Frequently Asked Questions


This is the most asked question and currently is a top priority for the NGS leadership team. The short answer is our fields are overused and insufficiently maintained. There are simply too many athletes in Newton, not enough fields and budget constraints prevent improvements. NGS is working closely with the parks and recreation department and mayor’s office to increase funding for athletic fields. Our goals are to improve the condition of the grass fields, increase the number of synthetic turf fields and install more lights. This will be a long, difficult process and we will be contacting our members to enlist your support when it is needed. We encourage anyone interested to volunteer as a field steward to help monitor field conditions and report issues.
We provide field maps on our website for all practice and game locations. Additionally, we mark the goals with the field names. However, our parks are used by many other organizations and sometimes the goals are not returned to the proper location. We encourage everyone to check the location on the website before heading to the fields.

Soccer Rules

In 2017, small-sided game standards were implemented by all U.S. Soccer youth member organizations, including NGS. Small-sided standards are youth games played with less than 11 players on each team. Playing with less players on the field means that players are constantly involved in play and provided with more opportunities for touches on the ball and overall player development. Not only are there fewer players, but small-sided games also use smaller fields, goals and balls, shorter game times and some different rules to optimize the game for younger players. With fewer players on the field, players have a greater opportunity to play more meaningful minutes. They will be involved in the game, with or without the ball, much more than in a full-sided game, creating more chances for learning and improvement.  
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but many US parents know almost nothing about the sport until their child joins a team.  Learning some of the fundamentals will help you enjoy your new role as a soccer parent.  Click here for an introduction to the basic rules of soccer.


We are proud of our referees who work hard to improve their performance. Most of them are current and former NGS players. Our referee training program is the envy of our neighbors who would like to duplicate our success. Do our referees make mistakes? Of course. So do our players, coaches, and parents. Our primary goal is to create a safe and encouraging environment for our referees so that they want to STAY. The number one reason for youth referees dropping out is from a bad experience with a player’s parent or coach. The NGS referee training program begins with referees for our second grade teams. From there they move up to higher grades in the City Program and finally are eligible to referee BAYS games when they are fourteen. We are proud of the commitment and effort they are demonstrating. Remember when they make a mistake, they may be the daughter or son of a parent on your team or even your daughter’s coach! Please be patient as they learn along with your daughters.
NGS is always looking for referees of the appropriate age and skill for NGS City and BAYS League soccer games. We have positions for Youth Intramural Referees, as well as Youth and Adult Adult USSF Certified Referees. Most referees start as a Youth Intramural Referee for recreational teams with players in grades 2 - 9. NGS offers the NGS Referee Academy to introduce students in 6th grade or older to refereeing via a rigorous training, assigning and mentoring program. NO previous referee experience is required. Trainees are be assigned referee games appropriate to their age and experience. The program improves understanding of the game, is fun, and provides compensation. Interested applicants for NGS Referee Academy will need to contact the NGS Referee Committee for training and date information. After Intramural referee training, referees 14 and older may become USSF Grade 8 Certified to be eligible to referee BAYS home games for Newton teams. Certification classes are held through the year. There is no relationship between a student’s grade in school and their USSF referee grade. For more information go to


We try! Our philosophy is that coaching takes place at practice. Games are the time for players to use their creativity and to learn by doing. We encourage coaches to sit during the games and speak only to the players on the bench, never yelling at the players on the field. Parents can help with this. Please limit coaching your daughters or their teammates during the games. Positive cheering is encouraged but trying to instruct your daughter during the game is not. While it may feel tempting to provide instruction from the sideline, we’ve done a lot of work researching this and it’s proven that “joystick coaching” does not benefit players. More often than not, it creates confusion and has a negative impact.
This may be a surprise, but we do not cancel games for rain. On rare occasions, when the temperature is near freezing, or lightning is in the area, we will cancel games for weather. The most likely reason to cancel is unplayable field conditions. Safety of the players is our main concern, but we also want to protect the fields, particularly in the early spring when the grass is very fragile. (We care about our players, but we cannot ruin our fields!). The decision to close the fields is made by Newton Parks and Recreation officials in consultation with NGS and NYS field coordinators. We try to have this done by 3:00 pm on weekdays, 7 am on Saturdays and 11 am on Sundays although this is not always possible. More information can be found here. Keep in mind that it’s often impossible to know EXACTLY when storms will come or go, so we do our best and just like calling a snow day, we don’t always get it right.
NGS strives to give our players a solid foundation that they can build upon as they advance. This means teaching them ALL aspects of the game. Rarely if ever do players stay in the same position as they move through their soccer experience. For example, if a player only plays defense, they will not learn the dynamics of the attack and shooting skills. Players that only focus on forward don’t learn the skills required to defend as a unit. Look no further than Hope Solo who is regarded as one of the best goalies in the history of soccer. You may be surprised to learn that she was a forward until college. NGS guidelines for grades 3 through 5 stipulate that all players play all positions evenly, including goalie. In 6th grade, we allow players to play preferred positions 50% of the time and encourage but do not require everyone to play in goal. By 7th grade, players may play preferred positions 75% of the time and goalkeepers can be specialized. GKs should also be given the opportunity to play outfield over the course of the season. It’s important that players learn all aspects of a game. We recommended that players rotate positions game by game rather than play multiple positions per game.
If a coach is concerned about playing in the heat, talk to the referee and opposing coach before the game begins. The referee may decide to play quarters or shorten the game. For juniors and city teams, a team with a full roster could also lend player(s) to the shorthanded team.


Practice location is determined by both the coaches and also our field availability. We are allocated a limited number of fields each season by the City and we do our best to accommodate every team, but ultimately there are only so many slots available in each location. Many other sports use the same fields including football, lacrosse and baseball to name a few. Most every team (with some exceptions) have players from all over the city so coaches do their best to accommodate their entire team.
We have a limited number of fields, even fewer with lights. Lighted fields are in high demand, especially in the fall, and have limited practice slots (usually 5:00 - 6:15, 6:15 - 7:30, and 7:30 - 8:45 pm). Other commitments prevent many volunteer coaches from making the early practice. We encourage Sunday practices but that is also not an option for many players or coaches. Most teams only take one late practice a week. As an all-volunteer organization, we look to our coaches to determine the best time for both their personal schedule and their team’s schedule.
NGS follows the Play - Practice - Play philosophy as recommended by US Soccer. Practice sessions are designed to improve fundamentals for all players in a fun, positive learning environment that puts players into game-like situations, encourages decision-making, and helps players develop ownership of the game. This approach differs from traditional practices that may have children standing in lines, running laps, listening to coach lectures, and participating in drills that don’t resemble the game of soccer. Each practice is organized around a learning goal. A session includes targeted activities that reinforce the goal within game-like scenarios, as well as scrimmages. Activities are adapted to the age of the players. Our younger players are at the best age to develop technical skills such as ball control, foot skills, passing, defending and attacking. As the girls progress, coaches refine technical skills while introducing more tactical lessons such as set plays and position-specific roles. At any age practice is meant to be enjoyable; the #1 reason young athletes quit a sport is that they lose interest and stop having fun.
We all know New England weather is unpredictable. Our coaches put in a lot of time planning practice sessions and if they have a chance to get the practice in safely, we encourage them to do so. Our mandate is to leave the fields in the event of lightning, not the possibility. If the fields are open, the decision to cancel rests with the coaches. Newton Parks and Recreation also has the authority to close athletic fields if they do not think they are playable. When this happens, we do our best to get the word out to our coaches and parents.
Practice time and location is up to the volunteer coaches based on field availability. We encourage all coaches to poll their teams to come up with the best time and location. However, it can be impossible to meet everyone's requests. If your child is unable to attend at least one of her team's practices, please contact her age group coordinator or the registrar as soon as possible. We will do our best to move her to another team. If that doesn't work, we will provide a refund.


We have a complete store with a wide range of items for adults and youths. More information can be found here. If there is a specific item you are looking for, please let us know!


We wonder that too and honestly do not have a specific sense of why this is the case. Our club was founded by a woman and is almost entirely volunteer run. Each season we ask for coaches to sign up and STRONGLY encourage everyone with any interest to consider being a coach. NGS provides training for all our coaches, sessions with our Director of Coaching and numerous written materials such as session and game plans. Please consider taking the next step to sign up as a volunteer!

Travel Program

We do not accept teammate requests in the Travel program. If this is important to your child, we recommend registering for the City program. The Travel program provides a more competitive alternative to the City program (for teams playing at higher levels), and placement on these teams is determined by each player’s skill level. A significant amount of time and consideration goes into making sure that each player is placed on a team appropriate to their skill level where they can be challenged, while still being competitive. Please help your child have a positive soccer experience by supporting their assigned team. One of the wonderful benefits of playing a team sport is the opportunity to develop social skills and make new friends.
NGS does not own the travel schedule. We submit team rosters and recommendations for placement but the final decision is made by our travel league (BAYS). Placement of teams is a long process that involves over fifty other town programs. Teams are submitted, placed, replaced, and replaced again. This process takes time and only then can schedules be compiled. It is all done as quickly as possible and we disseminate the information as soon as possible.
That shouldn’t happen. Players in the travel program are expected to prioritize soccer over other activities. All players should play at least half of each game they attend. Coaches may bypass this rule for players who fail to attend practice. If your coach is not following this guideline please, talk to him or her. Our goal is for every player to get equal playing time during the course of a season.
Our third and fourth grade travel teams practice weekly with our Director of Coaching and other professional NGS coaches. All other teams have at least two opportunities per season to sign up with our DOC or other professional coaches for training sessions.
Travel team rosters are formed based on players’ ability and commitment. Some girls improve more quickly than others and those players are moved up to higher teams. Others may need to move down if they are not advancing at the same rate as their teammates. We recognize this is difficult for some of the girls but feel it is necessary to provide the greatest overall experience for everyone. While we focus on development, our league (BAYS) assigns teams to different divisions based on their skill level. In addition, as players age, the team size increases. Teams playing 11v11 need more players than teams playing 9v9 and 7v7. So every two years, team size changes require players to be moved around for rosters to be sized appropriately to the game format.
Our coaches are volunteers and we already require a great time commitment from them. We do not feel we can require them to give each player an end of year evaluation. We encourage you to speak directly with your coach if you have questions about how your daughter is developing.
Placements are based on two factors, the assessment as well as coach evaluations. The final decision is made by age group coordinators in consultation with the travel committee and director of coaching. In most cases, the coach evaluation is the starting point while the assessments might make the difference in comparing players from different teams. We feel that using two different “data sources” helps create a check and balance so that a poor showing at an assessment does not overly influence a placement decision. Conversely, if a coach provides feedback that does not align with the assessment, we’ll try to do further research to understand why.
Every girl can score. Just like all the teams we play, placements are based on ability with the better players taking on better opponents. If teams aren’t scoring, they may have been poorly placed within BAYS and Age Group Coordinators will work with both the coach and the BAYS league to remedy this.

City Program

NGS is a community program, not a school-based program. Therefore, we purposely create teams with girls from multiple neighboring schools. Soccer is a great place to make new friends! Players in the city program may make a single “friend request” that, if mutual, will be taken into consideration for placement.
We simply don’t have enough players in some individual age groups to create a competitive league with single grade teams. While we would love for all of our players to continue with soccer for life, many choose to focus on other activities as they get older. Others make a stronger commitment to soccer by joining the travel program. The challenge is further exacerbated in 5th and 7th grade when players move to larger fields and roster sizes, resulting in fewer teams.
Players cannot select a preferred game time in the city program. There are fewer teams in the city program, larger rosters, and larger field sizes. These factors impact scheduling. All teams will rotate game times from week to week. City games are played on Saturday afternoons with kick-offs between 12:30 and 4:30 pm. Match schedules are announced a few weeks before the season starts.

Juniors Program

Teams are put together by volunteer grade coordinators. NGS is grateful for their time and effort, as a lot of work goes into putting these teams together. Depending on the grade and registration process, the primary drivers for forming teams in the juniors program are around friend requests and time slots. For some age groups, like in kindergarten, time of the session is the first divider. But with other grade levels, like in 2nd grade, time inputs are suggested preferences that are weighed into the selection process. Other factors in the juniors program are school groupings, although NGS is a great and proven place for kids to make additional friendships around Newton. Given this is an all-volunteer run program, having enough coaches is important as well.
We follow the recommendations of US Soccer for field, goal, and ball size as well as number of players, roster size, game duration, and use of goalkeepers at all levels. Some of our second graders are more advanced than others and might be ready to move to a larger field but for the benefit of most of our players, we have chosen to follow these guidelines. Depending on where our fields are each season, we have to work within the constraints of the field space. Some seasons, we are required to make the fields smaller while other seasons, we have more room. Remember at this age, players are still learning how to dribble and pass so a larger field is not always the solution to every problem.
We try to limit roster sizes for 4v4 teams to eight and 5v5 teams to 10. While it would be easier for us if everyone signed up the day registration opens, we know particularly in the juniors program, minds change frequently and some girls may discover late in the process that all their friends are playing soccer this year and they want to play too. We certainly don’t want to say no to anyone so despite the logistical difficulties, we try to keep registration open as long as possible. We do our best to find a team for every player and this can in some cases result in a larger than desired roster. We also expect all players to get equal experience from their weekly practices. If limited playing time was a disappointment for your daughter in one season, rest assured we will try to correct it in the following season.
NGS is a community program, not a school-based program. Therefore, we purposely create teams with girls from multiple neighboring schools and honor only one mutual friend request per player. To the extent possible, we place players (who register on time) on teams with at least one schoolmate. Unfortunately, some schools only have two or three players while others have 13 or 14. Sometimes we need to split up a school to fill out rosters. To avoid this situation, we encourage registering on time and coordinating with a friend to request placement together. We will do everything possible to honor the request.