What is the difference between Portage Parks soccer and Portage Soccer Club?
- Portage Parks soccer is played locally and teams are supposed to be balanced. It is purely recreational.
Portage Soccer Club is part of Northwest Indiana Soccer League (NWISL), and subject to their rules. NWISL also sets the schedule. Teams come from all over Northwest Indiana and there is some travel involved (up to an hour away.)
Scores and standings are kept, and trophies are awarded to the first, second, and third place team in each division. Teams are placed in competitive divisions by the league. While Portage Parks is categorized as recreational soccer, PSC is categorized as rec-plus, which means we are a step above recreational soccer.
We do not have try-outs, and do not turn players away due to lack of ability. The only reason we turn players away is if we do not have the necessary number of players to form a team or we do not have a coach for a team.
What are these divisions?
- The divisions are based on the strength of the teams, with gold being the strongest. Play is the most competitive in the gold division, and gets less competitive with each lower division. This is so all players, no matter what their ability, can play in competitive games.
How are teams placed in divisions?
- That is done by the league, based on past records for established players, and also club recommendations.
How are players placed on teams?
- The PSC board places players on teams prior to each season. Each season, we try to form teams with players of the same age and grade.
What are the age divisions?
- We currently have Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, and Under 14. This means the player is under the given age before July 31 of that year. Each age bracket is obviously two years, so there are older teams, which will move up to the next age bracket the following year, and younger teams which will remain in the age bracket another year.
Are teams co-ed?
- We make every attempt to keep boys and girl separate. NWISL provide Boy and Girl divisions. However, there are invariable circumstances that come up from time to time, which may impact the Club's or NWISL's ability to achieve this.
What are the game durations?
- For U8 and U10 - two 25 minute halves.
U12 - two 30 minutes halves
U14 - two 35 minutes halves.
What Ball Size do the teams use?
- U8 - Ball #3
U10 & U12 - Ball #4
U14 - Ball #5
Who coaches for PSC?
- Our coaches are all volunteers. Most have soccer experience, but all are learning each season. We are very appreciative of the time they put in. Quite frankly, some of our coaches have agreed to coach only because we begged them to and there would be a group of children who would not get to play soccer if they did not take the team. We help them as much as we can, but it is a big responsibility, and we are lucky to have them. More and more people are unwilling to take on this responsibility. We have many excellent coaches in PSC, but if you are expecting professional coaching you should look into a premiere club and be prepared to pay more.
What if I have a concern about my child's coach?
- Of course you should contact a PSC board member. We want to know about playing time issues, inappropriate language, unsportsmanlike behavior, etc. If, however, you are wanting to complain about your coaches effectiveness as a coach please remember that our coaches are volunteers and we take them as they are, experienced or not. If you are not willing to take on this responsibility yourself, or are not offering to help them, please reconsider your complaint.
Can I choose the team my child will play on?
Can my child play outside of their age group?
- We are bound to follow the rules/policies of NWISL, which determine the circumstances that are allowed for a player to "play up," a player may never "play down."
If we have a group of kids who want to play together can we put together our own team?
What if I only want my child to play for a certain coach or on a certain team?
- Simply put, there are no guarantees. You can make your preference known to the board, but we cannot promise that we will be able to honor it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not. The factors mentioned before (age, grade, numbers, etc.) take precedence over requests. This is done to be as fair as possible to all of the players in PSC. You must remember that while you are concerned about your one child, or your child's one team, we must be equally concerned about every member of our club teams.
Can we sign up and pull our child out if we are not happy with the team our child is on?
- Of course you can quit, but you need to understand what that means. When we put together teams and submit them to the league we have very little ability to make any further changes. If you quit after that time you could be leaving a team short of players, and therefore penalizing all of the other players on that team. We would rather you view signing up to play as a commitment to play for the club for that season.
If there is a problem with a coach or another player let someone on the PSC board know and we will address it. Also, once we have submitted our teams to the league you will not receive a refund because we have already payed for them to play. Also, uniform sales are final.
Do teams stay the same from season to season?
- Sometimes, but that is never guaranteed. Most often changes are made due to changes in the number of players that sign up from one season to the next. Sometimes it is necessary to move players from one team to another. Also, each season new players sign up who also must be placed on teams. Some seasons require little or no changes, while others need more.
Can I register late?
- We will accept registrations after the cutoff date, but there is no guarantee that your child will get placed on a team. That is totally dependent on our numbers and whether there are any openings available. Sometimes we need more players to fill a team, and sometimes our numbers are so bad we have to tell someone who signed up on time that they cannot play. This happens when we have enough players to fill one or more team rosters with some left over that are not enough to form another team. When this happens, the players who signed up last do not get to play. We go to great lengths to allow as many players as possible the chance to play, but sometimes the numbers are such that it cannot be worked out.
Can non-residents play for Portage Soccer Club?
- The vast majority of players in PSC are Portage Township School students. There are occasionally players that do not live in Portage and do not have a local club team. If there is a local club team, a waiver must be obtained per NWISL policy.
What equipment does my child need to participate?
The following equipment is needed to play in our program:
- Uniform consisting of a jersey, shorts, and socks.
- Shin guards are mandatory and must be worn at every game and practice. They can be purchased from a retail or sports store.
- Soccer shoes should be worn and can be purchased at retail or sports stores. Soccer shoes have rubber cleats. Soccer shoes differ from other cleated shoes in that they do not have a front toe cleat. Cleats under the front edge of the shoe (ex. baseball cleats) are illegal for reasons of safety.
- Water bottle should be brought to practices and games.
- Every player must bring a soccer ball to practice and to the games. The recommended sizes are as follows:
- U8 -size 3
- U10 & U12 - size 4
- U14 - size 5
When are games played?
- The fall season starts around the same time as school, and the spring season begins around mid-April. Games are played on pretty much every Sunday during the season, and some Saturdays. There tend to be more Saturday games in the spring. This is determined by NWISL which we are a part of, and we have no control over it.
Where are games played?
- Half of the games are played at the Portage Soccer Complex. The other half of the games are away games, played in one of the other towns in NWISL. Some are nearby, such as Chesterton, Ogden Dunes and Valparaiso, and some are further away, such as LaPorte, Michigan City, Lowell, and Schererville. Since we play eight or ten games a season this means you travel for four or five games. Which teams you play varies from season to season.
When do teams practice?
- Teams typically practice two or three nights a week, one to one and a half hours. The coach sets the days and times. Practices start a couple of weeks prior to the first game.
Are there tournaments?
- At the end of the spring season there is a tournament which lasts for two weekends, usually until the second weekend in June. It is single elimination, which means teams play until they lose. There is no tournament in the fall.