Youth Soccer Information
Soccer is a great sport for getting kids active and involved in team sports at an early age. Springfield and Holyoke have a wide choice of soccer leagues and clubs that run organized instructional and competitive programs.
There are two soccer seasons. The fall season runs September through October. The spring season runs May through June. You will need to sign your child up for each season. The biggest issue parents face with Springfield soccer is the sign-ups. Registration starts 4 months before the season starts. So, if your child wants to play fall soccer, you need to start looking for a league and club in May or June.
Finding the right league and club can be a complicated process as there is no single place where you can register. BYOFamily hopes that the information provided below will guide you through that process!
Before you sign your child up, make sure you understand the age requirements. Players are placed on a team based on their age (birth year) and ability and are categorized by a “U” group (“U” stands for “under”). The child must be the right age for their “U” bracket by August 1st for the current season. For example, U8 means the child must be 8 years or younger by the August 1st prior to the current season. More competitive and travel soccer starts at U9/U10 and teams may be co-ed up until U9.
There is a small fee associated with playing soccer in Springfield, usually non-refundable. Many of the clubs offer a great program for $75 or less a season. The club registration fees usually include use of the city’s soccer fields, referee fees, and uniforms. It is the parent’s responsibility to get shin guards and cleats for players. It is recommended by the leagues that children U11 and older also wear a cup and mouth guard.
Questions you should ask before getting involved with youth soccer
Is my child ready for team sports? Attending a weekly team practice and listening to a coach for 45-60 minutes can be a large task for a 4 or 5 year old. Take them to a few practices and make sure they are paying attention to the coach, are ready to play, and want to have fun.
What League do I want my child to play in? There are multiple leagues in Springfield/Holyoke to choose from. The leagues can be categorized as “instructional”, “travel” and “development”. The instructional leagues are great for younger kids. As the kids get older, you will need to think about travel and development leagues. The travel leagues require travel to towns throughout the Pioneer Valley for games and development teams may require travel throughout New England. See league descriptions below.
What Club do I want my child to play in? Some considerations when choosing a soccer club are: where are the games played, where are practices held, what is the cost, where do my child’s friends play, and does the club have teams that play in both seasons? All coaches are CORI checked in the Springfield and Holyoke leagues.
What Team do I want my child to play on? Players are placed on a team based on age (birth year) and ability and are categorized by U group (age group). Some of the instructional soccer clubs start at age 4; children must be 4 years old by August 1 for the current season. More competitive and travel soccer starts at U9. Teams may be co-ed until U9.
Some advice from a current Soccer Mom
Be supportive and motivate your kids and the other kids on the team to work hard and have fun. Everyone makes a “goal” in a soccer game; make sure your family celebrates everyone that made it happen!
A one hour soccer game can be a really emotional experience. Try to refrain from yelling at the referee, at the players and even at the other team’s parents. Referees can and will give parents a yellow or red card and/or ask them to leave the field.
Learn about the sport. It is easier and more enjoyable to watch soccer when you know why a player has been given a penalty.
Make sure your child is playing on the team that best fits their commitment to the sport. If they also play hockey and lacrosse, a competitive travel team may not be the best choice. However, if they love the sport and want to improve their skills, get them on a team that plays in the fall and spring season and look at options for the winter and summer camps.
Participate in your team’s fundraising events. It’s a great way to get to know the parents and allows players to spend time together.
Communicate with the coach and assistant coaches. Let them know if you can’t make a practice, give them appropriate notice if your child can’t play in a game, etc.
Spring soccer registration begins in January! Contact the coordinator listed for exact registration dates/times. You will need a copy of the player's birth certificate.
Players and parents may be required to complete additional forms such as a Medical Release Form, a Waiver of Liability form, and a Code of Conduct form.
Registration fees are due at registration.
Springfield Parks & Recreation
Springfield Youth Soccer League (SYSL U5 to U12)
(U6 to U12)
(U5 to U12)
(U9 to U12)
(U6 to U12)
(U6 to U12)
(PAYS U6 to U12)
(U6 to U12)
St Catherine’s Instructional League - Co-ed. (U6 to U8)
Pioneer Valley Junior Soccer League (PVJSL U8 to U19)
(U9 to U14)
(U9 to U14)
(U16 to U19)
(U8 to U12)
(U9 to U16)
(U10 to U12)
(Kids ages 5-14)
(U9 to U16)
For kids that want to improve their soccer skills and become more competitive, there are many options.
Massachusetts Premier League (Maple)
Maple exists to provide competitive play for any team interested in the highest levels of youth soccer. It offers a league structure based solely on merit. Maple regularly sees its clubs succeed at Regionals and tournaments throughout the United States and abroad.
Founded in 1993, MAPLE provides a competitive structure for more than 500 teams from 95 clubs throughout the state. Eight of these clubs are from Springfield and its metro region including the Western United Pioneers. All games are Sundays, with 8 v 8 games in the morning and 11 v 11 games in the afternoon. The fall season is nine weeks long, starting the Sunday after Labor Day, and is open to U10-U14 teams. The spring season is seven weeks, ending with the State Cups in June, and provides play for U10-U18 age groups.
Any team, however composed or organized, can participate in Maple. There are no residency, club or organizational affiliation, experience or other prerequisites of any kind. After you enter, everything is based entirely on merit.
The New England Premiership (NEP)
Age Groups: U10 - U19, teams that play in these leagues hold tryouts, may have teams that play at a higher skill level travel for games throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. Costs can run on average $600 per season, plus travel and tournament expenses. The local soccer club that has teams in these leagues is the Western United Pioneers, for age groups U10-U18. The Western United Pioneers also run a Pioneer Academy for ages 5-10. They hold 3 sessions a year, no tryouts, and fees run about $90 per session. VSA United, out of Springfield also has a team. Contact: Charles Branche 718-541-1643.
Summer Camp – In March, start looking at summer camp options for your child. The Pantuosco soccer camp is a local program, the Pioneers run a camp at the Lusitano stadium – www.juniorpioneerssoccer.com, as does Stony Brook camp at Western New England College. Many of the local colleges and prep schools also run soccer camps.
Tournaments – There are many Massachusetts and Connecticut based groups that host soccer tournaments throughout the year, especially on holiday weekends. Talk to the team's coach about signing the team up for a competitively appropriate tournament for your child's team. It is a great experience for the kids and builds team camaraderie.
Winter Soccer – Soccer City in Wilbraham and the Sports Bubble in South Windsor, CT run winter soccer leagues. Check with your club's president or ask around to see if your child can join one of the teams for the winter session.
Massachusetts Olympic Development program (ODP), program focused on developing individual players , exposes kids to regional and national play.
New England Revolution - focus on elite soccer player development programs.