AYSA Statement on Diversity and Inclusion
Amherst Youth Soccer Association (AYSA) is organized to develop, promote, and administer the game of soccer among youth (those under nineteen years of age) within Massachusetts for the benefit and development of all, as players, and towards the greater purpose of youth sports in general.
AYSA recognizes that diversity is an essential strength of the Amherst community. AYSA also understands that youth from a wide range of backgrounds, including those who are economically disadvantaged; of different national origin or undocumented citizenship status; Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC), members of the LGBTQ+ community, and youth with disabilities are often marginalized in youth sports. We welcome and encourage youth from all backgrounds to participate in our programs.
For the purposes of registration on gender-based travel teams, a player may register with the gender team with which the player identifies, and confirmation sufficient for guaranteeing access shall be satisfied by written attestation that shows the stated gender is sincerely held, and part of a person’s core identity. Though many of the forms used by the AYSA for registration purposes are designed and regulated by external organizations, the AYSA will endeavor, whenever possible, to distinguish between a players’ identified gender (including non-binary) and the team for which they wish to register.
Policy on Tryouts and Spring Placements for Travel Teams
In June of each year players register online for team tryouts for the fall season. Tryouts are free of charge and are mandatory for all players wishing to be on a travel team, including those who are already on an AYSA team or have played for an AYSA team in the past.
- AYSA advertises and announces tryouts online and by email and provides free online registration.
- Director of Coaching (DOC) organizes and oversees tryouts, creating an evaluation form with a number system to rank players, and has ultimate decision-making authority over all players and teams. DOC provides Travel Director (TD) with aggregate number for each player, which is the basis for team placements. (12 players minimum for each team; top 14 or so will be A team, bottom 13 or so will be B team.) Space for late players may be held for A team.
- Makeup tryouts may be offered for those who are interested but unable to make tryout dates.
- Shortly after tryouts the DOC and Travel Director confirm team rosters.
- DOC and Travel Director will consult with coaches prior to informing parents/players of team placement.
- An email will then be sent to parents, informing of them of any team placement or directing them to recreational soccer program.
- Once players have been invited to a team, players have one week to register so teams can be quickly confirmed. If adequate numbers of players don’t register in time, teams may change configuration.
- In the fall, no one is placed on the initial roster without a tryout (spring registration is different; see below). However, there may be occasional exceptions, such as in cases where a player has moved to the region after rosters have been confirmed; anyone seeking to be placed after rosters have been confirmed must be evaluated and approved by DOC and Travel Director.
- In the spring, coaches may directly recruit new players. However, coaches may not attempt to recruit players from other AYSA teams without prior approval from Travel Director and DOC. If a coach believes a player should change teams (any player who has played on another AYSA team in the past) that coach will contact the Travel Director to consult. DOC maintains ultimate responsibility for all team placements.
- For any player to move from lower level to a higher level team, the change must be according to fall tryout ranking.
- Additionally, for a player to move up to a higher level team they must meet the following criteria: 1.) be the top player on their current/most recent team and 2. be expected to be a top player on the team they are moving up to. DOC has final say.
Policy on Recreation League Team Formation
AYSA seeks to create a team formation process for the Recreation League guided by the following principles:
- Players have the opportunity to play with several different coaches over the course of their participation in the program, and to meet new teammates and develop new friendships each season
- The process strives for players to have some choice of teammates, with at least one mutual friend request honored, whenever possible
- Teams are relatively balanced so that play is fun and competitive in keeping with the spirit of the Recreation League
The team formation process is very time- and resource-intensive for AYSA staff. Formation of teams is the responsibility of the AYSA Director of Coaching and Recreational Program Director. The Director of Coaching and Recreational Program Director will approve a process for team formation each season that best balances and meets the principles outlined in the previous section.
Team formation for the Recreation League will be by grade level. Players/parents may request one friend to be on their team, and this request should be mutual. Coaches’ children, unless requested otherwise, will be placed on their parent’s team.
Beyond the above minimum requirements, team formation will balance player strengths and team “records,” with the ability to efficiently administer the process of team formation and produce rosters. No guarantees will be made to players, parents, or coaches about team formation.
The Board may, in its sole discretion, allow specific “Town” teams to come into the League provided that the town supplies the League with a designated person to serve as a coordinator of registration for that town. This coordinator will take the full responsibility for obtaining registration (and other required) forms, fully completing forms, collecting fees as designated by the Board, and returning registration forms as the Board may direct. The Coordinator will also produce rosters for their teams in a format designated by the AYSA Board and will forward a copy of that roster to the Recreation League Director at least one week prior to the season. The Coordinator will also arrange for all of his/her coaches to attend Coaches meeting(s). The Coordinator will form teams of the size directed by the Recreation League and will not permit variation in roster size from the League’s limit. The Coordinator will also see that the philosophy of balanced team formation (see first section above) is followed. Players in such “Towns” coming into the League will also have the option of declining to play on their town team(s) and may register in the usual manner for an AYSA formed team. No recruiting”of players from teams formed by the AYSA Recreation League will be permitted. The AYSA Board may, from season to season, discontinue this practice if the guiding principles in the first section are judged to be compromised. Teams formed in this manner, and their coaches, will follow all other rules, policies, and procedures of the AYSA.