Player Assessment FAQs

** Due to the COVID-19 situation, JPYS will not conduct player assessments in Spring 2020 **

Is an assessment just another name for a tryout?

No. A tryout is where players are vying for a spot on a team or teams with a set number of places. The player either makes the team or not. An assessment is similar to a tryout in that players’ skills are assessed, but the assessment is used to inform which team the player will be placed on. With an assessment, every child who wants to play travel soccer will be placed on a team. In JP Youth Soccer, every child who is registered by the registration deadline each season will be placed on a team.

Why do we have assessments?

We want to support kids building a love of the game, learning good soccer, good sporting behavior, having fun and being challenged to grow, among other things. In the travel leagues, one approach we are taking to meet these goals is make teams of players who will play well together and who are in a similar place in their soccer technical development. Each season, probably each month, kids grow and develop in different ways. The assessments give the coaches a chance to see everyone playing together, which is the best tool we have to figure out how to group kids into teams that will meet our goals.

When do assessments happen?

Assessments for the upcoming Fall and Spring seasons are held at the end of the prior Spring season, typically around the time of the last game of the season in early or mid June.

What happens at the assessment?

An assessment is conducted much like a regular soccer practice. Players will participate in small-sided games and possibly some drills.

Who conducts the assessments?

Coaches of the teams for the players’ age group and the Travel Director (there is a Girls Travel Director and a Boys Travel Director).

How are the players assessed?

Players are assessed in comparison to all of the players participating in the assessment for their age group. Age groups can be either single grade (ex., Grade 4) two grades together (ex., Grades 7 and 8). Players are rated on an assessment scale that accounts for a holistic evaluation of a player’s ability. It is meant to answer the question: “How does a player perform on field?” (in both “drills” and game-like activities). Although in the assessment of a player all four components of soccer development should be considered (technical, tactical, fitness/physical, and mentality), the assessment of each player is oriented toward technical ability above all else.

What is meant by “technical ability”?

A technical player is skilled with the ball, having excellent touch, precise control, a fast work-rate of touches on the ball, and is able to use all surfaces of both feet as well as other parts of the body to manipulate the ball.

How is the assessment used to place my child on a team?

This can depend on the number of players signed up to play in a given age group. Our goal as a program is to place players on teams with players of similar technical ability and for those teams to compete in a division in Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) against teams at a similar skill level. And while there will likely be a range of ability on a given team, the goal is for that range to be as narrow as possible.

The reality is that sometimes a particular age group will only have one team, in which case the assessments are not used to place players on different teams (because there is only one team). And age cohorts may have their own considerations with regard to cohort size, distribution of players across the grade levels of the cohort, available volunteer coaches, game day travel needs, etc. While the assessment remains the primary tool in our toolbelt for making teams each season, it is not the only one.

Is my child’s fall placement permanent?

Not necessarily, but we typically try to avoid making changes before the spring season.

Is the spring assessment the only measure used to create teams?

No, but we do encourage everyone to attend an assessment if possible. The assessments are the best time for us to have a larger group of coaches assess the skill levels of the all the players together, which does not happen at other points in the season. We also know that not everyone is able to attend the assessments, and some people sign up for the league after the assessments happen. For those players, we will do our best to figure out an appropriate team for that child. But if possible, it is always better if the player is able to attend an assessment.