Frequently Asked Questions (Outdoor Soccer – Fall & Spring)
Q: How do I know what age group my child is in?
A: Age groups are determined by the child’s age on August 1 at the beginning of the soccer year (which runs from Aug. 1 – July 31). An age grid can be found with our registration information. The “U” stands for “Under” which means, for example, that the U8 age group is comprised of 6 and 7 year olds.
Q: What is the minimum age to play soccer?
A: Children must be 4 years old on August 1 at the beginning of the soccer year (which runs from Aug. 1 – July 31). No exceptions can be made.
Q: Why are there two separate links for registration?
A: In an effort to give our U6 players the best possible start in soccer, as well as to give our parents who want to help coach a solid foundation on which to build, we have developed a partnership with Soccer Shots to run our U6 soccer program. U6 players are still a part of the Bellefonte Soccer Association, but will register through Soccer Shots. If you are registering more than two children and one of them is a U6 player, please contact the registrar for a special code to be credited for your U6 player in our family discount.
Q: How much is the registration fee and is there a family maximum?
A: The current registration fee is $60/player with a family maximum of $120 for rec/inhouse. For our travel program the registration fee is currently $65 due to higher insurance rates with a maximum of $130 per family. If you have a child playing at the U6 level and are registering more than two children, please contact the registrar to receive a special code so that you still receive your family credit for that child.
Q: Why do you need a birth certificate?
A: A birth certificate is needed to verify a child’s age. Through our online registration system, birth certificates are uploaded and verified by our state office. The birth certificate is then moved to a separate and secure server and the player’s record is marked to indicated the age has been verified by PA West (our parent organization) and is on file with the state office
Q: Do I really need an email address to register my child?
A: Our entire registration process is online, and it does require an email address to complete the form. Most of our communication with our parents also takes place using email. If you do not have an email address, there are ways to obtain an email address at no cost to you. If you need help, please contact any member of the board.
Q: When does the season begin and end?
A: In the fall, the games begin the weekend after Labor Day and run for 8 weeks ending in late October/early November. In the spring, games usually begin in early April (depending on when Easter falls) and go through early June. No games are played Easter weekend, and no recreational/inhouse games are played during the Memorial Day weekend either. Practices typically start a couple of weeks before games.
Q: When/how often are practices held?
A: This varies by age group and coach. Once coaches are identified, they work with our Coach Coordinator to schedule practice days and times based on field availability.
Q: How much playing time will my child get?
A: Through the U12 age group, our guidelines state that every child will play at least half of each game. At the higher levels, playing time must be earned.
Q: What equipment is required?
A: All players should have shin guards, soccer socks, and soccer cleats (no cleat on the toe).
Q: What about snacks during half-time?
A: Many coaches in the lower age groups will either organize their parents to take turn providing a half-time snack each week or will suggest that each individual player bring their own snack. This is up to the discretion of the coach. Half-time snacks should be healthy snacks (e.g. fruit, granola bars, pretzels) that will give the children an energy boost for the second that will sustain them and not crash quickly. Salty snacks are also recommended to help replenish salt lost through sweating.
Q: Where does my registration fee go?
A: We pay insurance on every player. Each player also receives a t-shirt (rec level) or a uniform (travel level, but must be returned). We pay for referees at the U8 level and above. We provide $5/player to every coach for end of season recognition. We rent port ‘o potties. We pay for paint and painters for field lines. We buy equipment and maintain fields. There are other miscellaneous costs that come up throughout the year as well. We also pay to have our book audited on a regular basis.
Q: Can my child play-up into an older age group?
A: The answer for our inhouse/recreational program is no, unless the child’s birthday falls within the month of August. This decision was made to keep players with their classmates with whom they will be playing as they get older. This decision was made with the best interest of our players in mind.
If a child chooses to play in our travel league, play-ups will be allowed based on two primary factors. The first is they must be within one year of the next age group, and the second is the player must have the appropriate level of playing experience.
Q: The age grid on the web page only indicates even numbered age groups (U6, U8, U10, U12, etc.) but when I completed the registration form, it stated that my child is in an odd numbered age division (U5, U7, U9, U11, etc.). Did I do something wrong?
A: You did nothing wrong. The online system breaks down each player into single year age groups. In larger soccer clubs, this is very helpful. However, smaller clubs such as Bellefonte group players two years at a time to help in forming teams. An odd numbered age group is paired with the even numbered age group above it (e.g. U7 and U8 both play in our U8 age group).
Q: My child is 8 years old and wants to play on the U10 travel team, but that is not an option in the online registration. Can they still play?
A: Yes, the online system breaks down players by single year age groups instead of the two years that the BSA uses. Since travel begins at U10, an 8 year old player would be considered a U9 player and not see the travel option. If your child falls into this category, you need to note in the special request field that he/she wants to play travel. You will need to pay an additional $5 offline for the insurance surcharge since the system will not acknowledge that the child is registered for travel.
Q: What is the difference between rec/inhouse and travel?
A: Our recreational program plays on Saturdays and is comprised of teams from Bellefonte. Occasionally, our rec teams will play “friendlies” with the rec teams from neighboring soccer clubs (i.e. Bald Eagle, Penns Valley and Philipsburg). Travel teams play on Sundays and tend to be a bit more competitive. They play other travel teams within the Mountain District. Travel teams typically play four games at home and four away, based on number of teams at each age level and bye weeks. Travel begins at U10 and continues through U19 (U14 and U19 only have teams in the spring).
Q: How far do the travel teams travel?
A: This depends on which other teams within the Mountain District field teams in each age group. Teams may travel as far west as DuBois, as far south as Bedford, as far east as Lock Haven. Locations may also include Clearfield, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Huntingdon, and State College. Keep in mind though that half of the games each season will be played at home.
Age Group Table
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