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April 2, 2020



COVID-19 Update: 4/2/2020

Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the communication from our local, state & federal government about social distancing, along with guidance from US Club Soccer, NCSA is extending its postponement of all affiliated soccer activities through at least May 1.

Our primary focus continues to be the safety and welfare of our players, coaches, referees and the soccer communities we serve. We hope that a safe return to soccer is not too far away and we will continue to monitor this situation. We remain determined to try to get the kids back on the field as soon as safely possible. We commit to our clubs, players, coaches, parents and referees that we will continue to communicate our plans as decisions are finalized.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish all of you good health and safety! Please continue to follow all government guidelines to help fight this pandemic.

Stay safe,

Dennis J. Burns President

Northern Counties Soccer Association



March 27, 2020




COVID-19 Update: 3/27/2020


Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,

Given new information released yesterday afternoon from Governor Murphy concerning current, tentative timelines for consideration of opening schools, our anticipated start date of April 19 looks unlikely. Undoubtedly each day or two there will be more information that may provide more clarity on the status of the Spring season. As stated in our update n 3/25/2020, the NCSA Board is meeting (virtually)on a weekly basis to review all factors and plans for the spring. We are determined to try to get the kids back on the field as soon as safely possible. We commit to our clubs, players, coaches, parents andreferees that we will continue to communicate our plans as decisions are finalized.

In the meantime, please stay safe and follow all government guidelines to help fight this pandemic.


Stay safe,

Dennis J. Burns


Northern Counties Soccer Association



March 25, 2020

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Clubs, Coaches, Managers, Players, Parents, Referees, and our NCSA Community,


With the increase in cases of the COVID-19 virus in the New Jersey and New York area and based on the guidance we have received from local health agencies, NCSA has postponed the start of our season to April 19, 2020. We are in unchartered waters with this global pandemic and hopefully over the next few weeks we can begin to get back to a new normal. The safety of our players, coaches, parents, referees and our NCSA community are our number one priority. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and will send out additional alerts as needed to keep you all informed.


Details concerning the rescheduling of games will be communicated directly with Club Officials. We will not be processing requests to schedule games until the league has communicated with clubs the specific process that will be used.


It is our hope that in the coming weeks we will have more clarity on the entire situation and be able to provide more updates on the status of the Spring season.

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Game Changes must be submitted through the club representative via our on-line game change function. All changes (placing games on the schedule and taking games off the schedule) must be submitted no later than 11 am Monday for upcoming weekend (Saturday or Sunday games). All changes for other days must be 5 days in advance - for example, scheduling or moving Friday games must be submitted by 11 am Sunday. Coaches -- DO NOT EMAIL GAMES CHAIRS ABOUT CHANGING GAMES!


That depends on its current listing and the reason. While NCSA Rules specify all the requirements, this is a "plain language" explantion of NCSA Rule Section 5.3 and all its subparts:

What if the game is a TBS or otherwise not currently scheduled? It takes the two coaches to AGREE on a date and time with field being designated by the home team's club. The agreement should be in writing (email). Either team's club rep can submit the requested date. To avoid a late submission fee, the request must be submitted at least 5 days in advance (Monday 11 am for following Saturday or Sunday play); amount of late fee increases as submission is later and later. See Rule 5.3.7

What if the game is scheduled already? Then it depends on the reason for postponement.
If the reason is STATE CUP, this is known well in advance and the request to mark the game TBS(SC) must be submitted by the Club Rep 5 days before the game is currently scheduled.
If the reason is FIELD CONDEMNATION due to WEATHER, there are strict timing rules on the teams' obligations, including possibly playing at the Vistor Team's field being required. But if the condemnation is less than 24 hours before game time, which is more typical, then a coach must notify the opposing coach and the Games Chairs (preferably by Club Rep for all that Club's games on that field to minimize communications). See Rule 5.3.6 for full information.
If the reason is ANYTHING ELSE (other than rare exceptions in Rule 5.3.1), it is considered a change for CONVENIENCE under Rule 5.3.8. Such a change requires AGREEMENT of both coaches for a SPECIFIC date, time and field submitted together with the request to postpone. The postponement can not be to a TBS for later scheduling. Again, the timing rules require specific advance submission with added fees for late submision and a change fee which varies in amount.

Moving a Game "Earlier in the season" was developed especially for high school-age teams who wish to move their June games earlier in the season so they have players before exams, proms and end of school activities interfere. Moving a game earlier fora $10 fee does not constitute moving a game "earlier in the day", "by a day" or earlier "by a week", but by several weeks or a month, as explained during Club Rep meeting.

Coaches often ask for fee waivers and exceptions. Games Chairs have heard all these excuses before. Except for extreme situations such as death of a player/parent/coach, there are no extreme circumstances permitting waivers and exceptions. The full procedure for submitting game changes is contained in Rule 5.3.9.

1. First step if opposing coach doesn't respond to you is to have your club rep contact opposing club rep to try and reschedule game.
2. If that doesn't work, contact your NCSA Division Commissioner.
3. Always keep email chain for proof of date time line.


TBS means "To Be Scheduled"
The letters in parentheses after the TBS let us know the reason for the TBS.
TBS(L) means "League" - for example, all 3/22 games are listed as TBS(L) as we do not expect clubs to have fields open by that date. Games can be played before 3/29 opening date if weather and field conditions permit AND if proper rescheduling is submitted by the CLUB REP.
TBS(H) means the Home Team requested not to play on that date, perhaps because of a school vacation impacting number of players available, or some other event preventing fielding a team.
TBS(V) means the Visiting Team requested not to play on that date, for similar or any reason.
TBS(B) means Both teams requested not to play on that date.
TBS(F) means the Field is not known; perhaps the home team had a field permit taken away or had some other conflict preventing the scheduling of a time and field.
TBS(R) means Rain or any weather condition prevented the game from being played.
TBS(SC) means State Cup for one of the teams caused a postponement.
TBS(MBOS) only occurs in a top level full-sided flight of 8 teams; in such a flight, after the first 7 weeks of play, whether the round robin of games is completed or not, an additional 3 game round robin occurs within the top 4 and within the bottom 4 teams - these games are designated MBOS for Matches Based On Standings.

F1 is the default field upon original scheduling - they remain as F1 until a real time and field is first assigned.

TBS games are NOT scheduled games; all TBS games carry (or should carry) a designated time of 12:00 am (midnight) or 1:00 am (which time is assigned simply allows the games chairs to track who entered the data) - only games that have a real time and a real field (CLUB-Field Name abbreviation) are games that have refs assigned and only those games may be played.

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Updated NCSA Rules of Competition for the Spring 2016 season have been posted to the NCSA website.  Below is a short summary of some of the most notable changes.  NOTE: This is NOT a full account of the changes so please be sure to review the full Rules of Competition documents online here before the start of the season. 

Team Rosters:

3.5.b NEW Verification and Watermark Procedure of Official US Club NCSA Roster

This update in procedures was announced previously and the full procedure outline is available online (copy this link into your browser: http://www.ncsanj.com/formsView.cfm?form_id=190 )  Please be sure that your team has a watermarked roster to utilize for the Spring season.  The deadline for submitting a roster for use for a weekend game is Thursday at 9pm.  Your game will NOT be played if you do not have a watermarked NCSA roster. 


Coach Passes:

3.6.a US CLUB SOCCER guidelines

Each coach must have a valid pass for each club they coach/train/manage within NCSA.  (Example: If a coach is involved with two different NCSA clubs, they will need two passes, one for each club.)


Heading and Head Injuries:

5.10.9: NCSA will adhere to the U.S. Soccer recommendation, and US Club requirement, to eliminate heading the ball with all U11 and younger teams.  When a player deliberately heads the ball in a U11 and younger game, an indirect free kick (IFK) will be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. 

6.9.1: FOR ALL AGE GROUPS: US Club Soccer requires the immediate removal of any player who sustains a significant blow to the head or body, who complains about or who is showing symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion. That player will not be permitted to play again unless cleared by a Healthcare Professional as defined in the rule.


Red Card Player/Coach Suspensions:

3.5.b  When a player or coach is issued a red card, all coaches in that game (including any red carded coach) are responsible (a) to notify the club’s president and club representative of the red card and (b) not to permit that red-carded player or coach to participate in any NCSA game until the decision by the Games Conduct Committee (GCC) is issued and the suspension is served.   (Reminder: A red card carries a minimum one game suspension.)  Per rule 8.2.5, Suspension of player or coach is for all on-field NCSA sanctioned activities until the suspension has been satisfied for the team which they were carded or the team they were coaching/playing or misconduct occurred at time of suspension.  (Example: If an individual is a coach for Team A and Team B and is suspended with Team A, they are not permitted to coach Team B until their suspension has been served with Team A.)

Referees and the league will be checking game documents to be sure that suspended players or coaches are not participating. The penalties for being caught using a suspended player or coach are serious. 


Players Playing Up:


If a player has played up to the same team four times, the player is then bound to that higher flight/age team for the remainder of the season and must be removed from their original lower flight/age team US Club NCSA roster and added to the higher flight/age team US Club NCSA roster in which they played up more than the 3 times allowed.  You must remove them from the lower flighted roster, add them to the higher flight/age team, and submit a new roster to the league for watermarking.


Game Changes:

5.3.8 Changes to Original Schedule

There will be a $50 dollar fee charged to the requesting team for changes to the originally scheduled game date and time, or a re-scheduled game date and time, submitted within 5 days to 7 days prior to the currently scheduled or rescheduled date, whichever is earlier; the fee is $20 if submitted 8 or more days prior to the currently scheduled or rescheduled date, whichever is earlier, except as set forth above in sections 5.3.4, 5.3.5, and 5.3.6.


Field Closings:

5.3.6 Local Field Condemnation

It is no longer mandatory to move to opponent’s local field but is permitted per guidelines in the rule.  Additionally, it is mandatory to play on alternate home field at same starting time or 30 minutes before or after originally scheduled game time with at least 3 hours’ notice. 


Referee Checklist:

In addition to the updated Rules of Competition, an updated Coach Checklist has been posted online.  It is very important that coaches follow each step so that games can be played and teams/coaches are complying with all league policies and procedures.  The document can be found online here in the Forms Download section of the NCSA website.

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Instructions for Coach Menu After Log In

There is a new left side menu. There are 2 “parent” menu choices labeled PERSONAL INFORMATION and TEAM MANAGEMENT. Clicking a parent menu item will display the sub-menu choices discussed below. Just above the left side menu it should say “Welcome” and your name. If you have multiple roles, this is where you would switch roles.


This is the section where you modify your password. Remove all black dots. You must type in the assigned password in the "current password" section.


This is the section where you edit your address, phone numbers and one email address. Remember to hit “Save” at the bottom. You are not permitted to edit the name.


EACH team must submit its own Match Day Form.

First, if you coach multiple teams – either as head coach or assistant coach in NCSA records, there will be a drop down box listing those teams from which you select the team and then click “Get Games”. If you coach only one team according to NCSA records, your list of games will appear when you click the menu item “Match Day Form”. The Match Day Form is required only for NCSA games.

Second, the entire list of games will appear for the team selected or the only team you coach. The game number in the left column is in blue and is able to be clicked from any time before the game through 24 hours after the game. After that time, you may no longer edit the Match Day Form; however, the right column will display “View”, which may be clicked to view the completed form. IMPORTANT: WAIT UNTIL 1-2 DAYS PRIOR TO THE GAME TO CREATE THE MATCH DAY FORM SO ALL REFEREE INFO IS INCLUDED FOR THAT GAME.

Third, once you click a game number to create a Match Day Form, a form “wizard” displays to guide you to completing the form:
(a) The name of a coach listed in NCSA records as coaching this team will be pre-populated into one of four spaces for coaches – coach names can be removed and replaced – you may add names to a total of 4 permitted coaches per rules – this procedure will eliminate the illegible names on a majority of previously submitted forms;
(b) You must then answer if any players are playing up – it is preset as “no” - if you change it to “yes”, a section will appear for you to list the player’s name, the player’s pass number, uniform number (enhancement in process) and the team from which the player is playing up – again, this procedure will eliminate the illegible names previously written on US Club rosters (you may NOT write names on US club roster forms any longer) – the “add another player” lets you add additional players playing up according to NCSA rules - the teams listed (playing up from) in the drop down are only those teams from which a player may play up – this will eliminate the numerous situations where players improperly played for a team. IF A TEAM IS NOT LISTED IN THIS DROP DOWN, THEN A PLAYER ON THAT TEAM MAY NOT PLAY UP TO YOUR TEAM.
(c) When you are done, remember to click “Save and View/Print” and a PDF version of the form will appear for printing – note that the form will have extra lines for writing in players who are recruited last minute to play up - we understand coaches are accustomed to seeking additional players on a last minute basis and those names, pass numbers, uniform numbers and team playing up from must be entered for the referee – for this season, we are permitting/requiring coaches to return to the form WITHIN 24 HOURS of game time and you MUST add players who did in fact play up on game day. How do we monitor compliance? Referees will report if any players played up and if so, how many. A report compares the numbers reported by coaches and referees and lets us know where they do not match. If you find that you improperly used a player to play up, report it immediately to your division commissioner – your reporting of the infraction will lessen any penalties that would apply.

Fourth, there are many new features on the Match Day Form:
(a) The upper left section is already completed based upon the game number listing date, time, field, teams and flight – this solves the issue of often incomplete information.
(b) The officials’ names are printed on the form provided they are already assigned – for that reason we recommend that you WAIT until Friday to print a form for that weekend – by that time, 98% of all matches have been assigned and accepted.
(c) The upper right portion listing game times, size of ball and referee fees now contains a highlighted section for the flight of the game.
(d) The upper right also displays which team is providing this Match Day Form – EACH team provides one – the delays typical to incomplete and unsigned forms should be solved by each team providing a form – if you do not have your form, referees have been instructed not to permit the game to proceed per NCSA rules.
(e) The coaches are listed here based upon what was recorded by you.
(f) The players playing up are listed (name, pass number, uniform number, team) and you may hand write such information for this season – remember to go back to complete the same information online within 24 hours.


Scores are no longer reported via external websites or via email or telephone. The same rules apply as to who reports the score (winning team, home team if a draw), but both teams have the ability to enter a score. The same 4 hour rule applies, but for now the ability to enter a score ends after 24 hours. While we are tracking timeliness of score reporting, at this time we are allowing additional time without fines. If you miss the 24 hour window, contact your division commissioner.

NOTE: Games do not show until after they are played.
(a) Enter scores for each team.
(b) If a team was not at the field with minimum number of players within 15 minute of game time, click “yes” and indicate which team (rare situation).
(c) If one of the officials did not appear, click “yes” – this allows us to follow up with officiating crews to determine who was missing and why.
(d) You may enter a short comment for the division commissioner.
(e) You may enter scores only once – if a score is wrong, email your division commissioner.
When done, click “Save” – this will take you to the short Match Evaluation page. We hope you will complete it at that time, but if you are pressed for time, you may return to it later.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Submit Match Evaluation

Click the game number in the left column to access the evaluation form. There are 3 short, simple sections to address pre-game issues, match level and an overall evaluation of the officials. The first 2 sections allow for comments. If you wish to make comments about an official, you must complete the Detailed Referee Evaluation. We hope every coach will take the time to complete this section. You can go back and view it late by clicking the “View” link in the right column.

TEAM MANAGEMENT – Detailed Referee Evaluation

Click the game number in the left column to access the evaluation form. For a game with only 1 official (small sided), there is only 1 section to complete about the only referee. For a game with more than 1 official, there are 3 sections to complete about the center referee and both assistant referees. Each section allows 2 places for comments. We hope every coach will take the time to complete this section. Once you answer questions for a couple of games, you will see how quick and simple it is to help the league by providing your feedback. We used actual comments from coaches during Spring 2011 to discuss coach/club concerns with referees in Fall 2011 pre-season meetings. You can go back and view it late by clicking the “View” link in the right column.
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Why we over-coach, ...

Reprinted from Soccer America: Youth Soccer Insider
November 18, 2017

Why we over-coach, why we shouldn't, and how not to


by Mike Woitalla


While returning the player cards to a coach of the 9-year-olds I’d been reffing, I told him I noticed he had coached throughout the entire game, that he had not gone one minute without yelling something from the sidelines.

This was a friendly guy who didn’t get defensive about what he could have taken as criticism. So we talked for a while.

I explained that as ref, being in the middle of the field, I could hear all of his yelling, as well as the instructions that were screamed from the parents’ sideline.

He said he didn’t realize his sideline coaching had been non-stop and he hadn’t been aware of how much “coaching” was coming from the parents.

I think that’s one reason why there is so much over-coaching — they know not what they do. We have such an innate desire to see our children succeed that we don’t realize when we’re interfering with the learning process (not to mention disrupting their playtime).

We have an irresistible urge to help our children, whether they’re 6 or 16 or 26. That’s a good thing, but there are times when we need to refrain — such as when they’re playing soccer. That’s not just my opinion.

Here’s Landon Donovan in an interview with SI’sGrant Wahl commenting on high-level U.S. players:

“Some of our players, you can tell they’ve been told their whole life exactly what to do in what situation, versus understanding the circumstances of the game and how to make certain decisions. … Something that all the best countries in the world focus on: Allowing their youth players to be decision-makers, and they’re able to do it without coaches and parents yelling constantly at them on the sidelines. I think that’s a massive cultural shift that has to happen, and I’m fully aware that’s extremely difficult to change. But I’m passionate about it and dedicated to helping.”

In September I interviewed the English FA’s Head of Development Team Coaching Matt Crocker, because the English have shown remarkable improvement in youth national team play. (England won the U-20 and U-17 World Cup this year.) Here’s what he said when I asked him what the biggest mistake coaches make at the youngest levels:

“Over-coaching. To act like that Premier League coach on the sidelines trying to solve all the tactical issues in games.”

Crocker added: “Give them opportunities to learn through the environment you create rather than correcting all the time.”

For sure, coaches should coach and give advice. 2016 United Soccer Coaches National Coach of the Year Ronnie Woodard, whose Tennessee SC’s U-18 girls were the first national champs from the state, says:

“I think that we’ve all been really guilty of getting caught up in the emotion of the game, but it’s really important that we ground ourselves and force ourselves away and have the ability to sort through the happenings of what’s going on on the field at that time, what your team needs to do better, and then how you can fix that at halftime and address the situation moving forward. Start teaching and stop yelling.”

Miriam Hickey is Director of the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy. Asked on how she judges youth coaches, she said: “I’m looking for coaches who inspire their players. Who let their players make decisions. Coaches who are giving information instead of, ‘Hey that was a good job’ or just telling them what they did wrong. I believe in short information and letting the game flow.”

Dave van den Bergh, whose pro career started at Ajax Amsterdam before playing in Spain and MLS, is the coach of the U.S U-15 boys national team. On what he hopes coaching is like for players at the youngest ages:

“I just hope that the coaches let these players be themselves. I hope that they’re not trying to over-coach them. I think especially at the youngest ages it’s imperative that these boys have fun and get touches on the ball and not be so caught up on having to win the game. They need to be allowed to discover what they’re good at. These boys need to have liberty. … I’m hoping the coaches let the kids fail nine times, because the 10th time they will succeed and that will boost their confidence so much they’ll keep on doing it. We have plenty of time at the older ages to instill some tactics.”

Jitka Klimkova, coach of the U.S U-20 women’s team, says: “It doesn’t work to scream at the players. Sometimes when I see that from coaches I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed for the coach and for how the parents can deal with this kind of coaching. That style is not so effective. That’s my opinion. … My big belief is to encourage them to do the right things and not just focusing on something they struggle with.”

Sideline-coaching may be especially prevalent in the American youth soccer because of the coach-centric nature of the USA’s historically popular sports.

“Looking at all the different sports in the USA, a lot of them are coach-driven,” saidNico Romeijn, U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education. “This has to do with the character of the sport. Teaching players patterns in these sports helps them to be successful.

“Soccer is a sport that can be characterized by unpredictable situations, because of the direct contact with the opponent and the fact that the ball is hard to control. The ball is played by the feet instead of the hands, the consequence is that there will be a lot of turnovers. This is the reason that the coach must prepare the players for these unpredictable situations by creating the learning environment to experience and make autonomous decisions.”

So how to refrain from the urge to interfere when the kids are playing?

For parents:

• Would you walk into your children’s classroom and start telling them how to solve math problems? Would you yell at your kids at the playground or while they’re learning piano or trying to draw within the lines of a coloring book?

But the urge to yell at a sporting event seems almost natural. The popular method of alerting us to whether we’re cheering or instructing is a good one — if there’s a verb in it you’re over-stepping.

For coaches:

• Sit down during the game. You can buy a foldout chair for $15. I think most of us coaches have an urge to stand because of nervous energy. Or because that’s what we see pro coaches do on TV. But when sitting, you’re less likely to yell than when you’re prowling the sidelines. When you’re sitting, there’s no chance of players picking up on negative body language. (Players notice when their coach is nervous and that doesn’t help their confidence.)

Also, if you’re sitting most of the game, and there comes a time when the players really need to hear from you, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting when you do stand up.

• Instead of yelling when you see a mistake, take a note of it. Or mention it to your assistant coach. Address it not by yelling at a child who’s most likely already aware or even embarrassed by the blunder. But if you think you can help, there’s halftime or a future practice to convey advice.


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