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, although all goalies are encouraged to play other positions as well. It’s important that players learn all aspects of a game.


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.