.