Season Overview / FAQ

Will Zia Youth Soccer return to a "normal" season format in the fall of 2021?
For the most part, YES!  Although some minor covid-related restrictions may remain in place (social distancing among spectators from different households, sanitation and protective requirements, etc.), and we remain subject to any potential changes in the public health order, the fall season is being planned and organized to include weekday practices and weekend friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games. 

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 volunteer availability allows, but cannot make any guarantees.

When will players practice?
Practices 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, and we will do our absolute best to honor such requests. 

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 at the same time and location, this is not always possible for children in different age groups.  If siblings must practice at different locations, we will ensure that their practice times do not overlap, 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?
At this time, all of the fall 2021 friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games are planned to take place at or near Altura Park, conveniently located in central Albuquerque.  This is subject to change if necessary in accordance with local restrictions and organizational requirements.

When will the friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games take place?
The fall 2021 friendly non-competitive coach-led scrimmage games shall take place on Saturdays, beginning August 14th and concluding October 2nd, weather permitting.  This schedule coincides with the start of the 2021-2022 APS school year, and is strategically planned to take place before the cooler months arrive as a continued precaution the league is taking in order to provide the safest environment possible for outdoor recreational play as we continue our battle against covid-19.  Each team will play one scrimmage game each Saturday of the season, and start days may vary from week to week, with potential start times as early as 8:00 a.m. and end times as late as 5:00 p.m.  Detailed Saturday schedules will be provided to all registered players no later than one week prior to the first Saturday 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.  All teams are subject to scrimmage games being scheduled at any time during the scheduled scrimmage game hours.

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 inception in 2007, Zia Youth Soccer embraces this format as the embodiment of a truly friendly and FUN youth sports experience. 

*In the oldest (teen) age division, wherein the number of registered players is often the lowest, should there not be enough registered players to comprise the minimum of four complete teams to have a "standard" scrimmage game schedule, scrimmage games shall be organized with an "open" format instead.  This simply means that all of the division's participating players will arrive at the park on Saturday, at which time the coach(es) shall divide them into two teams in a balanced manner accordingly for the scrimmage game.  This is a common format used in open play recreational leagues, and is a great deal of fun as players are teamed up differently each weekend, often making new friends and learning new skills from each other along the way!

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 the volunteer shortage we have experienced since the onset of the pandemic, 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.  If an adequate number of assistants is not available for this back-up option due to volunteer shortage, each parent on the team shall cover one or more sessions in order to lead the kids through group effort.  Programs are never cancelled due to a lack of volunteers, as all registering families agree to assist if necessary as a condition of registering a player. 

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. 

What are the fall 2021 age divisions and team structures?
Zia Youth Soccer currently offers programs for children starting at the age of three and continuing through age fifteen.  All players must be at least three years of age as of August 1, 2021 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 fall 2021 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.  The exact age division and team size structure is determined once 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 teams and age groups accordingly.

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.  Age spans may be as small as single-year in the younger divisions with higher participation, and as large as 4-year in the oldest divisions wherein the number of participants is generally smaller.  Team sizes may range from six players in a 3v3 playing format, to sixteen players in an 8v8 playing format, with team sizes and scrimmage game structures dependent upon the number of registered players and volunteer coaches, and any size format may apply to any age group accordingly.

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.  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.  In this situation, coaches will be notified by league administration via group text.  

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, heavy snow or rain, hail, or temperatures below freezing, will be cause for cancellation or postponement. 

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.

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