Mariner's League Policy Regarding Fall SoccerUpdated Sunday April 5, 2015 by Hal Rood.
What is the Fall Travel LEAGUE?
The Fall Travel League (formerly called CRANBERRY) is a Southcoast travelling soccer league which takes place in the Fall season. Mariner and other organizations around the Southeastern Massachusetts have the ability to form teams to participate in the Fall Travel League and travel to other towns to play each other. However, Fall Travel League is not a competitive league. No records are kept by the league as to who won or lost. When the last game of the season is completed, there are no playoffs or championship games. The league is simply designed to offer players more opportunities to play soccer. A good way to look at the Fall Travel League is as a travelling Recreational League. Games are generally played on Saturday afternoon anywhere from Orleans to Rehoboth - Norton to Nantucket.
How does Fall Travel League fit in with MARINER?
Interclub Recreational Soccer is Mariner's main objective in the Fall. Mariner's goal is to have as many children as possible be exposed to soccer during this season. The mixture of skill levels and competitive intensity benefits all involved. This fact separates us from other organizations that are more focused on competitive soccer such as the MaPLe League. Mariner does field competitive teams, but those competitive teams are fielded in the Spring. In contrast to the Fall Travel League, the Spring South Coast Soccer League does have playoffs which can qualify teams to play in the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC) in Lancaster, Massachusetts. Since Recreational Soccer is the primary concern of the Fall season at Mariner, if a Fall Travel game or practice conflicts with a Recreational game or practice, the player must attend the Recreational game or practice unless permission is obtained from the Recreational Coach allowing the player to attend the Fall Travel game or practice. It should be pointed out that when players enter U13, there is no longer the requirement that they play Rec Soccer, they can play just Fall Travel Soccer and still be a part of Mariner.
Why doesn't Mariner field a truly competitive team in the Fall?
Mariner's mission statement indicates: "THE MARINER YOUTH SOCCER ORGANIZATION IS A RECREATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE DEDICATED TO TEACHING THE GAME OF SOCCER TO BOTH GIRLS AND BOYS FROM AGES 4 - 15. THE FOCUS OF OUR LEAGUE IS ON LEARNING AND HAVING FUN. WE STRIVE TO GIVE PLAYERS EQUAL PLAYING TIME AND EXPOSURE TO ALL FIELD POSITIONS." There is an option for competitive play in the fall through the Massachusetts Premier League (MAPLE). According to MAPLE's mission: "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. WE TAKE, AS A REASONABLE MEASURE OF OUR SUCCESS, OUR TEAMS' SUCCESSES AT REGIONALS AND TOURNAMENTS THROUGHOUT THE U.S. AND ABROAD." The two organizations simply exist for different purposes and it is very hard for a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization to accomplish both. That means that our players, depending on their skill level and level of interest may have to make a choice depending on their needs and desires. Some Mariner soccer players also play for organizations that participate in the MAPLE League which is usually a year-long commitment. Mariner has decided to maintain the focus on our Mission, keeping fall soccer recreational.
How are teams created?
Unlike the Recreational League where the Board oversees the creation of teams or the Spring Competitive League where the Board requires tryouts to be held by each coach, Mariner's Board does not create Fall Travel teams. The Board entertains requests from coaches to put teams together, and where appropriate, authorizes those teams and facilitates the process with the Fall Travel League. The responsibility for putting teams together is on those coaches who wish to create a team. All Fall Travel players must be members of Mariner Soccer and must play Recreational Soccer on Saturday mornings at Mariner unless they have aged out of the Recreational requirement.
Why are there no Tryouts?
At Mariner, the Fall Travel League was originally and primarily instituted by the Coaches to give additional playing time AS A TEAM to their Spring Competitive Teams. Individual coaches brought the Fall Travel League to Mariner. The coaches take on the primary responsibility of running their Fall Travel teams. As such, the coaches get to determine who is on their teams. Mariner supports the Fall Travel League in appreciation of the coaches who volunteer their time and energy to make Mariner possible. As such, any coach or individual from Mariner who wants to have the opportunity to play more soccer and is willing to do the work to create and maintain a team, is eligible to create and maintain a team and determine who is on their team. For example, if a Spring Competitive Coach wants to keep his or her team playing together in the fall with the Fall Travel League, he or she can do that as long as his or her players want to play.
Why aren't the most competitive players chosen?
Many players only want to play soccer in the Fall. They have other interests in the Spring, such as softball, lacrosse and baseball. Mariner acknowledges and accepts this fact. However, those individuals have to realize that a coach who is volunteering their time in an attempt to make a strong Spring competitive team may not want to spend time with players who are not going to play soccer in the Spring. It is the coaches' volunteered time.
What are the Board's Responsibilities to the Fall Travel Teams?
At the end of each Spring Season, the Board shall send an email to all individuals who have a valid email in the Mariner database reminding them that Fall Travel is played in the fall and if they are interested in forming a team they should (1) review this policy on the Mariner Website and (2) find coaches who may be interested in forming a Fall Travel team. Any individual who states that he or she wants to form a Fall Travel Team must submit a request to the Board to allow the formation of that team. If the request is authorized by the Board, the individual must submit a full roster for such team with the requisite number of players and a coach to the Board by July 15 of the year in question. Mariner will submit any duly created and authorized team to the Southcoast Fall Travel League for scheduling. Mariner will also facilitate the procurement of all necessary league information, soccer uniforms, and any other information, authorizations, etc needed for the team to participate in the Fall Travel League. The Board maintains the right to decline any individual coaches or players from participating in any Fall Travel League game or games in Mariner's name for whatever reason, in its sole discretion. The Board further maintains the right to forfeit any and all of any Fall Travel Teams' games for whatever reason, in its sole discretion. Such reasons may include, but are not limited to, (1) a player not playing Recreational games or attending Recreational practices as described herein, and/or (2) asking a player to skip a Recreational game or practice as examples. The Board also may waive certain restrictions that would normally be on a player, coach or team if the situation warrants such a waiver. In the past, waivers have been allowed for players from other organizations who don't have Fall Travel Teams to participate under Mariner's name so long as they pay all the same fees as a Mariner player pays and keeps up with their morning Rec Soccer.
What are the Responsibilities of a Fall Travel League Player?
Each player participating in the Fall Travel leagues shall be responsible to pay such fees as set by the Board and from time to time adjusted. Each player shall be responsible for the cost of his or own uniform. Each player shall be responsible for meeting all of his or her Recreational League requirements including attending his or her Recreational practices and games or obtaining permission from his or her Recreational coach to miss a scheduled game or practice and still participate in a Fall Travel League game or practice. Any player who has decided not to play in the Fall Travel League due to financial constraints should contact the President before making such a determination. The Board or the President can usually waive fees and supply uniforms due to the financial needs of an individual player. Players should be aware that the playing time rules that are in effect for Rec Soccer do not apply to Fall Travel Soccer. Equal playing time is not mandated.