Playing-Up Policy

 Last modified: 08/31/2007 09:10:36 PM


Playing-Up Policy


Players may “play up” (i.e., play for a team in an age group that is older than the player’s designated age group) only with the prior approval of the Club’s Playing Up Committee.



Coaches may not permit under-age players to register or play with their team without ensuring that the player has followed the procedures set forth herein. Conversely, coaches should bring to the attention of the VP of Travel Soccer any player on their team that they feel would be better served by playing at an older age-group.



In all cases, the desire to play up should be driven by the player first and the player’s parents second, not by the coach of the team at the higher age group. The decision should be based upon what is in the best interests of the player and the Club. It should not be based upon ego, prestige or the particular best interests of any one team. When faced with making the decision whether the player ought to play up, adult leadership must be prepared with sound rationale to support their decision. Under no circumstance should coaches exploit the situation by holding players back in their quest for winning team championships, nor should parents push their child in an attempt to accelerate their ascension to the top of the soccer pyramid.



Responsibilities of Players Desiring to Play Up


Each year, players desiring to "play up" shall submit a written request to the VP of Travel Soccer prior to Travel Tryouts, even if the player “played up” in the previous year. Decisions will be made from year to year; no player will be automatically "grandfathered." The request should include all relevant factors that the player would like considered.



If a player who has submitted a request to play up is willing to consider a roster spot only in the higher age group, the player should attend the tryout session(s) for that age group and need not attend the tryout session(s) for the player’s proper age group. Otherwise, the player should attend the tryout sessions for both age groups (i.e., the player’s proper age group as well as the higher age group).



Playing Up Committee


After consultation with the coach(es) from each age group involved, a committee of the Board (the “Playing Up Committee”) will make determinations regarding all playing-up requests based upon all relevant factors. The Playing Up Committee ordinarily shall consist of the VP of Travel Soccer, the VP of Coaching & Training, and the appropriate Commissioner; however, (1) if any committee member believes that he or she should not participate in any particular playing-up request because of a personal interest in the outcome of any playing up request, he or she may recuse himself or herself from participating in that particular decision, and (2) the Board may alter or add to the composition of the Playing Up Committee on a permanent or case-by-case basis for any reason.





In making decisions regarding each playing-up request, the Playing Up Committee shall take into consideration the following guidelines.



    When it is appropriate for soccer development, the opportunity for the exceptional player to play with older players may be approved. Occasionally, a player may have such extraordinary ability that the best thing for that player is to play in a higher age group. In those cases, permission may be granted if it is determined that allowing the player to “play up” is necessary and/or appropriate to (i) expose the player to levels of competition commensurate with their skills, and (ii) provide the player with a challenging environment necessary to inspire the player to higher levels of play and thus maintain their interest and passion for the game.


    If a player’s correct age group is unable to provide player with the training, coaching and/or competition that he or she needs, strong consideration will be given to allowing the player to play at the next higher age group.


    If a player played up last year, strong consideration will be given to allowing the player to stay with that age group, i.e., to allowing the player’s status to be "grandfathered." (Note: this does not apply to under-aged players who played at U09 when they were actually U08 players. U09 players must play at their proper age group absent other "good cause. ")



    If a player is young for his or her grade in school - and consequently the player finds himself or herself otherwise not playing with the player’s classmates, strong consideration will be given to allowing the player to play at the next higher age group.



    If a player will enter grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 in the fall of the applicable soccer year, the player may be permitted to play in any age group for which the player is eligible if the Playing Up Committee determines that it is in the best interests of the player and the Club. In making such a decision, the Playing Up Committee will consider, among all other relevant factors, the impact of its decision on the age group of the team for which the player last played (if the player last played for an HSC team).


In addition, the Playing Up Committee may from time to time deem it necessary or appropriate to place player(s) in a higher age group in the best interest of the Club (for example, if the ability to form a team depends on relocating some players from one age group to another or a player on a waiting list can fill a vacancy on a higher age group team.) Ordinarily, however, no player will be required by the Club to play at a higher age group. In such cases, the decision will be reviewed from year to year with no presumption that the player is "grandfathered."

As a general rule, HSC soccer players are expected to play at their "proper" age group. "Playing up" is strongly discourage, particularly with respect to players who have not yet begun high school. HSC is a large club and its goal is to field competitive teams at all age groups. It is ordinarily in the best interests of the club and the player (and all concerned) if players play at their proper age group. It is rare that a player’s growth will be hindered by playing at their proper age group--or significantly helped by playing up. Conversely, allowing players to play up dilutes the talent pool at each age group. While it may help a given team to bolster its roster with an under-age player, this is often at a cost. It also can be detrimental to the overall morale of the participants in the program when players play up.