Evaluations are done once a year at the end of the spring season to determine the proper placement of players onto teams for the subsequent fall season who will be playing in the Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League (NVYSL) at the Grade 3/4, Grade 5/6 and Grade 7/8 levels. The GDYSC does not conduct evaluations for the PreK/K and Grade 1/2 players because these are non-competitive programs run exclusively by the GDYSC. We also do not conduct evaluations for the Grade 9/10 or Grade 11/12 program because we normally only have enough players to field one team at each of those grade levels.
The Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League (NVYSL) is a league made up of about 25 towns in Central Massachusetts. At the Grade 3/4 level, the league tiers play into 4 levels (Rec 1, Rec 2, Rec 3 and Rec 4). Rec 1 level play is made up of teams that are very competitive, Rec 2 level teams are competitive, Rec 3 level teams are moderately competitive and Rec 4 level teams are typically made up of beginners or players looking for a purely recreational program. At the Grade 5/6, Grade 7/8, Grade 9/10 and Grade 11/12 levels, the league tiers play into three different levels, MTOC Division 1, MTOC Division 2 and Rec. The MTOC Division 1 and Division 2 levels of play are the most competitive and teams that play at that level compete in the spring to qualify for the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions which is a statewide tournament which ultimately determines the best town team in the state at that age level and gender. Because of the multiple levels of play within the NVYSL, we as a club need to construct teams that compete at these different levels. The GDYSC age group coordinators, with assistance from the GDYSC board, use all of the information available to them from the evaluation days and the coaches evaluations from the previous season(s) to properly rank all of our players before assembling them into teams for placement into the NVYSL for the fall and spring seasons. Since the league tiers play, we must also tier our teams and construct them based on the relative abilities of the players that we place on them.
Eligibility for the different Grade levels is based almost entirely on school grade with some occasional exceptions for age eligibility. Age waivers for PreK/K and Grade 1/2 players are done by the GDYSC board while age waivers for Grade 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12 players must be pre-approved by the NVYSL registrar as part of the team roster submission process. If players are age eligible for a different Grade grouping than their current school grade would naturally qualify them for, we can get a waiver from the Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League which will allow them to play with children of the same birth year eligibility.
The Grade 9/10 and 11/12 grade groups are combined into a single HS age group in the fall by the NVYSL, but are segmented into Grade 9/10 and Grade 11/12 in the spring season.
Evaluations and Team Placements
The purpose of the evaluation process that we conduct as part of the GDYSC is to determine the relative skill, aggressiveness, awareness, field sense, athleticism and team vs. individual orientation of all of the players that will be playing in the the different grade levels. We use the information gathered from these evaluations to properly place players onto teams at the appropriate level of play based on their current stage of development. To determine where the players should be placed, we normally have 10-12 GDYSC coaches and 3-4 external professional coaches evaluating all of the players in game situations for about two hours. Typically, on the first night of evaluations, we separate the players into random teams and each player on each team will be given a numbered pinnie to wear and each team will rotate through 4 different 30 minute scrimmages with other teams of players in different color pinnies. 3-4 evaluators are stationed at every scrimmage field and rate players from 1-5 (1-low, 5-high) in terms of the previously described criteria and as compared to the other players they are evaluating. All evaluators have a chance to see every player because of the way we rotate all teams through every scrimmage field. At the end of the evaluations, the evaluators hand in their scores for all of the players that have been evaluated and the age group coordinators average the scores for each player from all of the evaluators and come up with a ranking for all of the players. For the Grade 3/4 evaluations, there is only one evening of evaluations, so after the one evaluation session, the age group coordinators are able to complete the player ranking process. For the Grade 5/6 and Grade 7/8 age groups, we now conduct a second evaluation session in which we segment the players by relative strength and ability and have them spend the entire two hour session scrimmaging against other players of similar ability so that we can refine our rankings and ensure that we are able to place players on the correct teams for the fall (and spring) seasons. For the Grade 5/6 and Grade 7/8 age groups, the coordinators then take the input from the second session and compile their final rankings which will be used as one input to inform the team placement for the fall.
In addition to the rankings from the evaluation days, the age group coordinators also rely on coaches evaluations that are submitted by every coach at the end of every season to their respective age group coordinator and these evaluations are factored into the final placement of the players. We as a board try very hard to place players correctly, but without data, it is hard to make relative comparisons, which can invariably lead to incorrect placements, disgruntled parents and disappointed kids. So, it is important to bring your children to evaluations so that they can be properly evaluated against the other players in their age level/gender.
What to Wear
For the evaluation sessions, all players should wear full soccer gear which includes cleats, soccer shorts, a t-shirt and shin guards. They do not have to wear their GDYSC uniform, but they should wear equivalent apparel. They should also bring the proper size ball with them (size 4 for Grade 3/4 and 5/6 players and size 5 for Grade 7/8 and above) and plenty of water since they will be playing for about 2 hours. Also, children should be encouraged to do their best, but do not put too much pressure on them. For many, this will be the first time that they have gone through a process like this and it can be a little intimidating. Players play their best when they are focused, but relaxed, so putting too much pressure on your sons or daughters before the evaluations is not helpful. You should be encouraging them to have fun and do their best.
If you have any questions about the evaluation or team placement process, please reach out to the GDYSC board. Thank you.