As your child plays through a couple years of soccer, you will learn that there are many different leagues and it quickly becomes confusing. To make understanding leagues easier, we have put together a short explanation. Many things are common with all the leagues. Here are some general similarities;
U5 - Players play 3v3 or close to with no goalies
U8 - Players play 6v6 with a goalie
U11 - Players play 8v8 with a goalie
U13 - Player play 11v11 with a goalie
Most leagues play between 8-10 games
Referee certification requirements rise with age of player
4 years old (U5) - As our children start to become more independent and we look for outlets to meet others and work to increase motor coordination skills, soccer often is the sport of choice. When we start, most players start in recreational
soccer. Examples of recreational soccer in Livingston County are SELCRA (South Eastern Livingston County Recreational Authority), Hartland Community Soccer, Howell Parks & Recreation, Hamburg Community Soccer, and South Lyon Recreational Authority. All of these offer very similar soccer experience. Mostly, the players participate in an in-house (self contained) league. Some are coed at varied ages. This is a great place to start soccer.
7 or 8 years old (U8) - At this age, players start to venture into "travel" soccer. These teams don't compete in in-house leagues. "Travel" teams compete in leagues governed by MSYSA (Michigan State Youth Soccer Association). The Alliance predominately plays in WSSL (Western Suburban Soccer League) up to U12. There are several other leagues within Metro Detroit that other clubs play in. MYSL (Michigan Youth Soccer League) and MSDSL (Michigan State Developmental Soccer League) are two of the other larger leagues. All of these leagues are run independent of each other and teams generally are allowed to participate in only one league.
12 years old (U13) - Now that teams have competed some 4 to 5 years on a more regional based league, many chose to join MSPSL (Michigan State Premier Soccer League). This league describes itself with it's name. Teams from all over Michigan enter the league and are placed in divisions by ability. After each season, also true in younger leagues, teams can move up or down based on their record.
13 years old (U14) - Again, there are several options for teams to find league play. Along with MSPSL, MRL (Midwest Regional League) now is an option. MRL is much like MSPSL although the league encompasses teams from all over the Midwest. Sometimes this league can be costly although depending on division, it can be very similar to MSPSL.