Frequent Asked Questions
WHAT IS “COMP SOCCER” AND WHY WOULD I WANT MY CHILD INVOLVED?
Comp soccer offers your child involvement in a more competitive game and training with licensed coaches. Recreational leagues (such as local leagues and our Anchorage Youth Soccer League) are intended more for the player who is just starting out with the game, does not have the time for a year-round commitment, or is not yet interested in pursuing the game on a more serious level. If your child is passionate about the game and you are both equally serious about his/her development into the best player they can be, then comp soccer affords your child the type of environment to help reach those goals.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD START PLAYING COMP SOCCER?
The same question may be asked of having your child start piano lessons. For the right player, there’s no such thing as “too early.” There is only “too late.”
The English Football Association’s latest research shows that the “Golden Age of Learning” is between the ages of 8 and 14. After the age of 14, it is much more difficult to cure technical flaws in a player.
The only real way to decide whether or not comp soccer is right for your child is to come out and train with one of the teams. This allows you to see for yourself the level of play and quality of training so you can make a decision based on the knowledge you gain from that experience. You should also speak to other families who are members of our club about their experience.
At AYSC, like many highly competitive programs and teams in the Anchorage area and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, we have teams that start at the U9 (under 9) age group.
DOES “YEAR-ROUND” REALLY MEAN 52 WEEKS OF NON-STOP SOCCER?
Not at all; no one should train and play that way. Some younger players often take a season off or register later in the year and the competitive training and team game calendar follows a “cyclical” regimen. Teams, depending on age group and level of play, may typically take 2-3 weeks off over winter break, 1-2 weeks off in spring, and about 3-4 weeks off at the end of summer in August and September. Teams train hard and usually toward the goal of:
Fall League: October – December
Winter League: January – April
Summer League: May – July
State Cup – tournament format competition in August
High School Season – spring time, March – May (not part of comp soccer)
Tournament Season – spring/summer through August where teams will go to an average of 2 tournaments per month
Some teams will go to a maximum of 6/8 tournaments in an entire year, some of which may be out of state.
Teams typically take time to decompress after each of the above seasons. While your child will be committed to his/her club team year-round, they will be actually training/playing for about 40 weeks of the year.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRAINING VERSUS GAMES?
Training is the homework for the exam, the hard work before a performance, the skills learned before putting them to the test. U.S. Soccer advocates that there should be more time spent training than playing games. This provides the child with a less stressful environment in which to make mistakes and to learn from them. The game is also important, however, is necessary to validate the training and time spent on one’s soccer skills.
SHOULD I HAVE MY CHILD PLAY FUTSAL?
Yes. Futsal has been proven to be the best small-sided game for player development as it complements the outdoor game in many areas. The Anchorage Youth Futsal League season begins before the winter months and ends before the high school soccer season. Players do not need to play with their current club team which provides them the opportunity to play with other kids and form their own teams.
MY CHILD IS A MULTI-SPORT ATHLETE. WHAT ABOUT PLAYING OTHER SPORTS?
Young athletes are encouraged to play other sports because it is healthy to do so since young bodies are developing, and it’s important to experiment and cross-train. However, regardless of age, by committing to the Club multi-sport athletes are expected to put comp soccer first in the event of a conflict. As players approach high school age, it becomes increasingly difficult to play several sports and, as a result, high school age athletes must often choose between comp soccer and other sports.
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?
Your commitment to the comp soccer season begins at tryouts in August with preseason training starting in September. The club season is no bigger a commitment than many other sports programs.
During the winter, teams typically practice three times a week with games on weekends. During summer, games will be scheduled on weekday evenings with most weekends open. Most teams will have a calendar for the entire year available around which families can plan their activities. When teams travel, it’s usually not more than a weekend. While substantial, the time commitment is extremely manageable with good planning.
If your child is invited to join an AYSC Arsenal team and you accept the invitation, you are committing to the following:
Preseason – all players must report to training in September (specific dates are determined on a yearly basis)
Typically three 90-minute practices per week (depending on age group)
Tournaments – usually 2 to 3 in summer, more throughout the year depending on age group and team
State Cup – Early August before school starts
* Exceptions may apply to the multi-sport athlete and high school soccer player.
WHAT ABOUT THE FINANCIAL COMMITMENT?
The comp training fee can be paid in full or on a payment plan with the monthly fees averaging $100. Team fees, which include league and tournament fees can vary from team to team based on the number of players on the team.
While there is an additional uniform cost for new players, estimated around $100 to $200, there is NO annual club membership/player registration fee.
There are some opportunities available for need-based financial aid.
In average, the total financial commitment for the AYSC competitive program is between $1,600 and $2,200 per year.
WHAT IF I PLAY HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER?
Players are encouraged to play high school soccer, to represent their school, and play with their classmates. Those who take a break from club soccer to commit to their high school team will receive a credit to their account.
WHAT ABOUT PLAYING TIME?
Playing time is not guaranteed. Comp soccer is a meritocracy; players earn their way onto a team, earn playing time – and must play and train in a way that will determine their level of involvement. While we realize that different players have different talents and levels of commitment, we try to select players that have the ability to earn playing time. We do not select players just to have them sit entire games on the bench.
WHAT ABOUT CUTS?
Comp soccer is a competitive environment by nature. Players compete for positions on the team as well as for minutes played on the field. NO PLAYER IS CUT DURING THE SEASON OF PLAY. At the end of each season, coaches and families take the opportunity to “take stock” of each individual player’s development, performance, and contribution to the team. It is those parameters that allow both families and coaches to decide whether or not it is to the player’s benefit to continue with their existing Arsenal team or to find them an alternative environment in which they may continue to develop their skills.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A TEAM IS A “BLACK”, “RED” OR “WHITE” TEAM?
Select teams playing in league will vary in both skill and level of competitiveness. Depending on the number of players selected on to an Arsenal team in a particular age group, more than one team may be entered into a local league. AYSC will distinguish between these teams by assigning colors. Teams typically start at the WHITE level and work their way up via a promotion system. The three levels are white, red, and black with black being the better team. Arsenal Black players often go on to play at the collegiate and professional level.
HOW CAN I GET MY CHILD INVOLVED?
Go to our “TEAMS” link. Find a team that’s the right age for your child. Contact the head coach or Technical Director directly either via phone or e-mail and ask to come to a practice. If a team in your child’s age group does not exist or has not yet been formed, contact the Technical Director directly for further information on how to proceed.