These are "Frequently Asked Questions" or "FAQ" for Town and Country soccer. If you don't see an answer on here, please ask your league commissioner to get the question answered here.
Section 1: General
Q: Who do I contact if my questions are not answered here?
A: Contact the age group commissioner for your child's age group from the list on the left margin under "Soccer Board". Ask them to submit the answer for inclusion in the FAQ.
Q: How does Town and Country notify me about my team and schedule?
A: All first-level communication is done by email. With just a handful of volunteers and thousands of players/parents, email is the only way to feasibly broadcast information. Please make sure you register with an email address that you will check regularly. Once you have been assigned to a team, your coach may email or phone you about practices and other information. You can also check the web site directly to get game schedules and check on the rain-out status of the fields.
Section 2: Registration
Q: Where do I go to register?
A: All registration is on line. Please go to the T&C Soccer site and click on the registration button on the right side of the page.
Q: What paperwork do I need?
All soccer players are required to complete and sign a medical release form. The medical release form is available on T&C Soccer website on the documents page and provided and retained by your coach.
For non-US-born players or players with dual-citizenship (US and some other country), there will be some follow-up later regarding one or more International Player Clearance forms which need to be submitted to FIFA through STYSA. This has nothing to do with the US government, but is a requirement by FIFA of all soccer clubs worldwide.
All soccer players will be required to show Proof of Age. If not already on file with the T&C Office, a copy of a birth certificate or other document meeting the STYSA requirements, must be received by the T&C Soccer Registrar or the T&C Office within five (5) business days from the date of your on-line registration. Scans or copies of documents must be legible to be accepted. Players cannot be assigned to a team without proof of birthdate on file at T&C. This is a requirement from our parent organizations, CAYSA, STYSA/USYS, WDS2, WDDOA to ensure fairness of play and given the importance playing in the appropriate age group, the requirement is to verify the registered birthdate by seeing official proof of a birthdate. Click here for Procedures to Submit Documents.
Q: Late registration is over; can I still get on a team?
A: Once regular registration ends, the team counts are finalized. Certain divisions fill up very quickly. When late registration is completed we will close the registration. If you still wish to be placed on a team, please contact the appropriate commissioner of the division.
Q: What is the refund policy at T&C?
A: As per the registration agreement, there is a 10% admin fee held out on ALL approved refunds. In addition to the 10% admin fee, only 50% will be refunded during late registration, and no refunds will be given after the start of the T&C soccer season or the team's first game, whichever comes first. There are no refunds after the season begins. No refunds are given to decal orders, donations, late fees, or because of team placement.
Section 3: Leagues and children ages
Q: What does U-xx mean?
A: "U" stands for "Under". For example, a U-11 player was under 11 years of age as of the previous midnight December 31.
Q: What are the ages for the different leagues?
A: A children is in a U-xx league when they are "under" the age of that league. For example, A U8 player is a player who is Under 8 years old at the beginning of the fall season (midnight when December 31 becomes January 1). The player may turn 8 at any point after the beginning of the season and still be a U8 player until the beginning of the next fall season. There are many spring season U8 players who are already 8 years old. Go to Documents page and select Age Group Chart.
Age 4 is a special designation used instead of U4. Players are eligible for Age4 if their 4th birthday occurs between January 1 and December 31. Unlike the U-xx leagues, playing up is not permitted, i.e., a player whose 3rd birthday occurs during the January 1 and December 31 period may not play in Age4 during that same period.
In older age groups, there may be more than one age group in a league. For example, it is common for a U16 league to consist of U15 and U16 players, or a U19 league to consist of U17, U18, and U19 players. The age group of a team is determined based on the oldest player on the team.
Q: Do boys and girls play on the same team?
A: In Age4 and U5, boys and girls play on the same team. Starting in U6, boys and girls play in different leagues.
Q: Can I play up into an older age bracket?
A: Yes, an experienced or particularly talented player may choose to play up one age group in U5-U19 with coach or commissioner approval. Under very exceptional circumstances, and only with commissioner approval, a player may play up two age groups. Nobody may play up in Age4.
Q: Can I play down into a younger age bracket?
A: No, regardless of how inexperienced the player is, s/he may NOT play down into a younger age bracket.
Q: What is the difference between competition levels, such as DIV, DIII, and DII?
A: DIV stands for 'Division 4', DIII stands for 'Division 3', etc., each of those categories defines a an age group and level of play.
Q: What is the "Lonestar Junior Academy" program?
A: The Jr. Academy program is separate from the T&C Soccer programs defined in this FAQ. For details of the Jr Academy program please see http://www.lonestar-sc.com/ or please contact Vijay Dixit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-626-9579.
Q: Who is the Lonestar Soccer Club and how are they involved with T&C Soccer?
A: Lonestar Soccer Club provides professionally coached competitive soccer programs. They utilize T&C fields for practice, games, and summer camps. The Lonestar Soccer Club programs are different from the T&C Soccer programs defined in this FAQ.
Q: Do I have to try-out for a team?
A: There are no try-outs for Recreational soccer. When you register, the age-group commissioner will place you on a team based on the guidelines described below in Section 5. For competitive teams, the coach determines who is on the team. Prospective players may meet with the coach in advance to assess their goals and skills to determine if there is a good match.
Section 4: Uniforms & Equipment
Q. What equipment do I need?
A: Every player needs their own ball, soccer-cleats or turf shoes or plain athletic shoes, shin guards, team jersey, soccer socks, soccer shorts, and a water bottle. The following types of shoes are not permitted for practices or games: baseball cleats; football shoes or any shoe with a toe cleat; any shoe with metal cleats.
Q: Do we get a uniform?
A: Recreational player uniforms (FOR THE FALL SEASON) consisting of t-shirt or jersey(s) are included in the registration fee. Individuals are responsible for purchasing soccer shorts and socks. Please check with your coach before purchasing.
A: Recreational player uniforms (FOR THE SPRING SEASON) are NOT included in the registration fee. New players (anyone who did not play in the preceding fall season) and players switching teams are required to purchase a uniform. Uniforms for Rec teams (DIV and DIII) can be purchased during the registration process.
A: Competitive player uniforms, Academy, DII, SII and DI UNIFORMS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE REGISTRATION FEE AND MUST BE PURCHASED SEPARATELY. An email will be sent with instructions on how to order your uniform kit after registration is complete.
Q: What size ball do we use?
A: Age 4 and U5-U8 use a size 3 ball. U9-U12 use a size 4 ball. U13+ use a size 5 ball.
Section 5: Teams
Q: How big are the teams?
A: T&C uses small-sided teams. Small Sided Soccer is played with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field. These are fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball. Read more about small sided soccer at:http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/parents/lawsofthegame.asp
For more information about small-sided soccer, take a look here http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/smallsidedgames.asp
Q: How are teams formed?
A: We build teams by first trying to keep together teams from the previous season if the coach and team returns the following season and you register by the return to team deadline, then teams are formed by "buddy requests", and then by grouping by school and neighborhood proximity, this does not apply to late registrations and waitlists.
Q: Can I stay with my team from last season?
A: Yes, we try to keep returning teams together and you can list your previous team's name and coach in the registration process and, if the coach and team returns the following season, the age-group commissioner will try to honor requests to return to the same team/coach.
Q: Can I keep my coach from last season?
A: Yes, we try to keep returning teams together and you can list your previous team's name and coach in the registration process and, if the coach returns the following season, the age-group commissioner will try to honor requests to return to the same team/coach.
Q: Do I have to try-out for a team?
A: There are no try-outs for Recreational soccer. When you register, the age-group commissioner will place you on a team based on the guidelines.
A: For competitive teams, the coach determines who is on the team. Prospective players may meet with the coach in advance to assess their goals and skills to determine if there is a good match.
Q: Can I play on my friend’s team?
A: You can enter a "buddy request" when you register and the age-group commissioner will try to honor it when creating the teams. Buddy requests work best when both players request each other. It is often not possible to honor buddy requests when a dozen players make a chain of requests with each child requesting someone different. We cannot guarantee that your request will be fulfilled, though T&C makes every effort.
Section 6: Game Information
Q: Where are the games?
A: All of the Division IV games are held at the Town and Country fields. See Field & Maps page.
Academy, Division III, Division II, Super II, and Division I will typically play half their games at the Town and Country fields and half their games as the visiting team on fields around the Greater Austin area.
Q: When are the games played?
A: Games are scheduled on Saturdays and/or Sundays. Saturday games start between 8am and 5pm. Sunday games start between 11am and 5pm. Once the teams are put together and coaches are rostered to the teams, you will get a call or email from the coach. Please be patient as team formation is not finished until just prior to the start of the season.
Q: Will we have to travel?
A: For Recreational teams from Age4 to U10, games will be played at T&C fields. For Academy and U11 and above, there will be travel required. T&C is part of the Capital Area Youth Soccer Assn (CAYSA) and we play other Recreational and Competitive teams that are also a part of CAYSA. Different levels of play may require more travel than other. For example, a Super II or Division I team may travel to Corpus Christi, or Victoria. A Recreational CAYSA team may travel to Round Rock, Pflugerville, Georgetown, or Lampasas.
Q: How big are the fields?
A: Age4 and U5-U6 play on 20x30 yard fields. U7-U8 play on 25x35 yard fields. U9-U10 play on 50x70 yard fields. When playing at Town & Country, U11-U12 play on approximately 60x90 yard fields, and U13 and up on approximately 70x110 yard fields. When traveling to play an away game, the field sizes may vary considerably from the sizes of the T&C fields, though all should be within the minimum and maximum field dimensions stipulated by STYSA (South Texas Youth Soccer Association).
Q: How long are the games?
A: Age4 and U5-U6 Games are 4 quarters of 8 minutes with 2 min breaks between quarters and a 5-min break at half. Including warm-up and post-game snacks, it is about an hour from start to finish.
A: U7-U8 games are 4 quarters of 10 minutes with 2-min breaks between quarters and a 5-min break at half. Including referee check-ins and post-game snacks, it is about an hour and 15min from start to finish.
A: U9-U10 games are 2 halves of 25 minutes with a 5-min break at half. Including referee check-ins and post-game snacks, it is about an hour and 15min from start to finish.
A: U11-U12 games are two halves of 30 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.
A: U13-U14 games are two halves of 35 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.
A: U15-U16 games are two halves of 40 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.
A: U17 and up games are two halves of 45 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.
Q: Why do we play some teams twice and not others?
A: Some age groups have more teams than can be scheduled together as one group. In this situation, the age-group commissioner breaks the teams into two or more brackets and teams only play other teams in the same bracket. This also allows an opportunity to group teams by strength based on their previous season's performance and try to provide more even competition within each bracket.
Q: Do we keep scores/standings?
A: In Age4 and U5-U6 no score is kept. In U7-U10 scores are kept by the referees and the winning coach will sign the game card which the referee submits. The Winning coach should also email the final score to the age-group commissioner. There are no official standings kept in the Division IV league. The scores are used by the commissioners to monitor the match-ups and form better matched brackets the following season. In U11 and up, the game cards are signed and mailed to the CAYSA VP for the appropriate age group. Standings are kept and can be viewed at www.caysa.org. Invitations to post season tournaments for Rec+ and U11 and up are based on a team's standing in its bracket.
Q: What is the required playing time for each player?
A: Recreational soccer has a 50% per game play rule, whereby all kids are given the opportunity to play 50% of the game time for which they are present. Each player present for the entire game should play at least half of each half. In some instances, this may be modified per the coaches discretion for player behavioral or medical problems.
Q: When can we substitute? Are the rules enforced for the little kids?
A: There are firm rules on substitutions for U7 and up, but you can discuss with the ref and other coach if you need to make them more lenient. Officially, you can only sub on a goal kick, a mid-field kickoff (after a goal is scored), or when it's your possession on a kick in (throw in for U11+). You cannot make a substitution during the other team's kick-in/throw in, or on penalty kicks, or on corner kicks. In order to sub, you should have your players standing on the sideline at the middle of the field ready to go in. When you can make the substitution, get the ref's attention (usually by yelling "Ref, sub!") and wait for him to wave the players on to the field. For U7-U10 you can ask before the game if it's okay with the ref and the other coach to sub on any kick-in instead of only your own. For U11+ referees will usually enforce the rule that the player leaving the field must be completely off the field before the substitute player enters. In any case, if play resumes before you get the refs attention for the sub, then you have to wait for the next chance.
Q: How fast can our team make their kick in?
A: The team kicking in/throwing in can take their kick in/throw in as quickly as they want. There is no requirement that they wait for the other team. Many teams practice quick "set plays" for kick-ins specifically to take advantage of their opponent being out of position. If something else is going on that requires the game to be paused, the ref should halt the play directly and then blow the whistle to resume play. However, normally, the team with possession just places the ball and takes the kick or makes the throw whenever they're ready.
Section 7: Coaching
Q: What kind of coaching is provided at T&C?
A: All soccer teams are coached by VOLUNTEER parent coaches. Professionally provided coaches would cost hundreds of dollars per season more than we pay in fees now.
Q: How does a team pick the coach?
A: Some teams have returning or assigned coaches. Others the parents should get together via email or in person and decide on the coach. One person can coach, one person can coach and another assistant coach, or parents can co-coach, as long as we have a Head Coach listed on the roster. Only registered coaches will be allowed on the team side of the field in U7 and older.
Q: No one knows how to coach or we want to learn more.
A: There are lots of references that can be found for free on the web. There are classes available multiple times each year in the central Texas area. For more information, see http://www.stxsoccer.org/CoachingEducation/index_E.html. For the younger age groups, very little prior knowledge (if any) is needed. Your age group commissioner is your first point of contact for questions. T&C also maintains a library of videos and books that can be checked out at the main club-house by field 2.
Q: I've never coached before, can I be a coach?
A: Yes, anyone can volunteer to coach a Recreational team. Obviously it helps if you're familiar with the rules and how the game is played, especially in the older age groups, but many of the responsibilities of a Recreational coach are administrative in nature. Enthusiasm and a desire to work with the players are the most important qualities. Often two or three parents will work together with one being the "team manager" who handles all the communication with the parents and league, and other(s) helping run practices. Anyone who is a coach or assistant coach must go through the Kid-Safe Network (KSN) coaches certification training AND a GotSoccer background check and keep their Kid-Safe (KSN) card with them during games and practices.
Section 8: Practices
Q: How often do we practice?
A: Practices are scheduled and managed by the volunteer coaches. Age4 and U5 are no-practice leagues except for 10 minutes of practice time available at the start of each scheduled game. Some, but not all, U6 teams have one practice per week, not to exceed 30-45 minutes. U7 and U8 teams usually practice once a week, for 45-60 minutes. U9-U10 teams practice once or twice a week, for 60-75 minutes. U11 and older teams practice once or twice a week for 75-90 minutes.
Q: Where are practices held?
A: For Division IV, practice locations are determined by the coaches and are usually at local schools or parks. In order to keep our fields in tip top shape practices are limited at the T&C Youth Sports Complex. Rec+ and Division III teams have one practice per week at T&C included in registration. Division II, Super II, and Division I have two practices at T&C included in registration.
Q: Does my child have to go to practice to play?
A: Since it is a team effort, please make every effort to have your child at practice, but the 50% play time rule (unless set aside for discipline or injury situations) still applies regardless of practice attendance.
Section 9: Rescheduling games
Q: It rained and the field was closed. What about those games?
A: Rained out games are automatically rescheduled; check the schedule on Monday or so to see the rescheduling.
Q: How do I reschedule my game other than weather reasons?
A: The reschedule process is detailed on the SCHEDULES page listed in the left margin.
Section 10: Volunteering
Q: Do I have to volunteer?
A: The T&C Optimist Soccer Association is an all volunteer organization. We encourage parents to participate as coaches, team parents, commissioners, or board members. Such participation is optional. However, we do not have enough board and commissioner participants to cover all the game-day responsibilities while respecting our board and commissioners family commitments.
To make the soccer program successful, we ask a parent of each player to fulfill a single two hour field assistant shift each season. You agree to this as part of registering your child. Responsibilities may include directing fans to fields, answering questions, using a golf cart to taxi mobility impaired fans to and from game fields, and emptying trash containers. Time slots will be assigned on a team basis with consideration given to each team’s game schedule. A coach serving as a Game Day Commissioner will help you understand what to do, and will be available to deal with unusual situations if they should occur.
Q: I'm scheduled to volunteer this weekend, where do I go?
A: Show up for volunteer duty early at the green soccer shed between field 20 and the North parking lot. For more information please see Volunteer Corner page.
Q: If everyone is a volunteer why does it cost so much?
A: Even though all the coaches, commissioners, and directors are 100% volunteer, there are still many fees and expenses that your fees cover. Maintaining the property and the associated utilities are the greatest expenses. There are also fees for registering teams with CAYSA/US-Club soccer, insurance, uniforms, and referees.
Section 11: Season Activities and Specific Dates
Q: Do we get pictures?
A: In many seasons, there is a picture day and everyone gets one print. You can purchase larger packages of photos at that time.
Q: Do we get trophies/medals?
A: All Age 4 and U5-U10 teams, both Recreational and Recreational Plus, get trophies in the Fall and Medals in the Spring. Many teams of all age levels also decide to separately purchase trophies for their players. There are no championship or placement recognitions in the Age 4-U10 Recreational league.
Q: What are the seasons and when do they start and end?
A: There are two T&C soccer seasons, the main one in the fall, and a second one in the spring. The fall season starts early to mid-September and runs through the middle of November, usually 10 weeks with 10 games played. The spring season starts about late February/ early March and runs through the beginning of May, usually 10 weeks with 8 games played. For U15-U19 games do not usually begin until the weekend in late March after spring break (which is about the time that the high school seasons wind up).
Section 12: Referees
Q: Who referees the game?
A: Age4 and U5-U6, the coaches referee the game and keep game-play moving. U7 and higher have US Soccer Federation (USSF) licensed referees provided by T&C.
Q: How old do you have to be to be a referee?
A: Most referees are at least 12 years old. Contact the referee director or assigners for more information. Please go to the Referees Corner page for more information.
Q: Why do some referees call the game differently?
A: The refs have considerable discretion on how to run the game. As a coach, it is important to meet with the referee's briefly before the game and introduce yourself and get clarification on how they plan to call the game. If you have any specific preferences you can make them known then. Some of the things that can be variable from game to game are how rigidly they enforce substitution rules, whether they're going to end quarters exactly at 10-min or let the play conclude and call the quarter at a dead ball, and whether they're going to call every foul immediately or allow for "advantage" and let play continue for a bit to see if the foul actually affects the team controlling the ball.
Section 13: Other
Q: What happens if I as a parent have issues with my child's coach?
A: Contact the age group commissioner listed on the left column of Soccer Board page.
Q: What is Town & Country Optimist Club and how are they involved with the Soccer program?
A: Town & Country is 41 YEARS...90+ ACRES...7 SPORTS...and 8,500 CHILDREN. For forty-one years T&C has offered Northwest Austin families and their kids a great place to enjoy youth sports. During those years, foresighted members acquired a total of ninety-six acres of land that is now the T&C Sports Complex. The complex provides youth sports facilities and the complex is owned, managed, and maintained by the Town & Country Optimist Club. Today T&C offers many sports for kids: Baseball, Basketball, Flag & Tackle Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball. Miracle League (for special-needs children) is located on T&C's complex but operated separately by Miracle League.