Nordic Age Group Policy
Nordic Soccer Club believes that players will develop better at their age appropriate level than at an age level above. As a general rule, Nordic soccer players are expected to play at their "proper" age group, as determined by their year of birth. Nordic is a large club and its goal is to field competitive teams at all age groups. Ordinarily, it is in the best interests of the club - and the player - 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.
The club recognizes, however, that talented players may exist that are physically and psychologically ready to be considered for the next age level within the club’s competitive team structure. 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.
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 Director of Coaching any player on their team that they feel would be better served by playing at an older age-group.
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 approval of the Club’s Director of Coaching.
In all cases, the desire to play up should be driven by the player first and foremost, with an eye toward maximizing her/his soccer development. Convenience, parents’ wishes, ego, coach’s wishes, prestige or the particular best interests of any one team will not be taken into account. The decision will be based upon what is in the best interests of the player and the Club. 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. In addition, the Director of Coaching 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. There may also be situations when a player is asked/offered the opportunity to “guest” on a higher-age team for certain games or tournaments. It should be clear that this does not mean a player is playing up for the season. Ordinarily, however, no player will be required by the Club to play at a higher age group.
- Each year, players desiring to "play up" shall submit a written request to the Director of Coaching, even if the player “played up” in the previous year. Decisions will be made from year to year and the request should include all relevant factors that the player would like considered.
- The player must try out with the age appropriate team. The DOC and the age appropriate coaches will evaluate the player at the try-outs to determine if he/she is among the prospective starters for the next age level team and one of the strongest players of the age appropriate team. If the athlete is not evaluated as a prospective starter on the next age level team and one of the strongest players of the age appropriate team, then the process ends here.
- If the athlete is evaluated as a prospective starter on the next age level team and one of the strongest players of the age appropriate team, then the player may be considered for the next age level team. At this point the player will be offered the opportunity to train with the higher age group to confirm the evaluation made at age-appropriate tryout.
- When all evaluations are complete and after consultation with the coach's from each age group involved, the Director of Coaching will make final determinations regarding all playing-up requests based upon all relevant factors.
- If by playing-Up in the next age level the player leaves the age appropriate team without sufficient numbers to field a viable team, the underage player will be invited, and required, to play at their age appropriate level.
- The Director of Coaching will communicate the final decision in writing to the player.