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Zia Youth Soccer League - Promoting Positive Sportsmanship and FUN!

Season Overview / FAQ

What is the season schedule?
For the spring 2024 soccer season, practices begin the week of March 18th.  Scrimmage games begin on March 30th and will conclude on May 18th, weather permitting.  For more details, please continue reading. :)

Where will players practice?

Zia Youth Soccer League's volunteer head coaches choose which Albuquerque city park they would like to use for their team's practices.  So once registration has ended and we start putting teams together, players are placed on teams practicing as close to their home as possible.  Coaches are able to choose from almost any public park in the city, and chosen locations can vary from season to season.  Practice location availability within any one region of the city is 100% dependent upon a coach volunteering within that region, and as such the league cannot guarantee how close to home practice may be.  Again, we always do our best to keep players practicing as close to home as possible, as current availability allows, but cannot make any guarantees.

When will players practice?
Practices for the spring 2024 soccer season will begin the week of March 18th, two weeks before scrimmage games begin.  They shall take place on weekday afternoons / evenings, one or two days per week at the discretion of the coach.  Since practice schedules are provided by the coaches at the time they register, we are not able to provide exact schedules in advance, for parents to choose from prior to registering.  However, if there are certain days that your child is not available to practice, simply note that in the special requests portion of registration so that we can place your child on a team with practices that will best accommodate your schedule.    

Although we always do our best to work with families who register more than one child, and strive to place siblings on teams that practice on the same day at the same time and at the same location, this is not always possible for children in different age groups.  If siblings must practice at different locations, we will ensure that each sibling has at least one practice per week that does not overlap with other Zia players in the household, in order to keep transportation to practice as convenient as possible for parents.

Where will the friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games take place?
Zia Youth Soccer League's friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games all take place at Altura Park and Alvarado Park, both conveniently located right near each other, just off of I-40 at San Mateo in central Albuquerque. 

When will the friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games take place?
The spring 2024 friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games shall take place on Saturdays, beginning March 30th and concluding on May 18th, weather permitting.  Each team will generally play one scrimmage game each Saturday of the season, and start times may vary from week to week, with potential start times as early as 8:15 a.m. and end times as late as 5:00 p.m. (these times are subject to change should make-up scrimmages be required or other extenuating circumstances occur).  Detailed scrimmage game schedules will be provided to all registered players no later than one week prior to the first scrimmage game of the season.  We are sorry but we are unable to accept parent requests for specific scrimmage game times, and cannot guarantee that siblings' scrimmage games will not overlap or that they will be scheduled back-to-back.  They will, however, all be at the same location.  All teams are subject to scrimmage games being scheduled at any time during the scheduled scrimmage game hours, and double-headers/bye weeks are possible in the older age groups.  

What is a friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage game?
It's just the term Zia Youth Soccer uses to describe its recreational non-competitive game format, which much more strongly resembles a friendly scrimmage than a competitive game.  Score is not kept, and coaches work together on the field to guide their players in a friendly scrimmage-style event.  There are no officials, no score-keeping, and no stress.  Non-competitive and recreational by nature since its founding in 2006, Zia Youth Soccer embraces this format as the embodiment of a truly friendly and FUN youth sports experience. 

Who coaches Zia Youth Soccer's teams?
Zia Youth Soccer relies 100% on volunteers to lead its teams.  While a majority of the volunteers are parents of registered players, other friends and family members are welcome to volunteer, as are other supportive members of our community.  No experience is required, as full training and ongoing support are provided, giving volunteers everything they need to be successful and confident in the role.  All volunteers are subject to a basic background check and approval, and head coaches receive the benefit of one free player registration per team coached.

*Most teams are led by a single head coach, with the support of one or more assistant coaches.  However, if no head coach is able to be recruited for a team due to a volunteer shortage, registered and approved assistants may be assigned a portion (up to half) of the season's sessions in order to lead the team through group effort in lieu of a single head coach. 

How do I request that my child be placed with a specific coach or teammate?  
During registration, you will see a section entitled "special requests."  This is where you can let our volunteer team organizers know if your child has a preferred coach or teammate, or if there are certain days of the week he or she is unable to practice.  Although we will do our absolute best to honor requests, due to limitations beyond our control we unfortunately cannot make any guarantees, so be sure to list your requests in the order of importance.  And if your child is a new player, and you have a specific team you are hoping to join, please remember that openings on established teams are often limited each season, so registering as early as possible gives you the greatest chance to get an open space.  If no space is available for your child on your preferred team, your child will be placed on an alternate team.  

Returning players always hold priority to return to their same team from season to season, as long as age, coach availability, and other factors beyond our control do not prevent it from being possible.  Zia Youth Soccer League has a strong focus on keeping kids together with their beloved friends and cherished coaches, and we work hard to make this work for all players to the greatest degree possible.  That being said, returning to the same team is not automatic - parents MUST request the team during registration in the "special requests" box.  And priority is only granted to returning players through the end of the open registration period.  After that time, any space on any team that is not filled by a returning player is considered open for new players to join.  

What if I am not happy with my child's team placement?
If a parent is unhappy with their child's team placement, they should contact league administration via e-mail to request a team transfer.  If an opening is available on a team that the parent would prefer, the transfer can be made, subject to the payment of a team transfer fee to cover the cost of the new uniform that the child will need for his or her new team.  However, due to the many factors that influence Zia Youth Soccer's team formations, team transfers are not always possible.

What are Zia Youth Soccer League's age divisions and team structures?
Zia Youth Soccer offers programs for children starting at the age of three and continuing through age eleven, being the general preschool and elementary ages.  All players must be at least three years of age by the first practice of the season in order to participate.  Our top priorities are the fun, safety, and development of every player, and we seek to structure our age groups to foster these priorities.  Therefore, our age groups, all co-ed, are carefully designed in order to keep the age spans within each group as small as possible, and to keep players at similar stages of growth and development grouped together.  Our age divisions currently have a one- to two-year age span, which is standard in the youth soccer industry, and have been structured for the Spring 2024 soccer season as follows:

Dribblers - for children ages 3 through 5 during the active soccer season
Runners - for children ages 5 and 6 during the active soccer season
Passers - for children ages 6 through 8 during the active soccer season
Wings - for children ages 8 through 10 during the active soccer season
Strikers - for children ages 10 and 11 during the active soccer season

Each season's exact age division and team size structure is only determined and finalized once seasonal registration has ended, and the final number of players of each age is totaled, along with the availability of head coaches within applicable age ranges, allowing us to develop the season's teams and age groups accordingly in order to best serve the needs of our players.  This allows us to customize our structure from season to season, allowing team members to stay together with their beloved friends and coaches whenever possible, while still maintaining our small divisional age spans and enjoying fun and exciting small-sided scrimmage games.  As such, the above divisional structure will be confirmed and/or updated for the fall 2024 soccer season in mid- to late August.

Note:  Zia Youth Soccer reserves the right to structure, combine, and/or divide age divisions as deemed necessary by the number of registered participants in any given age division, and as determined to be in the best interest of the children the organization serves.  Please see the Playing Rules beneath the "About Us" tab above for current divisional and scrimmage play format details.

Will the players receive an award at the end of the season?
Yes, all players receive a personalized participation medal at the end of each season in order to recognize their fantastic efforts out on the soccer field!

What about weather?
As we all know, weather in the beautiful state of New Mexico, particularly during our spring and fall seasons, can be quite unpredictable.  We certainly hope that we will be fortunate enough to have nothing but ideal weather on our active days, but that is of course not guaranteed.  So, if we find ourselves facing inclement weather on a day scheduled for friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games, and league administration determines that it is in the best interest of the league's players to cancel the entire day, the cancellation will be posted on this website, and all registered participants will be notified via e-mail, no later than 7:00 a.m.  If you have not heard from the league and nothing has been posted on this site by 7:00 a.m., the day's events will continue as planned.  Due to logistical limitations, administration is unable to respond to individual requests for weather-related updates. 

If a Saturday's events have started with nice weather which has taken an unexpected turn, postponements/delays or cancellations of individual events may take place.  Should league administration make such a call, coaches will be notified via group text and/or email.  Coaches are also authorized to make such calls directly on their teams' behalf.

Please remember that soccer is an outdoor sport, and activities may continue in light rain or snow, wind, heat or cold.  However, audible thunder or visible lightning, significant amounts snow or rain, hail, or excessively cold temperatures, will be cause for cancellation or postponement. Soggy field conditions are also cause for cancellation or postponement, regardless of active precipitation, per City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department regulations.

Practice cancellations are at the full discretion of each team's coach, but will be made in accordance with the above-listed guidelines.  

Zia Youth Soccer guarantees a minimum of six (6) friendly non-competitive scrimmage games per season.  Therefore, if one or two such events are cancelled, they will not be made up.  Third and further cancellations shall be made up by adding additional weeks to the scheduled end of the season as needed.  Practice cancellations are made up at the discretion of the coach, and are not guaranteed.

NOTE: All Zia Youth Soccer practices, policies, and procedures, including but not limited to session format / season format, locations and schedules, are subject to change at any time, if necessary, in accordance with the needs of our volunteer coaches and organizers, as well as the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department and other local, state, federal government or independent authority regulations.  An understanding and acceptance of this statement is required for registration and participation.