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Principles for “Playing Up”

All Storm Players are expected to play with their birth age group.  There is one exception and they must be reassessed each year at tryouts.  The principles are consistent with club values that players and teams most effectively grow when the discrepancies among players are minimized.  The tryout coaches for both birthyears will make the evaluation and recommend the player be granted a birthyear exemption and allow to play up one year.  The exception is:

  • A child is technically and tactically so far ahead of his or her peer group that there is no challenge.  This child should be given the opportunity to play against players with the same ability so that he/she is challenged to perform at a higher speed of thought and action.  On a practical basis this means the child would be in the top quartile of the older age with respect to overall playing ability.  If physical differences are such that a technically gifted child’s technical or tactical development is negatively affected, the situation will be re-evaluated.  

If a team has a need for additional players that cannot be filled from the pool of players at that team’s playing age, younger players may be considered for the roster if in the judgement of the coach they will be competitive technically and tactically and have necessary physical and mental maturity to be successful.  This is anticipated only for older teams (e.g. U13 and up) where more players are needed.

Players will not play up for the following reasons:

  • He/she is in the same grade as those kids on the older team
  • Size (or speed) alone
  • Being at the older end part of the birthyear (e.g. January)
  • His/her best friend is on the team
  • That team is coached by his favorite coach
  • He/she plays up in other sports
  • Players have been together on rec teams

Footnote -- The Storm program values core beliefs of putting players first and being family friendly within the context of a community setting.  We understand the attractiveness of playing with school friends.  When the club was formed, select soccer operated on an academic year for determining playing age.  The change to calendar year naturally divides some players in the same grade.  And, while it is tempting to continue to enable players of the same school year to play together, we have decided to align with the rest of the soccer community and require players to play with their birthyear even when it does not allow friends and classmates to play together.  We find young children easily make new friends once they are on a team.  And, we believe opportunities to guest play and train together offer friends the chance to interact on the soccer field.  From a club standpoint playing up deprives a roster position to a player of the correct birthyear and opportunity for him/her to grow and develop. 


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