NYSA has established the following policy to determine if it is appropriate for a player to play up.
Parents must submit a written request to the NYSA president and board of directors by the halfway point of the previous season. This means that if the player is attempting to play up in the fall, they must submit a request before the 5th game of the spring season.
The parent will be sent a questionnaire to complete and return.
Player feedback will be collected from current and past coaches around ability, maturity, playing style, stamina, and attitude. This feedback will be considered a recommendation to proceed or not proceed with the process.
The player must participate in a practice with a team in the requested level 1-2 times. Feedback from the coach running the practice will be collected.
If the requested level requires a tryout (U12 and U14), the player must participate in the tryout for that level. The player must have a combined placement score from the tryout and standard end-of-season coach evaluation that would place them in the top 50% of the A Team (not the entire grade) in the grade above their actual grade in a grade divided league structure, or in the top 20% of a mixed grade league structure. A player is not permitted to play up two grades in a divided league structure. League structure is determined by the travel directors and can change from year to year.
Players will not displace promising age appropriate players on high level teams in tiered levels (U12 and U14). The NYSA board of directors and travel directors will determine player placement and give precedence to age appropriate players with similar placement scores. No players playing up are permitted to play on any team other than the top two in each level.
The NYSA board of directors will have final say on all requests and if the request is approved, will submit the request to ECYSA for final approval for travel leagues (U12 and U14). It must be emphasized that the board takes into consideration multiple factors in addition to skill when determining whether or not a player can play up such as strength of skill in grade above, number of registered players in the grade above, attitude and sportsmanship of the player.
When a "playing up" player enters the U12 division early, he or she is strongly encouraged to rejoin his/her grade level peers the following year.
This process must be repeated every year as players are not allowed to play up indefinitely if they have played up for one season.
Before making your request, please review the following information:
NYSA highly encourages all players to play at their appropriate age level. In rare situations, players will be allowed to "play up" but this is extremely uncommon and requires players to complete the process outlined in the playing up policy. For U12 and U14 travel leagues, ECYSA has final approval rights for requests.
When considering the "play up" possibility, please keep the following in mind:
Safety is our #1 concern. Players will not be considered if they would be put in an unsafe situation. While wrestling with older larger siblings might be safe, playing a competitive sport with strangers several years older than a player is not the same.
Playing up requires a player to be phsyically, mentally, and emotionally mature. They will potentially be playing with and against physically superior players on a larger field with a larger ball and at a level that is more intense. They also could be practicing more times each week and for longer periods of time. Players must be able to handle all, not just some of this.
Being a standout at a player's appropriate level builds confidence for the player. They may not achieve this if they play up.
Playing up does not mean the player will play on the most advanced team on the level they are playing up to (for tiered levels only). They will be subject to the same placement procedures as all players.
Players that play up one season are not guaranteed to be allowed to play up in the future as players grow, change and progress at varying rates.
Reasons players might play up:
Their size or physical ability is creating an unsafe situation at their current level.
They are dominating at their current level. Dominating can be defined as controlling the ball for over 50% of each game or scoring 75% of their team's goals.
The player is age and physically appropriate for the level above.
Numbers are low in the level above.
The player desires to play with friends or siblings.
The player has played up in the past.
The player wants to play with "better" players to help them improve.