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Zia Youth Soccer League - Promoting Positive Sportsmanship and FUN!

Zia Youth Soccer League's "Mercy Rule"

Keeping the scrimmage experience positive and balanced.

Although Zia Youth Soccer League tries to form teams that are as balanced as possible, there are times when one team will simply be at a more advanced place in their skill development than another. If this happens, and one team is “scoring” goal after goal while the other team clearly struggles and begins losing confidence (and their smiles), the coaches must take action together. Remember, Zia’s scrimmage games are designed to be fun opportunities for players to expand upon what they learn in practice in a game-like environment. These are NOT competitive games, and not a single child should walk away feeling like they’ve “lost.” That is not what Zia is about.

So should a scrimmage begin to have an unbalanced feel as previously described, coaches shall take steps to balance the environment accordingly. Sometimes this may mean loaning a more skilled player to the other team, or allowing the team in need of a boost to have an extra player on the field. Or perhaps adding a new rule for the team that keeps “scoring,” requiring that each player they have on the field must touch the ball before it goes in the goal.  Another great tactic - one which is particularly useful to not only help the team that is struggling but to also challenge the team that is ahead - is to move players out of their "usual" positions in which they excel, in order to try new positions. This could mean moving that one player who scores goal after goal into a defensive spot, or giving a new player a chance to try the position of goalkeeper. Or the goalkeeper could even be temporarily removed altogether. The options are endless. Coaches are encouraged to get creative and work together to make the experience a positive one for every player on every team, supporting Zia Youth Soccer League’s mission of providing a truly recreational, non-competitive, FUN and pressure-free soccer experience.