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State Law Change Affects All Clubs
The PA Child Protective Services Law changed recently.  The change requires all coaches and volunteers involved with youth organizations to complete a State Police Criminal Record Check and a PA Child Abuse History Clearance.  For those individuals who have not resided in PA continuously for the previous 10 years they must also complete an FBI Criminal Background Check.

PA West Soccer’s Risk Management Policy will be amended to comply with the changes in the law.  We will make the necessary adjustments to our online Risk Management system to help manage this change.  PA West Soccer is committed to providing every player with the safest experience possible and as soon as we have the necessary changes in place we will share them. 

Paid employees are immediately required to comply with the law.  While it's legally permissible for volunteers to wait until July 1, 2015 before completing the mandated clearances it is recommended that all individuals take the necessary steps to fulfill their obligation as soon as possible.

Youth Board Notes
-Approved the appointment of Brigid Polliard as the Youth Division representative to the SRC.
-Approved the small-sided Fall League for U16 and older players.
-Approved changing the District Teams structure to 4 District Centers and 2 Goalkeeper Centers.
-Voted to recognize the transition of the Greensburg Soccer Club to the Greensburg YMCA.
-Approved the affiliation of the McConnellsburg Youth Soccer Club.

Unexpected Passing Of Classic Division Commissioner/Former YB Member
Ralph Hale passed away on December 26. The former Youth Board member was always willing to lend a hand in the effort toward growing the game.

Hale was long a fixture in the Classic Division, most recently serving as the Girls Commissioner but also handled a stint as the Division Director. He has been North United's only President; the club has its roots in Hale's time as President of North Allegheny Soccer.

As a President tenured in both a community club and classic club, Hale offered a unique perspective during his tenure on the Youth Board.  He was able to provide insight into how rule proposals would affect each type of club and often offered suggestions to help find a way to benefit all the clubs.

Most recently, Hale was instrumental in his efforts to help North United attain its own field complex.


Youth Board Notes
November 10, 2014
-Discussed adjustments to 2015 District Teams Program
-Approved the 2015 State Cup Rules

National League Schedule Released; 3 PA West Soccer Teams To Compete
Beadling and Century V each have a team taking the field in the 2014-15 US Youth Soccer National League that opens girls play November 20-23 in Wilson, North Carolina.  The boys open play December 11-14; Century V's U18 boys are PA West Soccer's lone entry.

Click here for the schedule.

The National League features 160 of the top teams from around the country in the U14 to U18 age groups for boys and girls.  Teams earn their spots through results in the Regional Leagues, the National Championship Series, and the previous year's National League.

Since it's inaugural season, teams from the National League have captured 31 of 48 US Youth Soccer National Championships.

Youth Board Notes

October 13, 2014
-Approved the addition of 5 v 5 leagues for the U15-U19 age groups.
-Approved the rule for the 2015 Open Tournament

Region I Champions League Announced; Deadline October 15
Region I has modified its league offerings.  Teams will now compete in one of three divisions of the Region I Champions League.  The new format will begin in spring 2015.  Applications are being accepted.  More

Youth Board Notes
-Approved the Youth Board appointments for 2014-15:  Secretary-George Oliver, Open-Brigid Polliard, Cup-Tim McCoy, Hearings and Appeals-Matt Vidic, and Recreation-Chuck Bauer.
-Approved the 2014-15 Presidents Cup Rules.
-Approved the Standing Committee appointments for 2014-15:  Presidents Cup-Kelly Genard and Thilo Boensch, TopSoccer-Mike Spagnoletti, and State Registrar-Cheryl Mignogna.

Region I Announces League Changes
The Region I Presidents voted to modify the regional leagues.  Region I introduces the Region I Champions League.  The league will have three division with up to 32 teams per division.  Teams will play geographically in brackets of eight.  Rosters won't be frozen and teams will be able to use up to three guest players per game.

Registration for the Champions League is now open through October 15.  For information visit the Region I web site.

Youth Board Notes
August 11, 2014
-Voted to recognize name change from Ohio River Valley to Sewickley Area Soccer.
-Voted to recognize name change from Garfield Gators to Pittsburgh City FC (City FC) Internationals.
-Voted to approve application for affiliation by White Oak Athletic Assn.
-Re-elected Ron Hitchens as Vice Chairman of the Youth Board.

Youth Division Playing Rules
The PA West Soccer Youth Board considered a variety of proposed rules changes between March 1 and June 1.  From 23 proposals, eight were approved.  The changes include the addition of language from a national rule prohibiting the wearing of a uniform or marks associated with a non-US Youth Soccer affiliated organization or amendment of the tryout window for all player eligibility...roster composition requirements for U12 and younger based upon club boundaries...required coaching certification/licensing for U6 an U10 coaches...relegation...promotion...and D3 eligibility.  More

Region I Championships Results

The PA West Soccer State Cup Champions are headed to Rhode Island to represent PA West Soccer at theregional championships.  The winners at the Region I tournament advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Germantown, MD in late July.  Click Here to follow the results.  

National League Qualifications Have Been Updated
US Youth Soccer has new qualifying requirements for teams seeking entry into the 2014-15 National League.  The adjustments reward teams for their success in the regional leagues and championships.  

Guest Players Permitted
PA West Soccer rules permit guest players to be added to game day rosters.  Coaches should add the players to their game day roster before printing it; names written onto a game day roster will not be accepted.  They must also present the player's pass from his/her other team in the club at the time of team check-in.

For instructions on how to add a guest player to the game day roster click here

Printing Game Day Rosters
Click Here for step by step instructions for printing game day rosters.

Youth Sports Organizations Launch Sports Concussion Partnership
A number of the nation’s most prominent youth sports organizations, including US Youth Soccer, announced they will be partnering with concussion specialists, sports medicine professionals and leaders at other levels of sports to create an unprecedented coalition to combat concussions among young athletes.
The National Sports Concussion Coalition expects to be the most comprehensive alliance of its kind, with science and medical leaders in the fields of concussions, brain injury and sports medicine working directly with a cross-section of organizations and governing bodies that represent millions of athletes across major organized sports in the United States.The partnership will complement the safety initiatives of the individual organizations by sharing data and identifying best safety practices that can assist in coaching, playing and officiating across sports.
"US Youth Soccer views sport as a way to build confidence in our youth and provide lessons that will assist them throughout their lives on and off the field," said Jim Cosgrove, executive director of US Youth Soccer. "We hope to play a valuable role on the team of organizations represented in the National Sports Concussion Coalition as we collectively hope to leave a positive imprint on sport."
"Sports have the power to change the lives of millions of young people in this country by encouraging a physically active lifestyle and by teaching lifelong lessons. We want to make sure no child loses that opportunity due to fear of injury," said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. "By coming together in this very important fight against concussions we believe our collective efforts will transcend our individual sports and benefit everyone."
"In my clinical practice and as a team physician, I see first-hand the difference that evidence-based best practices can make in preventing sports-related concussion," said William Dexter, M.D., president of the American College of Sports Medicine and Director of Sports Medicine at Maine Medical Center. "The National Sports Concussion Coalition will help millions of youth athletes participate more safely — a goal that brings together the diverse organizations that make up the coalition."
"The NCAA is committed to broad concussion education outreach, and to research that will identify objective biomarkers and sound management guidelines.  We are excited about our partnership in this important alliance," said Brian Hainline, M.D., chief medical officer of the NCAA.
"As the union that represents professional football players, we have worked extremely hard to ensure our members benefit from the safest work environment possible," said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. "This coalition brings together the right partners to help deliver an equal level of protection for athletes at all levels of sports."

Youth Board Positions And Committees Appointed
The Vice President-Youth Thilo Boensch made for appointments to the Youth Board at the September Youth Board meeting on September 9th.  Chuck Bauer was appointed as the Hearings and Appeals Chair.  Replacing Bauer as the Recreation Director is Matt Vidic.  Brigid Polliard and Tim McCoy were re-appointed as the Open Tournament and State Cup Chairs respectively.

There were several committee chairs also appointed at the meeting Cheryl Mignogna was re-appointed as the State Registrar.  Renamed as chair of the Kohl's American Cup was Chuck Bauer.  Also re-appointed was the TOPSoccer chair Mike Spagnoletti and Mediation Chair Brigid Polliard.  Appointed to co-chair the Region I Presidents Cup Committee was Thilo Boensch and Kelly Genard.  Genard was also named chair of the Membership Committee.  Christine Henderson was named as the Rules Committee Chair. 

Region I Presidents Cup Comes To Western PA
PA West Soccer will host the Region I Presidents Cup in 2014 and 2015.  The Region I Presidents voted at their summer meeting to award the Memorial Day weekend tournament to PA West Soccer.  The annual competition sees its winners advance to the US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup.

Registration Fees For 2013-14 Season
    Player Fees
      In-house/Recreational - 9.50 per player
      Div 4-6 - 14.50 per player (club registering inhouse and travel players with us)
    Team Fees
      Div 4-6 - 25.00 per team

Clubs registering travel teams only; except for clubs joining as travel-only clubs prior to 2012
    Player Fees
      Div 4-6 - 17.50 per player
    Team Fees
      Div 4-6 - 50.00 per team

      Classic U11-U12 (8 v 8) - 350.00
      Div 1-Div 3...U12-U19 - 425.00 (per team if sponsoring 5 or more teams)
      Div 1-Div 3...U12-U19 - 500.00 (per team if sponsoring 2-4 teams)
      Div 1-Div 3...U12-U19 - 600.00 (if sponsoring only 1 team)

All player and team fee payments are due at time of registration with district or division registrar.  Fees are only payable by club check.  Checks must be payable PA West Soccer.

Historical in-house registration numbers will be used to confirm clubs meeting the requirements for lower travel player registration rate

New Rules Set For 2013-2014 Season
-Promotion/relegation to occur after each playing session.
-U12 classic play will be limited to eight (8) games per session.
-Training players are now permitted (registered with a club but not rostered with a team)
-U19 transfer window for classic players has been extended to April 30.
-Players U12 and younger in Divisions 5 and 6 must play at least half of each game.
-Any coach dismissed from two (2) matches in a season will face a hearing a one (1) year suspension.
-Teams in U14 and younger in Divisions 4, 5, and 6 can be formed/combined by two or more clubs.
-Players may play up unless restricted by their club.  (State consent form no longer needed).
-Notification deadline has been shortened by two (2) weeks for clubs sponsoring teams from other clubs.
-Promotion into Division 3 has been automated (removal of recommendation/acceptance).
-Tryouts for teams competing in Divisions 1, 2, and 3 now begin after the completion of the Region I Championships.
-Team declaration deadline for Classic teams (Divisions 1, 2, and 3) has been re-established on March 1 and August 1.

National Club Directory Now Available On US Youth Soccer web site
The new, free national club directory provides 24-hour access to clubs in your area and is a great tool to connect with those looking for soccer clubs, leagues and associations

US Youth Soccer is launching the new service on in an effort to assist those seeking US Youth Soccer programs in their area or maybe an area that they’ll be moving to in the future. 

Leaders don’t delay, be the first to register with and upload your club information today.

How do I add my organization to the directory?

Looking for Tournaments? Check out the US Youth Soccer Tournament Database
Another US Youth Soccer member benefit is the US Youth Soccer National Tournament Database on This database is useful for to find all approved soccer tournaments across the country. To add your tournament, please contact your state association to send notification of your event. 

Heat Safety Tips For Soccer

Get Acclimated…active kids need time to gradually adapt to hotter temperatures
On a schedule, drink up…thirst isn’t an accurate indicator of fluid needs.  Young athletes should be encouraged to drink on a schedule or at regular intervals before they become thirsty.
Always bring a Gatorade…especially during games and practices in the heat, replacing electrolytes and providing energy is crucial to keeping kids safe.

Learn the warning signs of dehydration and heat illness…if someone becomes fatigued, dizzy, nauseous or has a headache during exercise in the heat, have them stop, rest and drink fluids.  Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Young players should be well hydrated…light colored urine well hydrated; dark urine indicates dehydration.

Drink early…even slight dehydration can compromise performance and increase the risk for heat-related illness.
Young players should consume 5 to 9 ounces (5 oz. for a player less than 90 lbs, 9 oz. for a player over 90 lbs.) of fluid every 20 minutes while active.
Sports drinks like Gatorade are preferred to water because research shows a young athlete will drink 90% more and stay better hydrated.

Regardless of thirst, drink every 20 minutes for one hour after activity.

Fluids to Avoid During Practice or Games

Fruit juices, carbonated beverages, caffeinated beverages, energy drinks.
Drinks high in sugar content can slow fluid absorption and cause upset stomach.  Carbonation can reduce voluntary drinking due to stomach fullness.  Caffeinated beverages have a mild diuretic effect and could promote dehydration.  Drinks high in carbohydrates such as energy drinks slow fluid absorption.

Warning Signs of Dehydration

Thirst                            Nausea                         Dry lips and tongue
Headache                      Irritability                       Muscle Cramping
Lack of energy               Red, flushed face           Dizziness
Dark, yellow urine

Be Prepared During Hot Weather

Children should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.  Take breaks in the shade whenever possible.  Always have a phone available and be familiar with emergency numbers.  Keep ice and ice towels on hand in case of heat-related emergencies.

Lightning Safety Guidelines
Lightning is the number one weather hazard for athletic events.  The following guidelines should be used to prevent tragedy from striking your soccer club.

  1. Monitor weather conditions prior to your match.  Know what the weather forecast predicts for your area.
  2. Suspension and resumption of games should be planned for in advance when weather could include lightning.  The coaches and referees should discuss the possibility of lightning prior to kick-off and know what to do should lightning force the suspension or cancellation of the match.
  3. Players and spectators should be advised to use SAFE evacuation sites in the event of lightning.
    1. Enclosed buildings with substantial construction
    2. Fully enclosed metal vehicles with windows up.
    3. Low ground. 
  4. Use the lightning safety motto:  “If you see it, flee it; if you hear it; clear it.” 
  5. If caught by close-in lightning without immediately available SAFE evacuation site…(if you can feel your hair standing on end and/or hear crackling noises)…immediately remove all metal objects, place your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low.
  6. Once a game has been suspended for weather…wait 30 minutes following the last visible lightning striker or thunderclap before returning to the field.
  7. UNSAFE SHELTER AREAS:  Under bleachers, picnic pavilions, grove of trees, small structures in open areas.  Avoid water, Avoid metal objects, Avoid open fields.
  8. People have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to handle.  Apply first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so.  Get emergency help promptly.

Please note:  these are general guidelines and it is recommended you consult your club’s procedures for lightning for specific guidelines when dealing with weather related hazards.

Secured Goals And Safe Field Surface Provide Safe Practice And Games
Players rely on their coaches for just about everything, and that includes safety practice and game fields.  It’s the coaches responsibility to make sure goals are properly anchored and the playing surface is safe, no potholes or sharp objects.  Here are some guidelines for both areas of responsibility.

Goal Post Safety:

  1. Portable goals should always be properly secured and anchored; use only on level playing fields.  Remember spring winds can blow over an unsecured goal in an instant.
  2. Inspect goals for sharp corners and general integrity (strength).
  3. Instruct all players and parents of the potential dangers associated with movable goals.
  4. Forbid any horseplay by players or members of the general public on or around any goal (permit or portable).
  5. Remove nets when goals are not in use.
  6. Portable goals should only be moved by authorized personnel.
  7. Portable goals should be secured in a safe place when not in use.

Field Safety:

  1. Inspect for foreign objects before every practice and game.
  2. Check for potholes, ruts and bumps.
  3. Make sure sprinkler heads are properly seated.
  4. Observe a three-foot restraining line from the touchline.  Remind spectators of this as well.
  5. Notify your club and field owners of unsafe field conditions in writing.
  6. Do not allow participation by your players until noted hazards have been corrected.

PLEASE NOTE:  These guidelines offer a sketch of proper safety practices; please consult your club’s specific guidelines to insure safe and fun practice and game fields.

How to  Pick a Classic Team!
The Classic Division is the highest level of inter-district team play offered by PA West Soccer.  Playing in the Classic Division involves a greater time commitment and, often time, a greater financial commitment to the sport.  One of the questions asked most often is “how do I pick a Classic team for my son or daughter?”

Here are suggested questions that enquiring parents should ask prospective clubs.   It is also important to remember the 3 stages of player development as noted by Bruce Arena, former US Soccer Men’s National Team Coach.   Essentially Bruce states that from 6 to 10 years of age children are in the “turn on” phase, from 10 to 14 years of age in the “technical development” phase and from 14 to 18 years of age in the “competitive learning” phase.  Hence, as parents of an U11 child in the “golden age of motor learning,” finding an environment that prioritizes player development and focuses on teaching excellent soccer technique is paramount.   Furthermore, during the U12 to U14 ages the team coach is often the most important element in this environment.
Recommended Questions:

Q: Does the team/club have a written philosophy?
A: Ideally clubs should have a mission statement that discusses issues such as player development.  If they do not, ask the Director of Coaching or Coach to put down his ideas on player development in writing (i.e., a letter).

Q: Does the club/team offer skill development sessions in addition to normal team practices?
A: Unfortunately the environment for many of our U10 and U11 players is not ideal in terms of technical development.  Hence, players from PA West Soccer, when compared to their counterparts from states like Ohio, Maryland and Eastern Pennsylvania, are a couple of years behind.  Consequently, our players have to play “catch up” and need extra technical coaching.

Q: What is the club/team’s position on roster stability?
A: The club’s goal should be to develop excellent players over the long-term, rather than to recruit for success.

Q: What is the U12 team coach’s philosophy?
A: Bill Beswick (a sports psychologist who works with pro teams in the English EPL) views the coach as the most influential person during the development phase.  So, what is the coach’s position on teaching technique, developing committed players, making soccer fun, fueling soccer “ambitions” and keeping players “hooked?”  Is the coach interested in short-term success (winning now) or is there a commitment to developing players over the long-term who are able to excel? Everything the U12 coach does should be shaped by a commitment to player development.  Players should be able to play multiple positions, should receive intensive technical training, should be indulged to experiment on their individual skills, should not get too much tactical training, should play in tournaments “out of state,” etc.

Q: What are the coach’s credentials?
A: The greatest priority for a U12 coach is playing experience.   This is because it is much easier to teach technique through demonstrations.   Ideally coaches should have collegiate or professional playing experience.  However, we cannot forget that coaches are teachers.  Hence, coaches should be licensed.  The “A” license is the highest available award from the USSF.  However, the “B,” “C” and “National D” also indicate that coaches have shown an ability to coach at a higher level (n. b., USSF licenses at the higher end have a playing requirement…NSCAA Diplomas do not).   Coaching experience is another factor to bear in mind.

Q: Is the coach supportive of team players participating in PA West Soccer player development programs?
A: Does the coach support US Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program?  Can you miss try-outs to attend PA West Soccer player development programs? 

Q: How does the team/club handle player-coach issues?
A: Clubs usually do not give refunds because of their financial commitments.  But what is their approach if the coach fails to prioritize player development?  Will the club intervene?