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Blue Water Soccer Club: ABC's Of Soccer  

Blue Water  Soccer Club

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Last updated
09-24-14 12:03 PM
Blue Water Soccer Club
Kevin Freeman
Saint Clair County, Michigan

Wednesday, September 26
                   WHAT’S IN A NAME?                      

For parents who are new to the soccer scene.  Things can be very confusing, you hear all kinds of new terms and no one ever stops to explain what they mean.  Just like other things in this world, soccer has its own abbreviated language.  It’s easier to accept these acronyms when you know their meanings.  We will try to explain some of them here.


FIFA-Federation Internationale de Football Association, this is the worlds governing body of soccer.  FIFA sets the laws (in soccer the rules are called the laws), amends the laws and policies for soccer all over the world.  FIFA is involved with soccer from the professionals to the tots.  FIFA runs the world cup tournament, which takes place every four years.


MSYSA-Michigan State Youth Soccer Association, this is the state youth association.  They are the governing body for youth soccer in the state of Michigan.  MSYSA oversees the travel soccer programs such as MYSL and MSPSP.  MSYSA carries the liability insurance on all youth programs affiliated with them, and runs background checks on coaches and volunteers.


MYSL-Michigan Youth Soccer League, this is the local travel league for southeastern Michigan.  Many different soccer clubs affiliate with MYSL.  MYSL handles approximately 400 teams a year from over 50 different clubs.  MYSL coordinates game scheduling and reporting, as well as local select team standings; affiliation documents and reporting to the state soccer association.  Select teams at the MYSL range from age groups U-9 through U-19.


MSPSP-Michigan State Premier Soccer Program commonly referred to as the Farmer Jack League, which was the leagues corporate sponsor for many years.  This is where the best and brightest players aspire to play.  Teams are invited to play in this league and must earn their invitation to play here.  Participants in this league must have placed 1st or 2nd in their respective travel leagues such as MYSL.  You can identify these teams by the distinctive logo they wear on their sleeve or chest.  Premier teams in MSPSP range in age groups from U-12 through U-19.


AYSO-American Youth Soccer Organization, headquartered in California whose local chapters include: Region 161, Port Huron; Region 673, St. Clair; Region 1296, Capac; Region 955, Memphis; Region 448, Richmond.  Commonly refereed to as a recreational soccer league, it operates as a separate entity from the travel programs.  AYSO’s goal is to introduce area youth to the game of soccer with a focus on good sportsmanship and an equal playing time requirement.  AYSO starts at age 5 and goes up generally through U-14.


BWSC-Blue Water Soccer Club, this is the local travel club.  It currently affiliates all of its teams with MSYL who in turn processes them for the state.  As its name implies, BWSC is based in the Blue Water Area which encompasses the Port Huron, St. Clair, Marine City and surrounding areas.  BWSC is a growing club which welcomes players from throughout the area.  Lead by a knowledgeable and licensed coaching staff, BWSC is expanding its range and welcoming players from as far away as Romeo, Macomb Township, Capac and also Canada.  BWSC promotes competitive soccer and player development.  The board and the majority of its coaches are volunteers. 

Travel/Select Soccer-played through clubs that affiliate with MSYSA.  These teams play competitive soccer with other youth teams in the area.  Most MYSL teams compete against teams within a 50 mile radius, while the MSPSP program compete state wide.  These teams may also compete in tournaments within and outside the state where they may face teams from other states as well as other countries.  Players are selected to play on travel teams from try-outs usually held in June.  Coaches are generally required to be certified and licensed, and some coaches are paid professionals.  Travel soccer’s intent is to allow players of similar skill and abilities to practice and play against similar players in order to advance and develop their soccer skills.  They play two distinctive season, in the fall from Labor Day to the end of October; spring from Easter to the middle of June.  There are no guarantees of equal playing time for team members and the games are played according to FIFA rules.  The focus here is on training and development of the individual players.  The youngest age bracket in travel soccer is currently U-9 and organized competitive teams go all the way to the over 50 teams.    

Recreational/House Soccer-played through organizations such as AYSO, YMCA or community recreation departments.  Designed so that all who sign up get to play.  Teams playing at this level do not travel; games are played against other kids from the same community.  Emphasis is on equal playing time, randomly formed teams from all players who sign up to play (no one is turned away).  House soccer teaches the rules and basic concepts of the game and promotes the values of good sportsmanship.  They play two distinct seasons, in the fall from Labor Day to mid October and in the spring from Easter to the beginning of June.  The youngest age bracket in house soccer is U-5 and it commonly goes through U-16.  This is a great place to start to learn the fundamentals of soccer

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