Belmont Second Soccer Overview
Belmont Second Soccer is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to providing a fun and challenging youth sports experience for the children of Belmont. Each season we have about 570 players in grades K-Second, 55 middle school age referees, and 50 volunteer coaches. Each team practices once during the week and plays a Saturday morning game. Teams are typically about 20-24 players, which divide into two squads for games. Each team typically has one coach, at least one assistant coach, and one team manager. BSS is as much about community building as soccer development and for that reason, players are assigned teams in Kindergarten and stay with the same group and coach each season for three years.
Participation is open to kids in Belmont or who attend school in Belmont, who are five by September 1 and in Kindergarten – Second grade. Registration for fall season begins May 1 and for spring season begins November 15th.
Through soccer, we hope to build kids’ self-esteem, introduce them to the joy of playing on a sports team and to what it means to have good sportsmanship. Along the way, we hope to teach basic soccer skills.
This experience happens primarily through coaches. For example, coaches let kids play games without a lot of coaching from the sidelines; they smile and encourage a lot; they let the ball be the teacher and they let the kids keep track of the score; they set a standard of respect and monitor kids’ emotional safety on the team as carefully as physical safety; and they structure practices creatively with games that teach skills. Successful coaches begin with energetic passion and an understanding of the capabilities and interests of children. BSS supports coaches’ development and requires all coaches to obtain a G coaching license through attendance at a 4-hour Massachusetts Youth Soccer workshop.
Each team plays seven or eight games per season, depending on the total number of teams in that grade. Saturday games are an opportunity for the children to apply and develop their skills in a match situation. Although it is a competitive environment; there are no win/loss records and no league standings. Parents are reminded this is an introductory soccer program and to cheer for both teams. Schedules are posted on the BSS website. Weather related cancellations are posted on the website at 7a.m. Kindergarten and first grades play at Winn Brook. Second grade plays at Chenery or PQ.
In second grade, at least one each season are gender split (the girls play against girls, the boys play against the boys). The BSS second grade coordinator chooses a date and communicates to the coaches. We’re a co-ed league, but we began the gender split games in 2007 after researching other leagues in the state and the U.S and seeing that most organizations split by gender by age 7, following suggested recommendations from Massachusetts Youth Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer. We see that the kids enjoy playing and practicing together and feeling part of the same team, and as coaches and parents, we’re eager to retain that co-ed aspect of play as long as its healthy and appropriate for the majority of the kids. At the same time, we’re aware that some players are more actively ‘in the game’ when they play with players of their same gender. Gender split games give even more kids an opportunity to feel that infectious thrill of being competitively involved in a team’s game. Beginning in third grade, teams split by gender in the Belmont Soccer Association.
BSS Game Specifics
Games are two 25 minute halves, running time, with a 5 minute halftime break.
1st game starts at 8:30, Second game at 9:45,Third game (if there is one) at 11:00.
6 v 6 for 1st and 2nd grade
Kindergarten plays 5 v 5 with no goalies.
Prior to each game, the coach divides the team into two squads of equal ability, each with boys and girls.
Coaches do their best to provide equal playing time for all players.
For 1st and Second grade, coaches use up to 4 goalies per game.
Spectators and coaches stand along the sidelines. We ask that parents and fans avoid standing along the goal line (the field’s base line), even if your child is playing goalie.
Coaches and players’ parents are responsible for goal set up and break-down.
What Players Need
Uniforms consist of a team jersey, black soccer shorts, soccer socks, shin guards and cleats. Each child should bring his own soccer ball to practice. Champions Sports store in Belmont Center carries BSS uniforms or they can be purchased online during registration.
BSS takes pride in its referee development program. Referees are in grades 5-8 and may have refereed in BSS for multiple seasons. They attend a training meeting prior to the season and are paid for each game. Like the players, and many coaches, they are on a learning curve. Some advance quickly while others shy away from the spotlight of controlling a game. Coaches will remind players’ families that the BSS Zero Tolerance Policy applies to everyone present at the field. Two referees are assigned to each game. Referees wear a referee jersey, have a stopwatch for keeping time, and will ask a coach to sign their game card before the game begins.