MVLA Soccer Club: Frequently Asked Questions

Registration

MVLA has shifted to a single registration cycle to cover fall and spring soccer seasons. Registration will occur annually in July/August. Since the majority of our club members play in both the fall and spring seasons, having one registration cycle simplifies payments for our families and enables MVLA to consolidate fees and efficiently plan for the year. Each player is required to register with MVLA before the first practice of the fall season. You will receive an email specific to your player to register.

The non-refundable deposit is requested in May and secures a spot in the club but not on a specific team. After tryouts in early May, coaches finalize rosters and movements may occur. The deposit of $450 is applied towards your registration fees and will show as a credit on your invoice when you register during the summer and select a payment option. You will receive the full $450 credit regardless of whether you participate in fall season only or both fall and spring soccer seasons.

Your deposit secures a spot for your player on the team indicated on the deposit email. However, player movement may be necessary after tryouts. If a change occurs and your player is not satisfied with the change, you may request a refund of your deposit.

Please see our refund policy. Our refund policy is very strict as a player’s acceptance has the effect of denying another player an opportunity to play on an MVLA team. Additionally, MVLA incurs costs each time a player registers to play soccer (administrative, staff, insurance, etc.). These costs increase over time, so refunds will be reduced accordingly. The date of withdrawal notification to the club affects the refund amount that may be considered.

All requests for refunds must be sent via email to admin@mvlasc.org, indicating your intent to withdraw. The time and date of the email will be indicative of whether or not you are eligible for a refund.

If a player becomes seriously ill or injured and cannot participate for the remainder of the season, a partial refund minus the non-refundable deposit will be issued. Appropriate documentation must be provided. Please see our refund policy.

You may opt your player out of the spring season by sending us an email by November 30. If you paid in full, we will refund you 50%. If you selected to pay by installment, you will not be charged for the spring portion.

The club requires certain documents to be uploaded to your player’s Byga account in order to purchase player passes. These documents are required at the time of registration and should be uploaded to Byga:

When these documents are in place, the Ops Staff can request the player pass.

Fees

Club fees mainly cover membership, coaching, technical development, referees, fields, league fees, staff and player passes, etc. and varies for each team based on their competitive level and age group. For a complete list of what's included in MVLA club fees, please go to our Fees page.

Team expenses include tournament registration fees, coach travel expenses, and some additional expenses such as the team's end-of-season party, coach gift, first aid kit, team bench if needed, etc. Team fees are usually paid by team managers and everyone on the team is required to reimburse them in a timely manner.

MVLA Soccer Club provides a need-based financial aid program to help cover club registration fees. The program does not cover uniforms, tournaments, travel, lodging, apparel or miscellaneous expenses. If you would like to apply for financial aid, please visit our Financial Aid page on our website. Returning Financial Aid recipients will need to complete a new application form annually and submit current paperwork. If your application is approved, we will make adjustments to your invoice. For questions about MVLA’s Financial Aid Program, please contact financial.aid@mvlasc.org.

You will still need to pay a deposit. However, we can make adjustments to your deposit amount. If you are a returning financial aid recipient or plan to apply for financial aid, please contact admin@mvlasc.org.

MVLA is a volunteer-based, non-profit entity. We rely on our parent volunteers to manage this organization of 40+ coaches, 90+ teams, and 1200+ players. Every family is required to contribute 6 volunteer hours a season per player (12 hours annually). We understand the difficulties of contributing time for some families, so we offer a buy-out option.

For $250 per player annually, you can fulfill this obligation. The $250 volunteer fee is added to every player's balance during registration. At the end of the season, families who contributed 6 hours per season per player (12 hours annually) will be reimbursed. All members will receive communication about volunteer opportunities and reimbursement instructions throughout the season. Please check the Volunteer Page of our website for more information.

Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Volunteer Hours Reimbursement Request Deadline is June 15, 2020. Please visit our Volunteer page for more info on the Volunteer Program. Approved volunteer roles are those for which sign-up opportunities are available through i volunteer, approved team manager roles, or other designated club-wide roles. If you have any questions about completing the form, please contact the volunteer coordinator at volunteers@mvlasc.org prior to submitting it.

Byga

Byga is the system used by MVLA and other clubs for registration, scheduling, and all communications. Byga also provides many other tools for the coaches and staff, such as tryouts management, team assignments, staff and player feedback, and reporting of game results. Families use Byga to see the team practice and game schedules, communicate with the team, and indicate player availability. It is expected that families keep their player’s availability for practices and games up to date in Byga as coaches use this information to plan for training sessions and games. 

Log into your Byga account (mvlasc.byga.net). If you are a new family, you were provided an invitation to set up a user account when you signed up for tryouts or when you registered.

Please use the “Forgot password” link in the login screen (mvlasc.byga.net) and follow the instructions to reset your password.

Yes. Download the Byga mobile app to your devices.

●     Click here to download Byga from the Apple App Store

●     Click here to download Byga

Sync your Byga calendar with your other calendars from either the mobile or web app (instructions here).

A parent / guardian with an account may invite another family member as an additional contact for their player.  Add all relevant contacts for your player (instructions here).

Update your home address or email by going into Byga's dashboard and click on the dropdown arrow next to your name on the top right corner and select My Account.

You will need to go to an active invoice in Byga and change the credit card for the next payment. Please contact admin@mvlasc.org if you need assistance.

Refer to this Instruction Sheet if you’d like more detailed information. For Byga technical support, contact support@byga.net.

Uniforms

After you register, the Ops Staff will assign a jersey number to your player. We generally do not duplicate jersey numbers within an age group.

After you register, the Ops Staff will send you a link to MyUniform for you to purchase the required items. The jersey number and the required uniform items will be indicated in the MyUniform account. Each family is responsible for ordering, paying, and picking up uniforms for their own player. ProSoccer can ship items to your home for an additional fee. You can visit the ProSoccer store (ProSoccer, 1235 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, (650) 599-9900) to try on sizes. Practice jerseys are required for all training sessions.

 

Returning players can re-order uniforms using the same My Uniform link and password.  Go to: https://www.soccerprouniform.com/account/signin. Username is your email address. If you don't remember your password, click on "Forgot Password".

Our uniforms generally change every two years. Our next new uniform cycle will start in Fall 2020.

Generally, MVLA teams will wear their blue jerseys and blue socks at home games and white jerseys and white socks at away games. Always bring both sets to all games. The home team is obligated to change if there is a conflict. However, ECNL rules are opposite (home team wears white, away team wears dark). Also, some tournaments are reverse (home team wears white, away team wears dark), so managers should always check the tournament rules.

Visit our MVLA Spirit Store on the MVLA website. You can also purchase items at any of our pop-up spirit wear events which are advertised to the club.

Yes. Mention you are with MVLA Soccer Club and you will receive a discount in the store (not applicable for uniforms).

Practices

For all our teams, we won't know the exact days & times of practices until closer to the start of the fall or spring season, unfortunately. Many things need to be taken into consideration when scheduling all of our teams' practices, including the fields we have available to us (which many are managed and assigned to us by the city and school districts). After receiving our field allocations from the city, only then can we schedule MVLA practices which are based around the coaches’ schedules (such as their other teams’ practice schedule). Most practices are held in the Mountain View/Los Altos area.

Practices are 2-3 times a week depending on age and level of the team. Additional technical sessions will be offered for players who want more.

We try hard to keep the teams on the same days, but sometimes a few teams will need to shift days. We try to avoid that, but It just depends on what fields we are assigned, which fields have lights for the later sessions, where the coaches need to be with which teams, etc. You can imagine how difficult it is to put this all in place, for ~90 teams.

For most teams, practice will start the first week of August for fall season and will end in early/mid December. ECNL, NPL, and some other teams may start practicing in July for late July/early August tournaments. New players who have registered for spring will have an option to train in the winter months. These sessions are optional for younger teams and supplement the annual training program for all our competitive teams. These winter sessions start in early January and end prior to Presidents’ Day weekend. After a break the week of Presidents’ Day, we will begin our spring season at the end of February (or early March) and will end in early June. High school aged teams follow a different schedule, based on when players participate on school teams.

Assuming MVLA can secure fields from the city and schools, MVLA winter training occurs in Jan-Feb (most teams training once per week) with a break during the week of Presidents’ Day. Spring season will begin after that break.

Games

The games are generally on the weekends, at home and away fields. They can be scheduled for anytime on Saturday and Sunday.

The leagues issue a tentative schedule that indicates dates the two teams can play each other. However, the managers and coaches of the two teams work together to find a time that works for the coaches. The dates can change from the originally proposed date if the teams agree. Byga automatically obtains the game schedule from GotSoccer, so you may see some of these shifts during the season.

As managers of the opposing teams work together to find available field slots and times that work for both coaches, the schedule is populated. This can take a few weeks at the beginning of each season before all games are scheduled. And even after a season begins, games can continue to shift around if both teams agree.

Generally, teams will play in two tournaments a season. 

The managers do not schedule those games. The Directors of Coaching (DOCs) of the clubs schedule the games with each other. All the age groups with ECNL/ECRL teams play on that day at a given location. The dates of those events are set well in advance, even for the entire year (both seasons), but the times of those games (which team plays during which time slot) can move around, even up until the last few days before the play day.

Please fill out the Field and Equipment Submission form for reporting field, game equipment, and practice equipment issues at MVLA permitted fields. To find the status or resolution of your reported field and/or equipment issue, see the response sheet. These links can be found on the Parents page of our website.

Cal North (also called Cal North – Cal Soccer League or CCSL) and NorCal are separate organizations with different registration requirements and procedures. MVLA participates in both Cal North and NorCal. Both leagues offer several competitive levels of play (premier, gold, silver, bronze, copper). The coaches along with the Directors of Coaching decide which league and level each team should participate in to best support the development of the team.

There may be an occasion when a player is asked to guest with another MVLA team. The coaches of both teams must agree to the guesting opportunity. The player pass (for the appropriate league) must be presented at the game. If a player is asked to guest for a team outside of MVLA, approval must be obtained from the Director of Coaching.

Teams

Following US Soccer regulations, teams are divided by birth year (and not school grade). For example, a child born in 2009 is on an “09G” or “09B” team. The G or B represents girls or boys team. The teams in a given age group have a name (e.g., “Gunners”), followed by a color (e.g., Green). The colors in order of level are Blue, White, Green, Black, Gold. Some larger age groups will have Silver and Red teams as well. A few age groups may have a Navy team, just below Blue. Regardless of level, the team will be placed in the appropriate league division to maximize player development.

There can be player movement between teams up or down at any time. Generally, this will occur between seasons and there will have been discussions with the coach.

Each player must have a laminated player pass with his/her photo and information. MVLA team managers or coaches carry the team’s set of player passes which must be presented at each game. Each league has different requirements for obtaining the player pass. The MVLA Ops Staff will generate the player pass for each registered player before the fall season. The player pass is valid for a full year, from August 1 to the following July 31. Any adults on the player side of the field must have staff passes. Staff passes are valid for two years. If a player guests with another MVLA team, he/she must have the appropriate pass for the league in which they are guesting.

Generally, current MVLA players do not need to tryout each year. There may be circumstances where an age group or a team will be asked to tryout.

We wish we were in a position to invite each child to join MVLA; however, due to the number of roster spots on each team, the number of players who attended tryouts, coupled with a very high level of play, we are unable to offer a spot to all players. We may refer a player to continue to develop at local recreational programs such as AYSO and to tryout again in the future.

Team Roles

MVLA teams are coached by licensed professional soccer coaches. MVLA’s success is directly attributable to its amazing coaches. These individuals not only have a love for the game, but they also have a passion for working with and developing youths. Our coaches encourage players to be their best, on the field, in the classroom and more. 

 

The coach directs the team’s practice sessions and coaches at games and tournaments. The coach makes decisions regarding team rosters, playing time, tournaments, and leagues. The team coach communicates feedback about the player to the family. Families are asked to provide an evaluation of the coach at the end of the season. There is also a Head Program Coach for each age group who works closely with the other coaches of that age group.

The team manager is the liaison between the coach, the club and the parents. The team manager handles and oversees the team administration which includes communication, scheduling, registering for tournaments, ensuring players are eligible for games (player passes, rosters, forms, etc.), team finances, etc. Tasks can and should be delegated to other parents on the team. The team manager does NOT coach, sit on the players’ side, make decisions about rosters or playing time, and decide on tournaments.

If the team manager elects to have a treasurer, the team treasurer establishes the team budget and collects fees from the families for additional team expenses (non-MVLA registration fees) that the team incurs (tournament fees, coach’s travel expenses, referee fees for more than 6 home games, social events, coach gift, etc.).

If the team manager elects to have a scheduler, the team scheduler works with opposing teams to schedule the date, time, and field for all league games. The scheduler uses GotSoccer to communicate with the opposing teams and Byga to schedule home games.

All parents are expected to help out during the season. This includes coordinating social events and travel logistics or game-day help such as setting up and taking down goals for the home games. Parents can also help with carrying and setting up the team bench and team canopy. NPL, pre-NPL, and ECNL/ECRL games have additional water, bench, and canopy requirements for the visiting team at home games, and parents are expected to help the team with these additional logistics. Our team managers are volunteers, so please offer to help your team as much as possible on game day and whenever there are other needs of the team.

MVLA Programs

Our youngest age group will be part of our "in-house" program which means two practices a week along with weekend in-house, small-sided games among our own players. There are no "teams" for the in house program. The focus is on developing the individual skills of players at this young age group rather than on league games against other clubs. The small-sided games will allow players to have a high amount of touches on the ball, be able to be creative, and play without any pressure of winning.

The MVLA Shooting Stars Program is open to boys and girls in Kinder & 1st Grade. The Shooting Stars Program provides an opportunity for children to develop dribbling and shooting skills, coordination, and spatial awareness while having fun playing with their friends. Shooting Stars players improve their technical ability in a positive, exciting, and challenging environment. Please see our MVLA Shooting Stars page, or contact Coach Kayley (stars@mvlasc.org) for more information.

The Comets Parent-Child Program is open to PreK/TK players AND their parents. Parents are actively involved in the sessions - much to the delight of their children! Children will develop balance, coordination, and important social skills - and enjoy quality time with their parents and a soccer ball. Please see our MVLA Comets page or contact Coach Kayley (stars@mvlasc.org) for more information.

Our competitive teams play in leagues and tournaments. The bulk of our teams compete in NorCal and CalNorth leagues.

Club soccer is more competitive and selective than recreational soccer. Club soccer offers professional coaching. The coaches are normally licensed and have played at a high level of soccer. With club soccer, tryouts are usually held to identify players. Club soccer requires a higher training commitment (at least two times per week, sometimes three) and a willingness to travel for games and tournaments. Most players in club soccer play both fall and spring seasons.

MVLA Policies

In our efforts to enhance the experience for all members of the MVLA SC community (coaches, players and parents), we believe it is important to have a clear set of expectations and a shared understanding for each of these key members of our community. Please see our Codes of Conduct for coaches, players and parents.

Please see MVLA’s Communication Protocol and expectations.

If an issue has not been responded to and discussed with the parent or player making the inquiry within a week, the requestor should complete the club communication Escalation Form. Please see the Escalation Policy for more info.

Kudo’s Korner is an opportunity to celebrate the good things people are doing at MVLA. Please visit MVLA’s Communication Protocol for more information on our Kudo’s Korner program and use this form to share your stories and recommend people for recognition by MVLA.

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Glossary

MVLA SC Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club
NorCal NorCal Premier Soccer League is the Northern California affiliate of US Club Soccer
CalNorth, CCSL, or CYSA CalNorth, CCSL (Cal North – Cal Soccer League), or CYSA (California Youth Soccer Association) all refer to the same league. It is one of the competitive soccer leagues in Northern California.
ECNL Elite Clubs National League
ECRL Elite Clubs Regional League
NPL National Premier League, U14-U19
Pre-NPL U12-U13 pre-National Premier League was created to bridge the gap between regionally-based leagues in younger age groups, and statewide competition in U14-U19 age groups (NPL and State Premier).
NorCal State Cup

NorCal State Cup is a combination of both league-style and tournament-style play consisting of a series of games that begin in August and last an entire season. The NorCal State Cup consists of three rounds with re-ranking of teams after each round.

U9-U13 State Cup info: https://norcalpremier.com/competition/state-cup/resource/state-cup-infomation/

U14-U19 State Cup info: >https://norcalpremier.com/competition/u14-u19-state-cup/resource/rounds/

US Club Soccer A non-profit organization committed to the development and support of soccer clubs. US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification, and a variety of other programming, resources and services. US Club Soccer is a National Affiliate member of the United States Soccer Federation. NorCal is a part of US Club Soccer.
District 2 District 2 is the region within CalNorth that includes MVLA.
Game Card The sheet printed by the team manager from GotSoccer that lists the player names (roster) for a particular game. The game card is provided to the referee prior to each game.
DOC Director of Coaching
R002 US Club Soccer’s medical authorization/liability waiver form, required for all players in the NorCal league. MVLA asks that R002 waivers be uploaded to Byga in each player’s account under the “Documents” tab.
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