Travel Player Assessments
Player Assessments for Fall '23/Spring '24 Seasons
The travel assessments for the next league year (Fall 23/Spring 24) are likely to take place the week of June 12-18, 2023. Please watch here and in your email for more details. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Girls' Travel Director or the Boys' Travel Director.
Travel Assessment FAQs:
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. In JP Youth Soccer, every child who is registered by the registration deadline each season will be placed on a team, and the assessment is one factor used to build and balance those teams.
Why do we have assessments?
We want to support kids building a love of the game, learning good soccer, practicing good sporting behavior, having fun, and being challenged to grow. In the travel leagues, one approach we take to meet these goals is to make teams of players who will play well together and who are at a similar place in their soccer technical development. Each season, maybe even 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 other soccer activities. The Travel Director, coaches, and other JPYS representatives will observe the players, and will engage in discussions over the summer to determine how best to construct the teams.
Who conducts the assessments?
The assessments are run by the Boys or Girls Travel Director, with the coaches of the teams for the age group being assessed and possibly other JPYS representatives doing the observations. Depending on which players and coaches can attend the assessments, input may also be sought from players' coaches from the previous Fall and Spring Season.
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 (e.g., Grade 4) or two grades together (e.g., 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 the field?” In the assessment of a player, four components of soccer development are considered:
Technical ability (individual footwork, ball control, 1v1 attacking and defending, first touch, shooting)
Tactical ability (ball movement, creating and using space, positional awareness, team defending, more complex tactics with older ages)
Mental ability (focus/concentration, decision-making, communication with teammates, confidence)
Fitness (speed, agility, strength, endurance)
The assessment of each player is oriented toward technical ability above all else, but the other components become more important as the players get older.
What is meant by “technical ability”?
A technical player is skilled with the ball, having excellent touch, precise control, capable of a fast 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.
What about goalkeepers?
All players attend the same assessment based on the same criteria, which does not include goalkeeping. JPYS does not encourage specialization as a goalkeeper within the program or conduct any specialized goalkeeper training (though it may include some basic goalkeeper orientation for all players). There are no separate assessments for players who are interested in goalkeeping.
How is the assessment used to assign players to teams?
This depends, in part, 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 that compete in the Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) League, to place them in a division against teams at a similar skill level. While there will always be a range of ability on any given team, the goal is for that range to be as narrow as possible.
The reality is that sometimes a particular age group may only have one team, in which case the assessments are not used to place players on different teams (because there is only one team). Other considerations may include the size of a given age/gender cohort, the distribution of players across the grade levels of the cohort, available volunteer coaches, and game day travel needs. While the assessment remains the primary tool in our tool belt for building teams each season, it is not the only one.
While we get many requests for placement on teams with friends, JPYS generally does not take friend requests into account when placing players on teams. This is for several reasons, but two of the most important are that (1) a player's soccer development is the primary concern in team placement, and (2) part of the joy of soccer is getting to play with many different people, from different backgrounds and different parts of the city, and growing together as a soccer community.
Is a player’s Fall placement permanent?
The presumption is that a player will stay with the same team through a whole season, and most of the time will play with the same team (or a very similar team) for both Fall and Spring. Players will not switch teams mid-season unless there is a significant reason to do so. There is a more significant likelihood of switching teams from the Fall to the Spring season, however, as players will frequently come in and out of JPYS due to other obligations or activities, and that will require rearranging the composition of some teams, or occasionally adding or subtracting an entire team from an age group.
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 point 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 player. But if possible, it is always better if the player is able to attend an assessment.