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FAQs-Skills

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SKILLS ASSESSMENT

WSA has a tight schedule to organize the league.  There is no make-up date for children who are unable to participate on the designated Skills Assessment date for the season.  Since WSA must limit enrollment due to field space and volunteer resources (e.g. coaches), children who do not participate in the Skills Assessment may not be placed on a team.    If you cannot re-arrange your schedule or make other arrangements for your child to participate on the scheduled Skills Assessment date, we recommend you do not register your child in our league to avoid disappointing them. 

WSA realizes that there will always be illnesses and emergencies that come up which prevent children from participating in a Skills Assessment session.  While we were sympathetic and accommodating in the past, many parents have abused the "personal/family emergency" among other excusesWSA received complaints from parents who informed us that some parents were less than honest when using the illness and emergency excuse.  This placed WSA in an awkward position because children (whose parents did not provide an excuse) were not included in the program while other children were kept in the program because their parent provided what appeared to be a legitimate excuse.  It only takes a few to ruin it for everyone else and since WSA has no way of validating a legitimate excuse, we do not want to be in a position where we have to make a judgment.  WSA also received complaints from coaches and parents that our leniency (by making exceptions) compromised the integrity of the team-balancing. 

If a child has never participated in a Skills Assessment session (i.e. WSA does not have a score from a previous season), they will not be assigned to a team.  Children must be assessed with other children in the age group; WSA cannot conduct an assessment of a child on their own.  Based on our experience, parents' and coaches' assessment of players' skill levels have not always been objective or accurate so it is not used for skills assessment.  

The Board's policy is that a refund will not be issued to those who do not participate in the mandatory Skills Assessment--this applies to new and returning participants, regardless of how long they have participated in WSA programs over the years.    This is to avoid the "no shows" who deprive children from the Wait List an opportunity to take their spot.  WSA cannot conduct Skills Assessment for an individual child; children must be assessed in a group of no less than 6 participants.

Exceptions may be reviewed by the Board on a case-by-case basis.  One factor that will be taken into consideration is whether the child's parents are active volunteers, who have made a commitment toward helping with the operation of the league during past seasons.  Being a Team Parent and providing snacks or hosting parties for the team do not qualify.  Volunteer tasks such as coaching, refereeing, field set up/lining, and administrative assistance (e.g. registration, etc.) are examples of tasks that must be done to operate the league every season.   Volunteers must be in good standing in order for requests for exceptions to be considered.

Important Note:  When WSA program enrollment must be limited, the WSA Board feels it would be unfair to randomly remove children who participated in a Skills Assessment session, to exempt those who were unable to participate due to illness, emergency or exception.

You may sign up for a Skills Assessment time during any Registration opportunity.  Sessions are conducted by age group so the session times will vary based on your child’s age group.  WSA has a tight schedule to organize the league and there is no make-up date for children who are unable to participate on the designated Skills Assessment date for the season.  WSA cannot conduct Skills Assessment for one individual and there must be a minimum of six children per session. Please ensure you check your calendar before signing up for a session for your child because it may be difficult to reschedule it after registration is closed.  Please visit the Contacts page to inform WSA if your child will not be available to participate in the skills assessment time they were scheduled to attend.

WSA is not obligated or responsible for sending any reminders regarding Skills Assessment appointments.   If you forget the time your child is scheduled, the Skills Assessment schedule will be published on our website by noon on the Friday prior to Skills Assessment.  It is the responsibility of  parents/guardians to ensure the child keeps their appointment time and wears the mandatory safety equipment:  soccer cleats and shin guards.  

It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure their child arrives at the check in desk 10 minutes PRIOR to their skills assessment start time.   If the child is not wearing the mandatory safety equipment—shin guards covered by socks and soccer cleats—they will not be permitted to participate in the skills assessment.  Shin guards and soccer cleats are mandatory safety equipment for all soccer activities.  This is mandated by the Florida Youth Soccer Association and US Youth Soccer.

If you do not wish your child’s information to be included in the Skills Assessment schedule on our website, please contact WSA no later than 48 hours after registration. 

Participants must arrive 10 minutes prior to their session time to check in and warm up.  Sessions are approximately 15 minutes are run on time.  If a child is late there may not be sufficient time to assess their skill level.  Sessions are conducted by age group so children must participate in the session they signed up for at registration.  WSA cannot conduct Skills Assessment for one individual and there must be a minimum of six children per session.  There is no make-up opportunity for children to be assessed and children cannot participate in other age group sessions.

Children who arrive late for their session and cannot be properly assessed, will not be assigned to a team.  Parents will receive a refund minus an administrative fee. 

Participants must arrive at the check-in station 10 minutes prior to their session START time to check in and warm up.  Sessions are approximately 15 minutes are run on time.  If a child is late there may not be sufficient time to assess their skill level.  Sessions are conducted by age group so children must participate in the session they signed up for at registration.  WSA cannot conduct Skills Assessment for one individual and there must be a minimum of six children per session.  There is no make-up opportunity for children to be assessed and children cannot participate in other age group sessions.  Children who arrive late for their session and cannot be properly assessed, will not be assigned to a team.  

Since children develop and learn at different rates, we cannot predict the rate of improvement by the end of the season.  Some players improve significantly, some a little, some none at all.  Prior to the end of each season, all U7-U14 participants are assessed during a game (by WSA's Skills Assessment team).  If a child did not participate in that game, or their assessment score varies significantly from the coaches and/or the beginning of the season, the participant will be required to participant in a skills assessment session the next season they register. 

WSA must manage enrollment to reduce the overflow parking onto neighboring communities surrounding the park.  This means limiting the number of participants on a team.  Exceptions will not be made for returning participants to be exempt from the mandatory skills assessment.  Coaches' or parents' assessment of the participant will not be used to allow a returning participant to be exempt from skills assessment.   WSA realizes that illnesses and emergencies may prevent a child from participating in a mandatory skills assessment.  However, if there is limited enrollment in an age group, the WSA Board feels it would be unfair to randomly remove a child who participated in the mandatory skills assessment in order to make an exception for a returning participant to be placed on a team (unless the participant's parent is needed as a Coach).  When possible, children who did not participate in the skills assessment for their age group, may be offered a spot on a team in an older age group (providing there is room available in that age group).  Children cannot play down an age group.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PARTICIPATION

The U5-U14 season is approximately 10 weeks—this could change from season to season depending on holidays and other events.  The spring season begins in March and ends with the last Saturday game played one week prior to the Memorial Day weekend.  The fall season begins in September and ends with the last game played the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  The MiniWee program is a five-week program with sessions held on Saturdays only; it begins several weeks after, and ends one week before, the U5-U14 programs. 

Specific dates for programs will be published on our website each season along with the registration dates and times.  No refunds will be made for cancellations due to inclement weather, illnesses, injuries or other circumstances beyond our control (e.g. scheduling issues, personality conflicts, etc.). 

Due to the up-front costs related to facilities, fields, equipment, uniforms, administration and insurance, etc., once a player is registered, no refunds will be issued after the refund deadline published on the website and payment made for one season cannot be credited/applied to another.

Most teams play either Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon, depending on the number of teams per age group and the field space availability.  In fall seasons, the U14 teams may play on a week night--at a lit facility--if there is not sufficient field space within Westchase for games to be scheduled on Saturdays.  

If you have transportation or scheduling issues that may prevent your child from participating in games, as a courtesy to the coaches and team, it is recommended that you do not register your child in the league.   This includes parents who register multiple children in our programs.  The game schedules are created using a software program so there is always the possibility that all siblings will have games at the same time and they may be held at two different locations--we are unable to accommodate requests to adjust the schedule or for children to switch teams to resolve scheduling conflicts.  If you are a single parent or a family where one parent may not be available on game days, we recommend you do not register multiple children (who are in different age groups) in our programs to avoid disappointment due to scheduling conflicts.  MiniWee participants do not play games and do not have practices.  They have instructional sessions on Saturdays. 

Due to the up-front costs related to facilities, fields, equipment, uniforms, administration and insurance, etc., once a player is registered, no refunds will be issued after the refund deadline published on the website and payment made for one season cannot be credited/applied to another.

The Florida Youth Soccer Association and US Youth Soccer have changed the age group cutoff date to be consistent with soccer leagues across the country and for teams participating internationally.   The change to calendar year age groups will reflect the calendar year, or Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.  This means participants will remain in the same age group for both the spring and fall seasons in the current year. 

To be in line with the other 208 countries that register youth players by their year of birth. The change will also make it easier for American club teams to play internationally. Age groups in other FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) nations are determined by the year in which a player is born (i.e. calendar year).

US Youth Soccer programs will change to Calendar Year beginning with the 2016-2017 season. U.S. Soccer has mandated that all play move to the Calendar Year by August 2017.

No, due to the size of our league, all our teams are co-ed. 

Due to limited field space, games and practice locations may not be determined until the season begins.  Please visit the Fields page for the location of games and practices.  We cannot guarantee that all games or practices will be held in the Westchase community because we are dependent on the Hillsborough County Parks & Rec. Department for field space and field space is extremely limited.  No refunds will be made for cancellations due to inclement weather, illnesses, injuries, scheduling conflicts or other circumstances beyond our control.

Our goal is to provide a safe, structured and fair environment in which young players can have FUN and enjoy playing and learning the game of soccer. There are no win/lose records kept during the season. Coaches are required to play all players 50% of each game during the season, providing the player participates in all practices. 

In order to participate in games, children MUST:

  • Wear the WSA league-issued uniform (including the shorts and socks issued by WSA this season)
  • Wear soccer cleats and shin guards (which must be entirely covered by socks). 
  • Participate in the team's practices.

In order to guarantee 50% playing time for participants, WSA may have to limit enrollment in its programs based on the volunteer resources available.

Every U5-U14 participant must have a soccer ball of their own to bring to every practice.  We recommend you write the name on the soccer ball in case it’s left at the field after a practice or a game.  You should only buy a proper type soccer ball not a toy ball.  Refer to the chart below to purchase the correct size ball based on your child's age division:

Age Group

Ball Size

U5, U6, U7, U8

Size 3 ball

U10, U12

Size 4 ball

U14

Size 5 ball

MiniWee participants will receive a size 3 ball, which will be distributed by the team's MiniWee Assistant, at their first MiniWee session.

EVERY youth soccer player is REQUIRED to wear shin guards to every practice and game for leg protection from accidental kicks--no exceptions. You can purchase shin guards in the sports department of most local major retail department stores.  Shin guards must be:
  1. Covered entirely by the player's socks.
  2. Made of a suitable material (rubber, plastic, or similar substances).
  3. Worn to provide a reasonable degree of protection.

Outdoor soccer cleats are required.  The studs on the bottom of the cleats help players make quick twists and turns and provide traction, especially during wet conditions.  Children can NOT wear football, baseball cleats or any other style of shoe where the cleats protrude out from the sides or front. 

Parents take turns providing snacks and drinks for players and may be required to contribute toward an end-of-season party for the team and coach/assistant appreciation gifts.  It is recommended that parents purchase black shorts and black soccer socks for MiniWee participants.

You should hear from your child's coach the Monday prior to the first Practice Saturday or MiniWee session.  If you do not hear from a coach, you may find out your child’s team assignment and the coach’s contact information by visiting our website.  Team assignments, team schedules and a coaches list will be published on our website by the Wednesday prior to the first Saturday Practice or MiniWee session.  If a parent does not wish their child’s team assignment to be published on our website, they must inform WSA no later than 48 hours after registration.  Do not email us for coaching information, team assignments or schedules—please check your spam folder(s) and the website for this information.  We encourage parents to ensure our domain westchasesoccer.org is added to your “Safe Senders” list so you do not miss important information. 

Participants may play and practice ONLY with their assigned team—this is an insurance requirement.  Requests to switch players to another team will not be honored and coaches do not have the authority to trade/switch players, so please do not ask. 

WSA and its coaches recognize the fact that players have other interests, talents, and commitments. Coaches are committed to making practice sessions as consistent and pre-scheduled as possible. This should allow enough flexibility to afford players the opportunity to pursue other interests.  However, if your child is already enrolled in other activities that may conflict with soccer practices, we recommend that you do not register your child in our league as practice schedules will be determined by the volunteer coaches based on their own personal schedules. Requests to switch to another team, or refunds, due to conflicts or transportation issues, will not be honored

No refunds will be made for cancellations due to inclement weather, illnesses, injuries or other circumstances beyond our control. Due to the up-front costs related to facilities, fields, equipment, uniforms, administration and insurance, etc., once a player is registered, no refunds will be issued after the refund deadline published on the website and payment made for one season cannot be credited/applied to another.

  • Shin guards and outdoor soccer cleats are mandatory!  Participants will not be allowed to practice or play in a game or MiniWee session without them.  This is for the safety of the participants.
  • Participants in the U5 - U14 age groups will be given a complete uniform kit (home and away jerseys, shorts and socks).  Players are required to bring both jerseys (home/away) to EVERY game—this way if one team is short on players, teams can share players.   Players MUST wear the full uniform kit issued by WSA this season and cannot wear uniforms from past seasons or shorts and socks of their choice.  This will be strictly enforced.  Uniform sizes are final once the uniform order has been placed.  In order to keep the costs downs, WSA does not order extra uniforms so we cannot accommodate requests to change uniform sizes.  It is important for parents to size their child at registration for a new uniform.  
  • MiniWee participants will receive a team jersey.  Parents should purchase black shorts and black socks for the participant to wear during sessions.
  • Children may wear comfortable clothing of their choice during practices.  However, shin guards must still be covered entirely by socks.
  • Soccer cleats must be flat soled or having molded rubber or plastic cleats. Metal or screw-in type cleats are prohibited.
  • No watches, necklaces, sunglasses, earrings or other jewelry, including fitness trackers, shall be worn during practice or games.  Hard casts are not allowed.  These are safety mandates from the Florida Youth Soccer Association.
  • Bring water to every practice and game.
  • Bring the appropriate size soccer ball to every practice and to warm up before games.  The approved ball sizes are:

Age Group

Ball Size

U5, U6, U7, U8

Size 3 ball

U10, U12

Size 4 ball

U14

Size 5 ball

MiniWee participants will receive a size 3 ball, which will be distributed by their coach, as part of their player package.

  • When medically indicated, bring inhalers, anaphylactic kits, or other meds to the fields.
  • Players should arrive on time for practices and arrive 15 minutes before games to warm up and for equipment check before games.

The U5 – U14 practices and games will begin several weeks before the MiniWee program begins.  If you have not been contacted by a coach, it may be that your email address or telephone number was illegible or incorrectly transcribed.  Team assignment and coaches’ contact information will be published on our website by the Wednesday prior to the first Saturday Practice or MiniWee session.  Parents may contact coaches directly if they have any questions. 

For insurance reasons, only registered players are eligible to participate in WSA practices and games

There are requirements for coaches, participants and spectators on game days.

Participants' requirements for games:

  • Wear the FULL UNIFORM KIT provided by the league (this includes the shorts and socks issued by WSA this season).  If a child is missing the shorts or socks, they may remain on the sideline with the team until the parent returns with the correct uniform.  Parents should contact WSA, ASAP, if they need to purchase additional uniform items.  The items must be purchased from WSA's uniform vendor so advance notice and payment is required for orders.
  • Wear soccer cleats (no football or baseball cleats) and shin guards must be covered entirely by the socks.
  • Children cannot play with jewelry (including watches or activity trackers worn on wrists), sunglasses, hats and hard casts are not allowed.  These are safety requirements mandated by the Florida Youth Soccer Association and USA Soccer.
  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to game time to warm up and for the referee to check in players to ensure they are properly dressed (league-provided uniform, shin guards, soccer cleats, no jewelry, casts, etc.)

Spectators:

  • Absolutely NO parents, coaches or spectators behind the goals.
  • No parents, spectators or player siblings allowed on the technical side with the team and coaches. 
  • No one is allowed on the fields or on the technical side of the field during halftime for any reason.
  • No coaching or instructions from parents/spectators during games.  Parents/spectators may encourage players but NO coaching.
  • Parents are not allowed on the field for any reason.  In the case of an injury requiring parental assistance, the referee will direct the coach to get the parent.

Players and spectators are kept separate to aid the coach and referees in team management. It helps the coach to have all the players in one place. It helps the player to understand that instructions should come from the coach during the game and he/she should not have the distractions of family around.  For safety and security reasons, parents are not allowed on the coaches' side of the field.  Only those who have been approved to coach (i.e. passed the background check and selected by WSA) are allowed on the coaches' side of the field.

This is first and foremost a safety issue. Children have been injured, not to mention goals scored or not scored, because of the distraction of people behind the goals.  No one other than the participants on the field (i.e. spectators, coaches, etc.) is permitted near the goals during games.

Team parents are the communication link between the coach and the team. They pick up the team's uniforms for the coach, hand out the newsletters and photo packets and organize the snack schedule, end of season party and coaches' appreciation.  Let your child’s coach know if you are interested in being a Team Parent.

No, we do not have a schedule of practices because it is dependent on the coach’s personal schedule.  As a parent, sometimes you may have to re-arrange your schedule for the season, which is about 10 weeks.  Children cannot switch teams or practice with other teams and coaches are not authorized to permit this.  Participants must attend their team’s practices in order to get their guaranteed 50% playing time in games.   If your child is involved with other activities that do not have a flexible schedule, we recommend that you do not register your child in our league as practice schedules will be determined by the volunteer coaches based on their own personal schedules.  Requests to switch to another team, or refunds, due to conflicts or transportation issues, will not be honored.

Due to the up-front costs related to facilities, fields, equipment, uniforms, administration and insurance, etc., once a player is registered, no refunds will be issued after the refund deadline published on the website and payment made for one season cannot be credited/applied to another.

Once registration and skills assessment is completed, team building is done by the Director of League Development and a player has an obligation to remain with his/her team for the season.  Players must practice and play games only with their assigned team.  Coaches do not have the authority to approve or authorize any moves.  It is us not up to coaches where children are placed.  Players will not be allowed to switch teams because it will impact another child and may affect the team balancing.  Requests to switch to another team, or refunds, due to conflicts or transportation issues, will not be honored

The game schedules are created using a software program so there is always the possibility that all siblings will have games at the same time and they may be held at two different locations--we will not honor requests to adjust the schedule or for children to switch teams to resolve scheduling conflicts or for any other issues.  If you are a single parent or a family where one parent may not be available on game days, we recommend you do not register multiple children (who are in different age groups) in our programs to avoid disappointment due to scheduling conflicts. 

Due to the up-front costs related to facilities, fields, equipment, uniforms, administration and insurance, etc., once a player is registered, no refunds will be issued after the refund deadline published on the website and payment made for one season cannot be credited/applied to another. 

We realize that sometimes plans change, and every season we get requests for refunds. In order to keep our fees as low as possible, we do not build in extra fund into the fees to cover the expenses incurred for players whose parents request refunds after registration.  Due to varying levels of costs, advance purchasing requirements for equipment and uniforms, other fees paid to governing bodies, and the overall organizational costs, refunds will not be considered after these costs are incurred.  Injuries are a part of all sports at any level and are not generally considered as a reason for a refund, except if requested by the deadline published on the website.  Payment for one season cannot be applied to another season because costs are incurred every season for each participant (e.g. new (different) uniforms, insurance for participants and coaches, etc.). 

No refunds will be made for cancellations due to inclement weather, illnesses, injuries, scheduling conflicts, other issues or circumstances beyond our control (e.g. the child does not wish to participate).