Guest players taking over rosters?

Discussion in 'NorCal Scene' started by occams_razor, May 23, 2018.

  1. occams_razor

    occams_razor New Member

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    Is it reasonable for guest players from the top flight of a club to guest play on the lower teams for the sake of winning? I mean to the point where they get 100% playing time? A friend's 10 year old girl was basically benched for 80% of her games because of the addition of three "guest" players for a tournament. I was told there were some pretty irate parents and threats of kids leaving especially since the team didn't win any games.

    I personally haven't seen this before, but I could understand if your kid was the in the bottom third and lost playing time to non-paying players. I'm assuming it was done for arbitrary gotsoccer ranking points, but maybe it was just a diabolical way to clear the roster for the following season.
  2. ballistic

    ballistic Member

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    Smaller clubs, I've seen this all the time, but not purely for the sake of winning--there were legitimate needs to have additional players for certain games/tournaments, and there was not a lower ranked team that could guest play "up" to fill the need. In the instances I saw/my kids took part in, it was not as though the top team players or parents were pushing to play for a lower team that didn't play as fast or move the ball around as much, rather it was doing a favor for the club because the lower team didn't have enough subs for the games/tournament.

    And when the higher ranked kids played "down", they played a lot. It was hard for the coaches to bring them off the field because the disparity was apparent, and they wanted to win the games. Also, if the coaches don't play the higher-ranked kids a good amount, it's likely that "no one will be available to play down that day" next time there is a need.

    Bigger clubs don't need to do this. They always have a lower team that can move a guest player up to a slightly higher one, the big clubs don't care if the absolute lowest ranked team loses games due to no subs, and status matters to parents/kids--they all want to guest play with, move to or stay on the highest ranked teams, and playing with the lower teams could only hurt their chances if there's not much of a disparity there.
  3. occams_razor

    occams_razor New Member

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    My understanding is that this team had a lower tier team of the same age. The club is not small with at least 3 teams at each age. That the coach basically brought in "ringers" at the expense of the rostered kids. Like I mentioned earlier, the team did not win any games at the tournament. I would think there would be less of a problem with the parents if they actually won something. Still doesn't appear right however.

    I do not buy that players will not guest if they don't play a good amount. 100% is far more than "good". And at 10 years old a lot of the kids are there for social reasons anyways. If the parents do not think their time is worth it, I'm sure there will be other more dedicated willing parents available.

    I would think that a smart coach would know if her team was overmatched before they entered the tournament and no amount of ringers would have helped. Ultimately it may be that the team was simply playing at the wrong level in the tournament, and somebody didn't want to be embarrassed.
  4. College Coach

    College Coach Member

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    pathetic.
    complain to club.
    if club is not upset with this or supports, change clubs.
    coach lost the team already if this happened.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    Big clubs do this too. I've seen it at occasionally at MVLA. Most often it isn't to win, exactly, but to have enough players to play realistically. Usually these higher-level players are better conditioned and used to a quicker pace, so they have the physical ability to play longer than the lower level players.

    Regardless, the problem is entirely with the coach who made the playing time decisions. I know he wants to win, but if you aren't competitive, you shouldn't be playing in the tournament at that level. If the ringers make it so you would blow away the competition, then you should be playing them in defensive positions, or at goalie or whatever.

    Bad coach. Find a new team. Life is too short to mess around.
  6. soccerislife

    soccerislife Active Member

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    Old CYSA when teams used to play there had a rule saying "you can only guest at same level or above. 1st team players couldn't guest down". It lasted for awhile but teams who were really short, got stuck so thy changed it a bit. Clubs take advantage of this all over region 2. The biggest one was force when they had force south and north. Force would go guest with north, south with north, etc. Everyone eventually complained and now I believe force north passes say north and not just force. Anyways, it happen a lot and will continue to happen with some places. I have no problem if bottom of first team guests with 2nd team to get more minutes but top 5 kids shouldn't guest down.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. ECNL

    ECNL Well-Known Member

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    I have seen clubs guest play down their ECNL players on to their 2nd team to help them qualify for the NPL. It happens
  8. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    The even older CYSA guesting rules were even more strict than that--no guesting for league games, period. End of discussion.

    For tournaments, there was a mess of paperwork to fill out way in advance that the central office would approve. It was a hassle and required planning months in advance.

    Then Norcal came along with these "anyone in the club who is otherwise age and gender eligilbe" guesting rules, and CYSA liberalized to the set mentioned above. (Guesting down, OK, guesting up, not OK.)

    These are reasonably good rules in theory, but in practice, clubs circumvented them by registering only the bare minimum of players at the higher levels, and registering full rosters at lower levels. The lower-registered players were on the higher level teams from everyone's perspective but CYSA. They could guest any way they wanted.

    At one point, there were even a few pure "paper teams" that never played any games together, but were registered in such a way that players on the teams could guest for any team in the club of the right gender.

    This was a disaster from the rule's perspective, and now we have the more liberal rules.

    As annoying as I often find Norcal's club-protections, these liberal guesting rules changed youth soccer in Northern California for the better--and very much so.

    It does open the door for shenanigans like the OP's mess, and can dilute the purity of the competition for the weaker teams--especially for the small-club bronze-level team who just wants a reasonable shot at winning a tournament but runs into a big club with players guesting down.

    Unfortunately, fixing them in an enforceable way is extremely difficult.
  9. SoccerMommaInEG

    SoccerMommaInEG New Member

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    And that is basically cheating (IMO)...so ridiculous that a team does that to win, but can't sustain the level of play on their own. If you need to do that, then you shouldn't be playing NPL. If you look at a team's record and they are NPL and aren't in the top 3-4, or even 5 of their bracket and they guest play same age ECNL players down to win - don't you think that says something about that team? Norcal definitely needs to improve the regulation of this.


  10. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    The problem is that such roster restrictions are hard to enforce. Especially when the two teams have different registration authorities, as ECNL and NPL do.
    Assume that both registration authorities allow twenty players on the roster.

    If a club has only twenty players, it could register all of them for both leagues.

    Under that registration scenario, who is guesting where?

    If it has twenty-one, it could register one for ECNL only, one for NPL only, and the remaining nineteen for both.
    If the club has 30 players, it can register 10 ECNL only, 10 NPL only, and 10 both.

    Who is guesting where?

    If the club has 39 players, it can register 19 ECNL only, 19 NPL only, and one both.

    Who is guesting where?

    It's not really cheating either. A team is a team, and if you have players registered to your team, they are your team's players. If I have a major stud on the roster who only plays on Saturdays after a full moon, and your team runs into mine on one of those days, well, then that's life.

    This is the problem with having multiple registration authorities. But the advantages far, far, outweigh the disadvantages, as anyone who lived through the bureaucratic nightmares of the pre-Norcal CYSA registration rules will agree.

    These rules also allow clubs to form far more teams than they otherwise would. A team with only twelve players on the roster isn't sustainable if they can't guest from other teams around them, but it happens more more now than it used to, precisely because a club can find someone else in a pinch.

    There is no good administrative solution. Strict guesting rules were an abject failure and one of the biggest reasons Norcal ate CYSA's lunch. Any attempt to adopt them is doomed to failure.

    The only hope is for coaches and clubs to do the right thing, which many don't.
  11. dk_b

    dk_b Well-Known Member

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    @psyclone is a wily ol' veteran. What's described are the days of the laminated goldenrod CYSA rosters, when spring soccer was almost a myth and the norm was that kids played multiple sports. ODP was king and State Cup was pretty darn tough - you'd train for one 3-game weekend and HOPE you'd win your group or that would be that (my son's team lost to FC Bullard, going 2-1 in group play, two years running, while watching Bullard go 3-0. May I never step foot in Fresno! (not true. there are some delightful people there))

    NorCal offering spring soccer and NorCal/US Club liberalizing guesting rules - w/in and outside the club - was an enormous disruption. It marked the end of the Class I/Class III distinction and the dilution of talent where smaller clubs would still keep players (like the 80/580 corridor) but now lose them more regularly to larger clubs. Yet, I agree with @psyclone that it was for the better. The old rigidity of CYSA was terrible and I think more opportunities to guest is a HUGE improvement (though I can't stand when it is manipulated at the expense of lower-flighted kids and teams)
  12. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    "Wily ol' veteran" is just a kind way of saying, "Old as the hills." ;)

    And yeah, there were some pretty bitter State Cup teams who didn't advance out of pool play on the third tie-breaker.

    Also, good point on the Spring soccer also helping Norcal win.

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