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For Parents

Welcome to Hillsborough Soccer Club

The Hillsborough Soccer Club is a great place for your children to improve their skills, grow their abilities, and explore their love of competitive soccer. The Club offers:

  • Professional coaching--and game day--coaching to take their sklls to the next level
  • Fun, competitive soccer environment
  • Convenient, local practice sites
  • Reasonable travel distances to games

We encourage you to learn more about, and take an active role in, the Club. 

For more info or questions, read the Frequently Asked Questions or Parent Handbook on this page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The chances of my child getting a scholarship or playing professional sports is so slim, why should I introduce them to sports? 
Why have people joined the Hillsborough Soccer Club? 
How do I know if my player is ready for club/travel soccer? 
Why do people stay in the club?
Isn’t it too much of a time commitment?
How many games are there?
When are the seasons?
Can my player play only one season?
What if my player wants to play year round?
What does the club do over the summer?
What if my player plays another sport that conflicts with the soccer seasons (baseball, softball, lacrosse, football)?
How far away will we have to travel for games?
When are the games?
What does the “U” in front of the number mean?
What is “playing up” and can my player do it?
How long are games?
How much training time is there?
What if we have difficulty getting our player to a weekday evening practice, because of work demands?
Where and when are training sessions held?
Can HSC teams use the High School turf field?
Isn’t club/travel soccer too competitive?  How much playing time will my player get?
How is playing time determined?
Is this a “Win At All Costs” club?
What about Sportsmanship?
What does flighting mean?
How much will it cost to have my player in the club?
Are uniforms included in the fee?
Is there a fundraising requirement for the parents?
Who are the coaches?
What is the Background Check previously known as KidSafe?
Who are the professional trainers?
Are any members of the club’s staff, board members or officers paid?
How many players are there on a team? 
Do teams compete in tournaments?
When and where are the tournaments?
How many tournaments do teams enter?
How long do tournaments last? 
Are tournaments mandatory?
Can I help the team/club in other ways besides coaching?

 

The chances of my child getting a scholarship or playing professional sports is so slim, why should I introduce them to sports?
A study of CEO’s revealed that the majority of them participated in organized sports at some level.  There was also a Harvard Business School study of roughly 30 graduates who had become entrepreneurs, and almost all the respondents reported playing individual or team sports during their early years.  Sports participation offers many benefits transferable to non-sports activities. These include:

  • Focus
  • General health and fitness
  • Confidence gained from meeting challenges
  • Life lessons such as: Commitment, Hard Work, Perseverance and Practice lead to Rewards, Teamwork
  • Strong friendships that start young and can last for years
  • Social Skills

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Why have people joined the Hillsborough Soccer Club (HSC)?
The reasons can be as varied as the players and their parents, but some reasons that others have joined club soccer include:

  • To have fun.
  • To make friends with children with similar attitudes.
  • A chance to play with the same players on a year to year basis as are selected for the same team.
  • A chance to have the same professional coaching staff for as many seasons as possible, so my player’s talents, strengths, weaknesses and personality do not have to be re-learned by a new coach every season.
  • To play more often than once a week.
  • To develop skills in a consistent environment. 
  • To allow the player to make an impact that is appreciated.
  • To play with players who have similar levels of interest in soccer.
  • To challenge my player at a higher level.
  • A higher level of competition for my player than what they could get from recreational soccer.
  • To prepare for Middle School and High School soccer.
  • To get a higher level of coaching and professional training.
  • A chance to make friends with parents who think like I do.
  • My child loves soccer and can’t get enough of it.
  • They’re not challenged by recreational soccer anymore.
  • To help my child learn the life skills that competitive sports offers.
  • To give my child an appreciation for physical fitness.

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How do I know if my player is ready for club/travel soccer?
There are several telltale signs.  Look for some but not necessarily all of these – in no particular order:

  • They look like they are having fun when they are playing.
  • They’re one of the best players on their recreational team.
  • They look forward to practice and games.
  • They seem to have “taken to” soccer.
  • They enjoy a challenge
  • They have a “can-do” attitude.
  • They play soccer on their own, outside of recreational soccer environment.
  • They watch soccer on TV.
  • They don’t like to lose.
  • They have a big motor, that is, they have a lot of energy.
  • They have the speed of a sprinter and the endurance of a marathon runner. 
  • They are intelligent, creative, and/or logical …or you want them to be.
  • They have friends who are playing in the club.

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Why do people stay in the club?
Again the responses are as varied as the players.  The quick answer would be that they found the club offered them what they were looking for (see above questions).  The long answer would be that the club offers a place where players build a foundation for a lifelong appreciation of physical fitness, enjoy the many benefits of being part of a longstanding team, develop their strengths, work on their weaknesses, and get satisfaction from improving themselves.

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Isn’t it too much of a time commitment?
Club/Travel soccer suffers from this misconception.  It is a commitment but so is anything worthwhile.  And it is not really that much more of a commitment than other activities your child has to choose from.  If your player is ready for travel soccer, it can be great chapter in your child’s life as well as your life as a parent. 

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How many games are there?
All teams play at least 10 games in the Fall and 10 games in the Spring.  At least one 2-day tournament experience is provided by the club as well

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When are the seasons?
The 1st game in the Fall season is usually the 3rd weekend of September and the last game is usually before Thanksgiving, or the last weekend in November.  The first game in the Spring Season is usually the 3rd weekend of March and the last game is usually the 1st weekend in June.  Most teams begin practice schedules in advance of the game schedule to get ready for the season.

 

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Can my player play only one season?
The league that HSC participates in several leagues (Most often Mid-NJ) which requires registration for two seasons and HSC teams play in both Fall and Spring seasons and practice during the winter.  High School age teams usually play winter through spring.

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What if my player wants to play year round?
As a club we encourage teams to practice during the winter.   Most teams take a break between Nov 25th and Jan 1.  Most teams do winter training on a much less intense schedule and some enter winter leagues if desirable.  Summer soccer is less structured.

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What does the club do over the summer?
There are no official league games over the summer.  HSC does encourage those who are interested to participate in the many summer teams in our area. The club usually arranges fields for open play.  In addition, some teams organize individual team tournaments and camps run by professional trainers for a week. 

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What if my player plays another sport that conflicts with the soccer seasons (baseball, softball, lacrosse, football)?
This is at the coach’s discretion.  Some coach’s are fine with some practices being affected but prefer a commitment be made to games.  To use softball/baseball as an example, there are only 10 soccer games in a season but there are 20, or more, softball/baseball games, so it may be best to expect more time be devoted towards soccer.  Many of our players participate in basketball, baseball, & lacrosse programs.  Spring sports general have the most conflicts and in most cases football does not mix with soccer due to the conflicts in practice schedules.

Other coaches (typically at the upper aged groups) want a higher level of commitment to soccer from all players. 

 

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How far away will we have to travel for games?
Traditionally, half of all games are home, so 5 of the games each season, will be in town.   Most of the rest of the games are at away fields that are typically 20-45 minutes drive time from Hillsborough.   Some examples of AWAY fields include: Bridgewater, Branchburg, Montgomery, Readington, North Brunswick, East Brunswick, Hopewell, Edison, Warren.  On occasion, drive time could be at or near an hour, but this is the exception, not the rule. 

 

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When are the games?
Teams at U7 and U-8 play their games on Saturday.  All teams at U-9 and above play on Sunday.  Games can be moved to other days to accommodate the schedule of a team, at the coach’s discretion.  Game times are not fixed but typically they have start times of between Noon and 5 p.m.

 

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What does the “U” in front of the number mean?
It means that player is under a certain age (U-14 = under 14 years old).  More specifically, it means that particular player has a birthday prior to July 31st, of a specific year.  For example, as of May, 2008, a U-14 player, [for Fall ’08], would have to have a birthday on or prior to July 31, 1995.  All you need to do is have a birth certificate to prove age and the club can place the player in the right age group.   See the website for specific dates that correspond to each age group.

 

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What is “playing up” and can my player do it?
Playing up means the player’s age would place them in a certain age group [say U-9] but they have the skills to be able to “play up” on an older team [say a U-10 team].   Playing up is at the approval of the coaching director. 

 

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How long are games?
Games for U-7 and U-8 are 50 minutes: 4 quarters.  U-9 and U 10 are 60 minutes: 15 minute quarters.  U-11 and U-12 are 70 minutes: 30 minute halves.  U-13 and U-14 are 70 minutes: 35 minute halves.      U-15 thru U-16 are 80 minutes; 40 minute halves. U-17 thru U-19 are 90 minutes; 45 minute halves.

 

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How much training time is there?
The training practice schedule is coordinated with the professional trainers schedule by the club and parent coach. Team are scheduled to train twice a week with the professional trainer.  Some higher level teams have 3 practices a week which if conducted by the professional trainer will incur an additional cost.  

 

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What if we have difficulty getting our player to a weekday evening practice, because of work demands?
Carpools are lifesavers for most parents.  Chances are that your player will have a teammate who lives near you and mutually beneficial schedules are routinely worked out between the parents.  

 

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Where and when are training sessions held?
Various fields within Hillsborough.  Check with your coach regarding location.

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Isn’t club/travel soccer too competitive?  How much playing time will my player get?
It is club policy that on younger teams (U7-U11), coaches play everyone at least a half of the game because these teams are described as “instructional”.   Depending on the roster size and the skill level of the team members, every player may not get equal playing time.  It is important to note that as a travel team, the level of competition is higher and there is an expectation that the players who are playing at a higher level will play more.  At U-12 and above, the teams are no longer “instructional”, they are “competitive”.

 

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How is playing time determined?
Naturally most professional trainers/coaches will evaluate players based on their physical skills and their general fitness.  However, also very important is a player’s attitude and how committed they are, for example: to practices, to effort, to doing their best and to trying to get better.  

 

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Is this a “Win At All Costs” club?
As a travel club, winning is important to players because competitive players gravitate to club soccer.  However, while some coaches and some teams are more competitive than others, most coaches approach the game with the attitude that they will “strive to win” but not take the win at all costs approach.

 

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What about Sportsmanship?
All coaches, players and parents are required to sign a pledge to maintain sportsmanship.  It’s called S.A.G.E. for “Set A Good Example” and a sample is available on the website.

 

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What does flighting mean?
Teams will be placed in a flight that corresponds to its competitiveness.  Flight 1 comprises the most competitive teams and as the flight number increases, the level of play is less competitive.   For a given age group there may be as many as 10 flights.  Teams are placed in a given flight to try to make the games competitive.  Ideally if your team is in the right flight, it will win half its games and lose the other half.  If a team is undefeated it means it should be playing in a “higher flight” - flight 2 instead of flight 3.  If it is winless, it should be playing in a “lower flight” – flight 5 instead of flight 4. Teams are re-flighted after every season.  This is intended to allow a team to play at its most appropriate competitive level.   The coach requests a flight and the league determines where a team should play, based on win/loss record, goals scored, etc

 

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Is there a fundraising requirement for the parents?
The club no longer has fundraisers, however, individual teams may do their own fundraising with the approval of the HSC Board Ways & Means director.

 

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What is the Background Check previously known as KidSafe?
This is a program required by state statute that all HSC coaches must participate in.  Each coach will have his/her record checked against state polic records for criminal history.  If an approval  is not issued, the coach cannot coach in HSC. 

 

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Who are the professional trainers?
The club provides funding for professional training and the Coaching Director and Board of Directors decides which professional trainer to use.   

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Are any members of the club’s staff, board members or officers paid?
The HSC is a 100% volunteer organization.  Only professional trainers are paid.

 

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How many players are there on a team?
For the small-sided teams (U-7 thru U-11), the maximum roster size is 14 players.  For these ages, there are 7 field players plus the goalkeeper.  These teams play on a field that is smaller than a full field. The roster size of a given team is at the Coaching Directors discretion, but it is not unusual to carry the maximum. 

For full-sided (U-12 and above), the maximum roster size is 18.  For these ages, there are 10 field players plus the goalkeeper.  These teams play on a full field.  Again, how many are carried on the roster is at the Coaching Director's discretion, but it is not unusual to carry the maximum.

 

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Do teams compete in tournaments?
The HSC encourages teams to participate in tournaments.  These are in addition to the 10-game season.  The club funds a dollar figure that can be applied to [only] tournaments.  The team is not restricted to that dollar figure.  Each team decides how to spend these tournament dollars and also how many tournaments to enter.  Fees above the club contributed amount, are the team’s responsibility.

 

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When and where are the tournaments?
This is at the coach’s discretion, but there are tournaments in NJ: Hopewell, Hazlet, East Brunswick, Branchburg, Bridgewater and many other places.  Some of them are over the holiday weekends, for example: Columbus Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day.  Some teams have also gone out of state to PA.[Hershey], Virginia, Delaware, & NY.

 

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How many tournaments do teams enter?
This is at the coach’s discretion, but most teams enter at least one tournament per season.

 

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How long do tournaments last?
Typically they cover 2 or 3 days and there are 3-4 (total) games involved.

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Are tournaments mandatory?
This is at the coach’s discretion.  They are not part of the regular season game schedule but they are enjoyable for the players.  Club registration pays the entrance fee and professional coach fee for 1 local tournament per year with dollar limits based upon age group.

They see new teams and a have a chance to win participation awards or trophies (only U-11 and above). 

 

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Can I help the team/club in other ways besides coaching?
Absolutely!  Team parents are critical to a successful team and club.  Team parents can help with uniforms, parties, tournaments, scheduling and hundreds of “other little things” that mount up.  This is a volunteer organization so help is needed at all levels of the club.     

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