Middle School Soccer Association
The purpose of the Association is to provide middle school aged players the opportunity to continue to play the game, on a recreational level. The objective is to have fun.
The Association was originally formed in the 1980's to provide a place for kids to play who were too old to play in their local leagues. Most leagues were offering programs for kids up to the age of 12, about the age at which they enter middle school. Few, if any, leagues had enough players to establish either a U13 or U14 Division within their own league. Consequently, this association was created to provide that opportunity. All teams playing in the Associaiton must be affiliated with the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association (OSYSA). Teams, or leagues, that are not affiliated with OSYSA may do so through any league that is.
MSSA is a recreational program comprised of teams from throughout central Ohio. MSSA is NOT a "league", per se. The Association does not register individual players. Players register in their local, community leagues. The local league then registers teams in the Association. Communities that participate range geographically from London to Newark and Delaware to Circleville. The preponderance of teams are from Columbus, Dublin, Gahanna, New Albany, Newark, Pickerington, Westerville, and Worthington.
Teams may be comprised of players in 6th, 7th or 8th grades. Players are NOT allowed to play on both a select (or club) team and an MSSA team during the same season. Players who are in high school may not play in the association, regardless of their age. Some teams use the association as a training opportunity for players interested in playing high school soccer. Most teams participate for the fun of it.
The use of the term "Middle School" is somewhat misleading in that teams are not supported, nor sponsored, by the middle school they attend. Rather, the term is used to describe the organizational element of the teams; namely, middle school age players. If a team is "sponsored" by the middle school they attend, and the middle school is affiliated with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA); that team, and it's players, must abide by the rules governing OHSAA.
MSSA is considered a recreational program in that anyone wishing to play must be placed on a team; provided that a sufficient number of players are available to form a team, a coach can be secured, and space is available on the roster. Placement of players may not be made on the basis of a tryout process. As a recreational program, players should be given equal playing time. At worst, each player should play at least half of each game.
Teams play a 10-game, Regular Season Schedule (5 Home and 5 Away) with two games per week: one weeknight (usually Wednesday or Thursday) and one weekend (usually Saturday morning). A tournament is held at the end of each season.
Sportsmanship and Fairplay
As indicated above, the purpose of the Association is to have fun. Behavior to the contrary only creates an unpleasant experience for everyone else. It should not be tolerated by participating leagues/teams. While everyone wants to win the game, that should not be the primary reason for playing it. As adults, it is our responsibility to instill a spirit of sportsmanship and fairplay in our players and parents. That goal cannot be achieved if we allow players, spectators, or our coaches to behave in a manner contrary to that. We encourage everyone to be diligent in our efforts to create an atmosphere in which everyone can have fun and an enjoy the game.
Association Administrator - The Columbus East Soccer Association (CESA) serves as the Association Administrator. League Coordinator - Generally, each league assigns an individual to coordinate all of the necessary activities for all of the league's teams that participate in the program. Team Administrator - Usually, the team coach; or, if lucky, another team parent. Divisions - There are generally 80-90 teams in the Association. Teams are organized into separate Co-Ed and Girls Divisions. Co-Ed teams may be comprised of both male and female players. However, most co-ed teams consist of only male players.
Conferences - Each division is organized by "conferences", based on the teams developmental level (A, B, C, etc.). League Coordinators' declare in which conference their teams should be placed. Given the uncertainty of such an exercise, teams may be declared as A, A/B, D, C/D, etc.. Teams are reassigned conference placement for the season-ending tournament, based on season results. Consequently, if a team gets misplaced for the regular season play, they should be more properly aligned for the tournament.
Organizational Meetings are conducted prior to the start of each season. All participants from the previous season are notified of the date, time and location of each meeting. While any association participant may attended these meetings; generally, the League Coordinators attend, so it is not necessary that coaches or team administrators attend.
Participants are encouraged to become familiar with the Association's Rules. It is also suggested that they carry them to games in the event questions arise during the course of a match. A set of Rules is distributed to all participants prior to the start of each season. The rules were originally established, and are amended from time to time, at the Association's Organizational Meetings. The Association Administrator, CESA, does not establish, nor amend the rules, but is responsible for their enforcement. Participants are advised of any changes when the rules are distributed.
Association fees vary from season-to-season, depending how much money is carried over from the previous season. Typically, fees are $200-$250 per team and are paid by the sponsoring League. Fees cover the cost of the tournament, a tournament tee shirt for each player, and an administration fee to CESA.
As the Association Administrator, CESA schedules the regular season games and the tournament. Regular season schedules include only the team's opponent and date of the game. The Home Team is responsible for scheduling the fields and referees and for paying the referees. The League Coordinator generally handles this responsibility and conveys that information to each Team Administrator. The Home Team Administrator is responsible for communicating that information to the Visiting Team Administrator.
While the basic objective is to schedule games among teams within the same conference, a high priority for the weeknight games is an attempt to minimize travel time. Frequently, this results in games being scheduled between teams from different conferences. The value of this approach, besides minimizing travel, is to provide a broader spectrum of data to use when scheduling the tournament. In other words, if we are not sure a team is a B team or a C team, we place them in the B/C Conference. We then schedule that team to play against other B/C teams as well as one or two B teams and one or two C teams. The week night game typically provides that opportunity.
End of Season Tournament
A round-robin tournament is held at the end of each season. Teams typically play 3 Preliminary Round games within their Division Group. The team with the most points at the conclusion of the round-robin, advances to the finals to play the winner of the other Division Group. The first round games are played at one of the paired team's fields. The second and third round games, as well as the finals, are played at a common site. Due to the number of teams involved, there are usually 5-6 tournament sites.
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