The Travel program provides a more competitive alternative (for teams playing at higher levels), and placement on these teams is determined by each player’s skill level. There is no “tryout” to make a team — everyone gets on a team. Girls are placed on teams that range from division 1 (highly skilled, highly competitive) to division 4 (less skilled, more recreational). The primary determination for placement is the evaluation prepared by each girl’s prior NGS coach, and secondarily by a girl’s performance in assessment sessions held the prior Spring of each Fall season. (In the event that a girl is unable to attend an assessment session, placement will be based solely on the players last coach evaluation, and/or whatever other data is available to the travel committee. There are no “make up” assessment sessions.)
No matter what the divisional level, girls enjoy wearing the Newton travel uniform and representing NGS in spirited competition with teams from other communities. Travel teams play a ten game schedule with 5 home and 5 away games. Games are typically Saturday mornings, but rescheduled games (due to, for example, rain outs) could be at other days and times.
Teams practice twice a week. Many teams attend tournaments, particularly on Memorial and Columbus Day weekends. Note that in the travel program girls must play within age groupings established by Mass Youth Soccer. Except for high schools, teams stay together for the fall and spring seasons.
Playing in the travel program requires a commitment to attend two practices per week and all games, both home and away. If you and your daughter cannot make this commitment, please consider the lesser requirements of the intramural program. It is not fair to teammates and coaches to sign up for a team unless a player and her family can make the necessary commitment.
U10, U11, U12, and U14 teams are formed in the Fall and stay together through the Spring. Registration for those age groups is for a Full year. Sometimes there are spots available for newcomers in the Spring, but this is not guaranteed.
NGS Travel teams play in the Boston Area Youth Soccer league — or BAYS for short. Your daughter’s team could be placed in a section that contains teams from any town that’s a member of BAYS, and you will have one away game per season at each town in your section. The furthest towns in BAYS are approximately 22 miles from Newton.
Assessments are only for Travel teams. U10 through U14 assessment sessions are held each Spring, usually early to mid May, to place players for the following Fall and Spring seasons. The schedule is generally posted on the NGS calendar several weeks in advance. Assessments for the Spring U9 program are held in the Fall, and assessments for Spring High School teams are sometimes held in the Fall.
Travel players are placed on teams that range from division 1 (highly skilled, highly competitive) to division 4 (less skilled, more recreational). The primary determinant for which team a girl is placed on is the evaluation from her prior coach. The information gathered from the assessment session is secondary. We know that girls sometimes have a bad day, and an assessment result that is inconsistent with a girl’s coach evaluation will be discounted in the selection process. There is no minimum bar that has to be met. All girls of the appropriate age who register for travel are placed on teams.
The assessment sessions for each age group is held on a single day. You may request a preferred Assessment Time when you register online. In the event that a girl is unable to attend an assessment session, placement will be based solely on the players last coach evaluation, and/or whatever other data is available to the travel committee. There are no “make up” assessment sessions.
Registered players will receive an email confirmation several days before the assessments sessions, including time and place of the assessment. In case of bad weather, check the NGS website, or call the fields hotline at to find out if assessments have been postponed.
Newton Girls Soccer goes to great lengths to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to try out for a team and to evaluate all players consistently. This process involves a degree of subjectivity, and because some girls inevitably are not placed on the team that they would like. The philosophy of NGS is that each girl deserves the chance to try out for and be placed on a team on an annual basis. Efforts are made to avoid “tracking” of girls and to recognize that a young girl’s skills and motivations change over short periods of time.
In keeping with a national trend, assessments have evolved into a series of small-sided soccer games and skills stations. Each of these games is watched by a group of evaluators who are experienced soccer coaches or players and, when possible, are not directly connected or interested in the age group trying out. Also, the evaluators are not involved in selecting the actual teams within the age group, but are assigned to provide an impartial evaluation. These evaluations are coupled with the written evaluations of Spring coaches to be used during the player selection process. Coaches’ evaluations from prior seasons are not used in this process, so that girls start each season with a “clean slate.”
The age group coordinators organize the assessments in a way that will be fun and will lessen anxiety among the girls and their parents. Parents are asked to stay at a distance from the field and to refrain from cheering or making any comments. Any type of assessment involves some level of anxiety, and it is important to have the support of parents to keep things in perspective.
Some age groups may have a “callback” tryout after the initial tryout date. Callbacks are a way of allowing coaches and coordinators to more closely observe a smaller group of players. Those girls about whom the coaches need more data are invited. An invitation to a callback does not necessarily mean that a player has made or not made a particular team.
Player Selection Process
In June, after completion of the spring season, the NGS Travel Committee meets to select players for Fall/Spring travel teams. The first step is the selection of the coaches for the top one or two teams of each age group (see “Coach Selection Process”). Those top coaches then meet with an age group coordinator who is not involved in coaching in the age group, and an independent observer from the Committee, in order to select the players for the top one or two teams for that age group. The teams are formed in order, and having both coaches in attendance gives the group the maximum perspective on the player pool and the best chance at making the most appropriate placements. The role of the age group coordinator and independent observer is to assure that all placements are rational and proper given all the information available to the Committee on each player, to make sure that each girl is placed on a team appropriate to her skills.
Please note players will potentially move up and down teams from year to year. Between the ages of 8-12 years old we in the soccer world know this period as the ‘Golden Age’ were players develop their skills and technical ability the most. In addition a players physique and athleticism will also change having an affect on their development.
As parents, the most important thing that you can do is to help to provide your daughter with a positive soccer experience. Support her if she chooses to try out for a team and support the team for which she is selected. Volunteer to coach or be the assistant coach or team manager. If you or your daughter is disappointed with the team selection, please know that these things tend to equalize over time. It is our goal, within the limits of our volunteer organization, to provide girls in Newton with the best soccer experience possible, whether they play travel or intramural on any one of our approximately 100 teams. Please contact the age group coordinator or travel chair (names available on the website) if you have questions or comments.
Girls will be notified of their team selections during the summer. Coaches are asked to keep team selections confidential until all teams have been chosen. At that time, an email is sent to all girls notifying them of their team selection. The emails usually go out after the Newton public school schedule has concluded for the year. Spring high school team players will be notified of their assignment by their coaches in December or January.
Overview of NGS Programs