Frequently Asked Questions (Updated March 2014)

The following list is comprised of questions we hear most from our club members.  When you have additional questions please don't hesitate to contact a member of the GYSA Board.

What is the Gorham Youth Soccer Association?
Who can play?

What is the time commitment and how far do teams travel?
How are teams selected and does everyone make the team?
When there are two teams in an age group, how are the teams divided?
How much does it cost?
How do I register my child?
Are scholarships available?
Who coaches the teams and what are their credentials?
How is playing time determined?
What is the GYSA Challenger Camp and is it mandatory?
Does GYSA offer year round opportunities to play?


What is the Gorham Youth Soccer Association?

Founded in 1995, the Gorham Youth Soccer Association (GYSA) is a non-profit corporation that provides a competitive travel soccer playing experience for children between the ages of eight (U9) and thirteen (U14) who reside in the town of Gorham.  GYSA’s mission is to develop well-balanced, successful individuals in a competitive team environment through instruction of the technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of soccer.  GYSA is run entirely by volunteers and is separate from the Gorham school soccer programs and the Gorham Recreation program.

Who can play?

GYSA is a Soccer Maine member club and primarily competes in Soccer Maine’s Fall Classic League.  The club fields both boys’ and girls’ teams in the U9 through U14 age groups.  In order to play for a GYSA team, a player must reside in the town of Gorham (defined as living at least 50% of the time with a parent or guardian that resides in the town of Gorham).

Age groups for the Fall 2014 season: 

Child's Birth Date Team
8/1/2005 - 7/31/2006 * U9
8/1/2004 - 7/31/2005 U10
8/1/2003 - 7/31/2004 U11
8/1/2002 - 7/31/2003 U12
8/1/2001 - 7/31/2002 U13
8/1/2000 - 7/31/2001 U14

* Children born August 1, 2006 or later who are entering the third 
grade in the Fall of 2014 are also eligible to play for U9 teams

If a player’s birthdate does not fall within the designated age range, but the child was eligible to play with his or her classmates in prior seasons, the player will continue to be eligible to play with his or her classmates in subsequent seasons.

What is the time commitment and how far do teams travel?

Practices start the first week of August with league games typically starting the last weekend in August.  The season ends in either late October or the first week of November, depending upon the age group.  A typical week includes two weeknight practices and games on Saturday, Sunday, or both days.  Soccer Maine league games are played primarily on Sundays, and teams will typically schedule between one and three “friendly” games during the weekend.  Additionally, all teams participate in a Columbus Day tournament, and some teams also participate in a Labor Day tournament.

All players are expected to attend all practices and games.  While most games and tournaments are held within an hour’s drive of Gorham, Soccer Maine league games and friendlies may be scheduled throughout the state (Soccer Maine has club member teams from York to Bangor).  Additionally, statewide playoff bracketing for U12 – U14 teams may result in GYSA teams competing in a playoff bracket hosted anywhere within Soccer Maine's territory.

How are teams selected and does everyone make the team?

Tryouts for U12 – U14 teams are held at Gorham Sports Center in early May.  Tryouts are held over two nights and prospective players are strongly encouraged to attend both tryout sessions.  GYSA has historically fielded a single boys’ and girls’ team in each of these age groups.  Beginning in the Fall of 2013, we began fielding up to two teams in these age groups if there is a sufficient number of players to do so.  While we have gone to great lengths to accommodate as many kids as possible, we do cut players in these age groups.

Player assessments for U9 – U11 teams are held at Gorham Sports Center in early June.  Assessments are held over two nights and prospective players are strongly encouraged to attend both sessions.  Beginning in 2011, GYSA began fielding multiple teams for each gender in the U9 – U11 age groups, subject to (1) there being a sufficient number of interested players to field multiple teams, (2) there being a sufficient number of interested and qualified coaches to coach these teams, and (3) there being sufficient field space availability to accommodate multiple teams.  The decision to field multiple teams (generally not more than two) in these age groups will be made by the GYSA Board on an annual basis based upon all of these factors.  In the event that there are too many players for the number of teams fielded in a given age group, players with the lowest assessment scores will be assessed as Recreation players and assigned to Gorham Recreation teams in the fall.

At both assessment sessions, premier, high school and college coaches and players are utilized to evaluate players (in addition to GYSA coaches) to ensure that a full and impartial assessment of each player is developed.  

When there are two teams in an age group, how are the teams divided?

If player numbers permit, GYSA will field up to two teams per gender in an age group.  For the U9 – U11 age groups, the fielding of “balanced” teams is a Soccer Maine requirement.  Teams will be “re-balanced” each year through the player assessment process.

In order to promote player development and provide a positive playing experience to the maximum number of players, GYSA’s policy is to field balanced teams at the U12 age group as well.

With larger roster sizes beginning at U13, GYSA will generally not field more than one team for the U13 and U14 age groups.  In the instances when two teams are fielded in these age groups, players will be assigned to a team with players of like ability level. 

For more information on GYSA’s policy on team formation, see the U9-U12 “Balanced Roster” Policy letter to club members on the Documents page.

How much does it cost?

The cost for a single player for the 2014 fall season is unchanged from 2012 and 2013, at $185 per player.  For families with multiple children participating, family discounts apply, and our multi-player pricing has been reduced from 2013 levels.  The second player in a family now costs $125, and the third player $100.  

All players are also required to purchase a uniform kit, which includes two game jerseys, shorts and game socks.  Players can use their uniform kit for multiple seasons at their discretion, and the purchase of a new kit each year is not required.  The cost of a full kit is $40.  The kit is free for all players who are participating in their first year with GYSA.

Player uniforms are ordered on the club’s Uniform Night, which is held in mid-June.  Players may also purchase GYSA jackets (cost of $60) and GYSA backpacks (cost of $28) at Uniform Night.

In addition to their uniform, players are responsible for purchasing and bringing to every practice and game their own ball, shin guards, a mouth guard and a water bottle.  Please note that any player who does not bring a mouth guard to a practice or game will not be allowed to participate.  Also, the cost for participation in a Labor Day tournament (which is determined at each team’s coach’s discretion) is not included in the base GYSA player fee.

How do I register my child?

Registration for all age groups (U9 – U14) for the Fall 2014 season opened March 26th.  Registration for U12 - U14 players will close on May 4th.  Registration for U9 - U11 players will close on May 31st.  Players will register through the registration link on the Player Registration page on that date.  See the Player Registration page for more information on the registration process.

Are scholarships available?

The GYSA board approves a limited number of player scholarships each year.  Both full and partial scholarships are available, based on need and the number of applicants.  The scholarship application is included on the Player Registration page, and must be submitted prior to player assessments or tryouts.  Assessors at assessments and tryouts are not part of the scholarship approval process in order to ensure that team selection is made entirely independently from the scholarship process.

Who coaches the teams and what are their credentials?

GYSA coaches are all volunteers who contribute dozens of hours of their time over the course of the year.  Most coaches have a son or daughter playing on the team that they coach.  All GYSA coaches are required to have completed a “Youth Module” coaching course through Soccer Maine, and all U11 – U14 coaches are required to have received their USSF E-License.  Several coaches in the club have also received their D-License.

GYSA has been one of the largest and most successful clubs in Maine in developing competitive U12 – U14 teams, and ultimately in developing highly successful high school and college soccer players.  Our well-trained and dedicated coaches have been a major factor in this success.  If you are interested in coaching, contact GYSA’s Coaching Director (see the Board page for contact information).

In addition to GYSA coaches, each team will receive regular training time with premier level club trainers who hold advanced certification.  This training will further promote skill development and the understanding of essential game fundamentals.

How is playing time determined?

Soccer Maine rules require that all players in non-competitive age groups (U9 – U11) play at least 50% of the time.  There are no Soccer Maine requirements for competitive (U12 – U14) age groups, and GYSA provides its U12 – U14 coaches with considerable latitude in determining playing time.  Most coaches provide parents with their playing time policy prior to the season in order to manage expectations.

What is the GYSA Challenger Camp and is it mandatory?

For the past several years Challenger’s British Soccer Camps have run a one-week camp exclusively for GYSA players.  In 2014 the camp runs from August 11 – 15.  Camp for U9 - U12 aged players will be held at Little Falls Rec from 9:00 – 4:00 each day, while a separate camp for U13 - U14 aged players will be held at the Great Falls School fields from 9:30 - 4:30 each day.  The Challenger Camp is staffed exclusively by qualified coaches from Great Britain who provide our players with age-appropriate, high-level soccer training.  Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, and a daily tournament.

Challenger Camp is not mandatory.  However, Challenger designs their program so that individual GYSA teams will receive individualized coaching if more than 80% of the team participates in the camp.  In addition to providing a comprehensive early-season training experience, this provides our players with a great opportunity to develop team camaraderie and also have a great week of fun.  More than 200 GYSA players participated in our 2013 camp, which was the largest Challenger camp held in the Northeast.

Does GYSA offer year round opportunities to play?

While the major focus of the GYSA practice and play season is in the fall, the club does promote other opportunities for year round play.  Many GYSA coaches organize teams that compete in the Gorham Sports Center indoor winter league.  In addition, GYSA solicits interested players who wish to compete in Soccer Maine’s Spring Pine Tree League.  These opportunities as well as informal summer games allow our players to get continuous exposure to the game and the skills needed throughout the year.