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Mason Dixon Soccer League

Fall Intramural Soccer Frequently Asked Questions

When does the season start?
Practices for the the Fall Season are scheduled to start mid to late August.  Practices are Saturday mornings + one weeknight for grades 2-12. K&1 practice on Saturdays and one weeknight at the start of the season, and then just one weeknight once game begin.  Games are scheduled to start the weekend after Labor Day.

How long is the season?
The Fall season consists of 8 scheduled games.  Depending on the number of teams and coaches, we may or may not conclude the season with a tournament for some age groups.

What is included with the registration fee?
Every player will receive a game jersey, shorts and socks and an appropriately sized soccer ball for them to bring to training and to practice at home. MDSL will play a minimum of 6 games in the Fall, including tournaments.  Rained out games may not be rescheduled.

How old does my child have to be to play?
We offer registration for players in all grades K-12.  MDSL requires children to meet the age requirements to enroll in Kindergarten in SYC schools in the Fall of the previous year in order to register for the Fall season.  

I’d like my child to play with a sibling in an older age division, is that possible?
MDSL sets up age brackets to encourage safe and fair play for everyone involved in the program and to participate in the sport with their friends from school.  We discourage players from playing above their grade level if it is unnecessary.  At the discretion of the IM Coordinator, MDSL may allow players to play up one age division on the condition that their parent or guardian agrees to be the head coach of their team.

When and where are games/practices held?
Games and practices are held at assigned fields in the Southern York County community including New Freedom, Codorus, Shrewsbury and Glen Rock.

Can I request a practice location for my child’s team?
Practice locations are assigned based on the available playing area and our ability to place the  required field size for a certain age group on that field.  For this reason, we do not allow parents or coaches to select their practice location.

Can I request a practice night for my child’s team?
As part of the registration form, you can alert us to practice night conflicts.  While we make our best efforts to honor your requests, we cannot promise specific practice nights for any player or any team.

I need to carpool with a friend for my child to play, can they be on the same team?
As part of the registration form, you can alert us to any player needs.  While we make our best efforts to honor your requests, we only guarantee that siblings within the same age division are placed on the same team.  Please see the question on team building in order to understand how teams are created in MDSL.

Can I request my child be placed with a coach we know?
Everyone loves playing for a good coach.  Having someone who understands the game or understands your child makes the game experience that much more enjoyable.  However, MDSL does not honor coach requests.  A great coach will have numerous players requesting to play for him/her.  However, this might not create balanced teams, give other children the benefit of playing with that coach, or keep your child from finding another excellent influence among our volunteers.  For these reasons, we do not honor these requests.  We do, however, make every effort to honor requests that a child not be placed with a specific coach once we understand the reasons behind the request.

How are the teams created?
Our coordinators try very hard to create competitively balanced teams.  There is no benefit to the league or to the players to have teams that aren’t balanced.  Our coordinators do not know all the players individually.  We ask previous coaches for feedback, but don’t always get answers or the answers are inaccurate, so we go by demographic information in most cases.  Unfortunately, there are often several factors that we cannot account for.  For example, players new to the program, players who grew 6 inches since the last time they played, players who are older but small for their age, players who have improved talent or physical skills over previous years, etc.  

The MDSL Intramural Regulations specify how teams are created.  Once registration concludes and we know what the grade divisions will be, we then build teams.  Using the registration totals, we set a number of players per team, assuming there are enough coaching volunteers to meet that goal.  Coaches are first assigned their child(ren).  We look at available player evaluations and separate the top players onto different teams, if possible.  We then strive for competitive balance by separating players by age and then gender.  Older player get separated from one another when possible, and their siblings go with them.  We then try to honor player and coach requests for practice nights and align those.  It is a process that takes some time and is not flawless.  In short, we do our best.

Why are the fields smaller with fewer players on the field for the younger age groups?
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has adopted a policy of small sided, small field games for the development of youth soccer players.  

1. Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)
2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (Tactical development)
3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (Reduced field size)
4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Fewer players on the field and fewer players on the team will guarantee this! (Need to feel worthy and need to feel important)
5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more, involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)
6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)
7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (Pure excitement)
8. Because we want to include children of all temperaments, assertive to shy, to have more opportunities to interact with others and the game! (Socialization)

I’d like to coach, what is required to volunteer?
The answer to this is simple -  Your time and a volunteer pass.

All coaches are required to meet the PA state guidelines for volunteers supervising children.  You can find details about those requirements here. Once MDSL has verified you have completed the requirements, you’ll be given a coaching pass to keep with you.  The pass is good for one year.  If you currently have a green colored pass, you'll need to make sure you complete everything needed to get your new orange pass for 17/18 soccer.  If you do not already have an MDSL volunteer pass, you'll need to submit background check information and/or complete the annual concussion awareness training.  To find out what information MDSL requires from you, please email [email protected].

What are the volunteer passes?
Beginning in 2016, the State of Pennsylvania made background checks mandatory for all volunteers who would be regularly interacting with children in a supervisory capacity.  These background checks are valid for five years and are not soccer specific. Additionally, the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association made concussion awareness training mandatory for all coaching volunteers.  MDSL is required to verify that all our volunteers meet these requirements.  All volunteers are required by MDSL to provide proof that they have passed required background checks and have taken the required CDC training for concussion awareness.  All records are recorded and kept on file.  All head coaches, assistant coaches, Board members and referees have received cards from the league to be kept with them whenever they are volunteering with the league.  All coaches must have a valid pass before they are assigned to a team.  No one without a valid pass can assist coaches with the kids. 

I’d like to coach, but don’t know much about the game.  Is there training available?
We are 100% committed to getting our coaches trained to best pass on their knowledge to our players.  For this reason beginning this Fall (2024) there will be a required coaches clinic for all volunteers who have signed up to coach. We want to offer the best possible knowledge and experience to our coaches, players and families.

I’m interested in volunteering, but can’t commit to coaching.  How else can I help?
MDSL is a 100% volunteer organization.  Without volunteers, the organization stops functioning.  We need help in all areas all the time. Coaches, assistant coaches, help with field maintenance-lining fields weekly throughout the season as well as Board of Directors positions.  Coaching doesn't take up nearly as much time as you think.  In many cases, you're already at your child's practice and game so the time is already committed.  Beyond that it's about 20-30 minutes per week to plan your sessions.