Portsmouth Pirates Competitive Soccer Club, Portsmouth, RI - Click for Home Page

Portsmouth Pirates Competitive Soccer Club

Under 8 (U8) Spring 2014 Soccer Information

Portsmouth Youth Soccer Association, Click for home page

U8 Boys Coordinator is Patrick Hadfield

       Boys U8 will be practicing TBD with games on TBD.


U8 Girls Coordinator is Carlos Williams

       Girls U8 will be practicing TBD with games on TBD.


Before a child/athlete is permitted to participate in the Fall Developmental Program and tryout process, he/she must properly register with the Pirates. The registration process includes completing the online Registration Form and paying the regular registration fee. Note that players must be registered for the Fall Program in order to participate in tryouts. Refer to the Fall Developmental Program section for more information.


Registration will generally occur starting in June for the upcoming Fall Season and again in December/January for the upcoming Spring Season. Upon completing the registration process and before the season begins, the coaches will receive a copy of who has registered and paid. No athlete will be permitted to participate in practices without being properly registered. Parents are strongly encouraged for organizational purposes to pre-register. Register online at http://www.pysa.com/pirates/registration.htm



All U8 players will need to purchase uniforms. After the player is registered, please go to the Gob Shop in Warren, RI to be fitted. The uniform cost is as follows:

The kit will be less than the U10 and up uniform kit. The kit will include:

Adidas Red Home Jersey (Same as U10 and up)
White Away T-Shirt
Adidas Blue Shorts (Same as U10 and up)
Socks (Same as U10 and up)

Total Price $55.25

Please direct any questions to our uniform coordinator, Mary Jane Hladick at:


Program Insight:
The purpose of the Portsmouth Pirates U8 Travel Soccer Program is to foster organized soccer at a non-results oriented competitive level. In so doing we provide the opportunity for the more dedicated and committed Portsmouth child athlete to develop into the best soccer player they can become by playing against children of similar ability from across the State of Rhode Island. The Portsmouth Pirates will form as many quality U8 travel teams as possible (provided there are enough children, head coaches, and parent volunteers).


Many ask what the difference is between the Pirates U8 Program and a recreational program. The Pirates U8 program is considered a competitive program because it is run by our competitive organization (Pirates) and during the Spring season its teams will compete against teams from across the state of Rhode Island in the Rhode Island Youth Super Liga soccer league (referred to as Super Liga). During the Spring season, the children will attend about 4 local games, 4 out-of-town games, 1 local tournament and 1 out-of-town tournament. Some of these tournaments not only attract teams from Rhode Island, but also teams from throughout the Northeast. Tournament play has been a very rewarding experience for our athletes. In the past, teams have participated in tournaments in Danvers, MA, Natick, MA & Barrington, RI. The decision as to which tournaments our teams participate in is made by the coaches & the Pirates Board.


The Fall season is used to develop the players to a level at which they can compete successfully in the coming Spring season. Competitive teams are created after the Fall season and after the players have signed up for the Spring season. Players may also have the opportunity to play in an indoor Winter league. 


There are many benefits to a competitive program. We believe that our competitive program offers a greater challenge and more opportunity for athletic development than a recreational program. Because of this, our competitive program does require more time and commitment than a recreational program. If the Pirates competitive program is not what you are looking for, PYSA also offers a recreational, in-house program during the summer months.

The Portsmouth Pirates U8 Program has both a Co-ed (Boy’s) Division and a Girl’s Division. Female athletes may play in the Co-ed Division. If it is a good fit for the player.


In addition to teaching soccer skills and team play, good sportsmanship is an important part of our Program. Both the athlete and his/her parent must abide by a “Conduct Code” that exhibits the requisites of good sportsmanship. Another policy in which the Pirates have adopted is called the “Zero Tolerance” Policy. The Zero Tolerance Policy is present at all times to protect our referees. Both the Pirates “Conduct Code” and “Zero Tolerance” Policy can be found on the Pirates web site at http://www.pysa.com/pirates/conduct.htm and should be reviewed prior to the beginning of the soccer year.


Coaching/training for players begins in early September and will continue through October and possibly early November. Coaching/training will resume again for the winter season in around January and will continue through mid-to-late March. Travel coaching/training begins in mid-to-late March and ends in early-to-mid June. During the Fall and Spring seasons, most training sessions are typically 1 to 1-1/2 hours, 2 times per week. During the winter season, most teams practice/train once per week. The duration and frequency of the practices are left to the discretion of the coach.

U8 Objectives:
The Pirates U8 Program focuses on the following objectives:

  • To provide an enjoyable soccer experience through an environment that is competitive in nature;
  • To provide an ongoing program of high quality instruction;
  • To help all players develop the basic soccer skills;
  • To teach the attributes of good sportsmanship toward teammates and opposing players;
  • To create teams that are successfully aligned with the competition; and
  • To make it more likely that the children will continue to play competitive soccer through the higher levels of the Pirates Program.


The Pirates Organization:
The Portsmouth Pirates Soccer Club functions under the general umbrella of the Portsmouth Youth Soccer Association (PYSA), but with its own Board and separate rules, finances, and guidelines. Through PYSA, the Portsmouth Pirates Soccer Club is a member of Soccer Rhode Island (SRI). SRI provides many benefits such as organized leagues, invitational tournaments, coaches training and certification, referee training, player development clinics, and medical and liability insurance. In turn, members must abide by the rules, regulations and policies of SRI. Members of SRI may only participate in SRI sanctioned leagues, tournaments, and commercial indoor facilities. The SRI league that the Portsmouth Pirates Soccer Club participates in is the Rhode Island Youth Super Liga. The Portsmouth Invitational Soccer Tournament held each Father’s Day weekend is also sanctioned by SRI.


Age Qualification:
n general, players must be residents of Portsmouth. Coaches may select two non-residents per team. Board approval is needed for any additional non-resident players on the same team.

Travel soccer goes by age, not grade, so the Pirates Program is broken into divisions by age. The divisions include U6, U8, U10, U12 and U14, where the “U” stands for “Under” and means that all players must be under that age as of August 1st, which is considered the start of the soccer year. The specific eligibility birth dates for the U8 division can be found on the PYSA website on the Pirates Registration page. Under no circumstances is a player allowed to play “down” a division. Occasionally a younger player will play “up” a division.


Clothing & Equipment:
U8 players are required to wear a T-shirt, shorts, shin guards, and soccer cleats to all practices and games. They must also bring a water bottle and a soccer ball. Jewelry is strictly prohibited.

Please refer to Unifoms above, to be worn at all games.
Roster Size:
During the competitive Spring season, for each scheduled game, U8 teams will divide into two groups and play (2) side-by-side 4 v 4 games. This requires at least 8 players per team. The recommended roster size for U8 teams is 12 players with a minimum roster size of 10 players and a maximum roster size of 14 players. This will allow for 1-3 substitutes per 4 v 4 game. Roster sizes will be adjusted, smaller or larger within this range, depending on team formation within the division.


Fall Developmental Program:
Program start dates are provided at the top of these guidelines and procedures.


The focus of the U8 Fall season will be primarily on teaching the basic soccer skills and secondarily on teaching the tactics of the 4 v 4 game. A station/clinic approach will be used to teach and develop the basic soccer skills. Approximately 2/3 of each practice will be spent in stations and approximately 1/3 of each practice will be spent learning/practicing the 4 v 4 game.


The U8 Fall season extends from the beginning of September (see Dates at top) through October and possibly early November. There will be (2) practices per week. Each practice will be approximately 1 hour. The U8 Girls may practice on different evenings from the Co-ed group. For both groups, the children will also participate in Saturday morning scrimmages (see program dates/times at the top).

All U8 players will practice together in groups. The children will practice with this group for a portion of the allotted practice time, and then scrimmage for the remainder of practice. Players will be assigned evenly to these groups based upon their age, experience, and ability. The teams will include 8-10 players to maximize playing time. Note that players may move between various groups so parent/player requests for certain coaches will not be entertained.

The U8 Age Level Coordinators will oversee the practices. All parents interested in coaching are encouraged to talk with the Age Level Coordinators to see how they can help out. The children will also have several opportunities to practice with a professional soccer instructor. Coaches will also participate in these practices to learn how to teach the skills for the future.


This age group will practice twice weekly at the same location. Players are expected to attend at least one practice session a week but should speak with the Age Level Coordinator if they will miss any sessions so that they are aware of the situation. Practice is the fundamental element of this Program and it is important that players try to make a commitment to attend the sessions.


During the Fall season, emphasis will be on basic techniques such as trapping, dribbling, shooting, passing, and ball control, as well as on learning the responsibilities of the various field positions (field awareness) and the general concept of team play. Training sessions will stress individual ball skills and small-sided games to maximize the number of touches the player experiences in practices. The players will be taught the fundamentals as well as how to use them in a game situation.


The Age Level Coordinator will also coordinate with the Director of Coaches in setting up and holding developmental clinics with the clinicians selected by the Pirates Club.


At the end of the Fall season, team formation for the upcoming competitive Spring season will be done as described in the following Team Formation section.


All parents who are interested in coaching, either as a head coach or an assistant coach, MUST become involved at the beginning of the Fall season. This same group of parents (those who participate in the Fall practices) will be asked to help evaluate the children and collectively create the teams and determine the coaches for the spring season (with the exception of the Age Level Coordinator who is appointed by the Pirates Board as the “A” team coach).

Team Information:
After the Fall season, competitive teams will be formed. These are the teams that will participate in the Spring competitive league. These teams may also have the opportunity to compete during the indoor Winter season. If you know at this time that your child will not be returning for the Spring season, PLEASE tell the U8 Age Level Coordinator.

The number of U8 Co-ed teams usually ranges from 3 to 5 while the number of U8 Girls teams usually ranges from 2 to 3. Teams are created at the traditional Gold (most experienced) and Blue (less experienced) levels. As many U8 competitive teams will be created as possible. The number of teams will depend upon the number of players as well as the number of volunteer coaches.


The Evaluation Process:
Interested U8 coaches will have the opportunity to observe all of the U8 players. After the Fall season, the interested coaches will get together to create the Spring teams. They will consider: technical ability (passing/trapping, dribbling, passing, tackling, foot work), physical ability (strength, speed, endurance, agility, flexibility), psychological ability (maturity, attitude, concentration, courage, motivation, confidence, commitment), and tactical ability (positioning, decision making, communication, use of space, support, awareness, transitioning). The coaches will first create the Gold level team. They will then determine how many Blue level teams they can create. The players on the Blue level teams must have the ability to compete against the other Blue level teams in the Super Liga league. The Blue level teams may be created equally - this is up to the coaches involved.

History has shown that an individual player will achieve the most success and make the most developmental progress over the course of a season if that player is competing at the proper level for his ability.

Teams will not be created until there is at least 1 volunteer head coach and 1 volunteer assistant coach for every 12 - 14 players.


Selection of Coaches:
The U8 Team Gold coach is chosen by the Pirates Board in June and assumes the U8 Age Level Coordinator position for the season. The responsibilities of the U8 Age Level Coordinator include the following:

  1. Oversee the Fall season practices;
  2. Recruit the required number of U8 head coaches and assistant coaches;
  3. Oversee the team formation process; and
  4. Keep U8 coaches informed.

The U8 Age Level Coordinator will invite and encourage all interested head coaches and assistant coaches to participate in the Fall practices. The goal will be to recruit at least 2 interested parents for every 12 - 14 players.

After the Fall season, the competitive teams will be created and the U8 Team Blue level coaches will be assigned. The Age Level Coordinator will lead this process, but all perspective coaches will be involved.

Coaches’ responsibilities/authority include, but are not limited to:

  1. Participation in the team formation process;
  2. Establishment of the team rules and consequences, and enforcement of the same;
  3. Attendance at all practices and games (or arrangement for a replacement);
  4. Ensuring that all players receive quality instruction at practices;
  5. Ensuring that all players receive adequate playing time at games;
  6. Recruiting of a team parent who will help to keep the team’s parents informed; and,
  7. Selection of the tournaments that the team will participate in.



The Winter Season:
The U8 Pirates teams may compete at the Multiplex Soccer Complex in Somerset, Massachusetts or at another facility, for the indoor season. The decision to participate in the Winter league is made by the coaches.

The Spring Season:
Spring Season coaching/training begins in March/April and ends in mid June. During the Spring season, most teams typically practice/train for 1 hour and 15 minutes, 2 evenings per week. Through Super Liga, U8 teams will participate in about 4 home games and 4 out-of-town games throughout the Spring season. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons starting around 12:30, depending upon field availability.

Weekly Training Sessions:
Emphasis will be on basic techniques such as dribbling, shooting, passing, ball control, learning the responsibilities of the various positions on the field (field awareness), and the general concept of team play. Training sessions will stress individual ball skills and small-sided games to maximize the number of touches the player experiences in practices. Players will receive more intensive technique training so they can master the fundamentals while under pressure. There will also be an increased emphasis on fitness, strategy, set plays, and team formations.

Field Positions:
At the U8 level, emphasis will be placed on an athlete playing as many positions as possible on the soccer field. This is important in the development of technical skills and to gain an understanding of the sport. There are no goalies at the U8 level. All players are required to play team offense and team defense.

It is Pirates policy that all U8 players must play at least 50% of the total game time during Spring season league games and travel tournaments. Coaches are strongly encouraged to play all athletes equally as much as possible with the exception of injury or fatigue.

The only other exception to this rule will be in the case of disciplinary action. Should a player miss a practice without a valid excuse, be excessively tardy to practice on multiple occasions, become disruptive during practices or games, or develop a bad attitude, the coach may, at their discretion, take away playing time. The player will be given prior notice of this possibility.


Each U8 team usually participates in two (2) tournaments, including our own Portsmouth Invitational Tournament held in June over the Father’s Day weekend. Another frequently attended tournament is held in Danvers, MA over the Memorial Day weekend. This tournament attracts teams from throughout the Northeast. The decision as to which tournaments to participate in will be made by the coaches & the Pirates Board.

Participation in the Portsmouth Pirates U8 Program requires a commitment by both player and parents


Player Commitment:
A player’s attendance at practice sessions and games is vital to the player’s development and the overall performance of his/her team. U8 players are expected to participate in both the Fall and Spring seasons. This is especially important because the Spring competitive teams are created after the Fall season. Possible conflicts with other activities (hockey, basketball, baseball, dancing classes, etc.) in regard to the above should be discussed with the player’s coach.

Parental Commitment:
Your support as a parent is almost as important as the dedication of your child/athlete in making this program successful. Parents will have the responsibility to provide transportation or arrange for transportation for their children to and from practices as well as games. Away games can be as close as Middletown or as far away as Burrillville. Tournaments generally take place on holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and often involve an overnight stay.

There are certain duties that are expected of each family. For example, the volunteer Team Parent may put together the snack schedule for the team. Also, it is critical to volunteer a minimum of 2 hours during the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament which is held over the June Father’s Day weekend.

Each team is also expected to provide 2 team Board Representatives to participate in monthly Pirates Board meetings, and 2 team Tournament Representatives to participate in monthly meetings before the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.


In order for practices and games to run smoothly and without conflict, we have created “Conduct Codes” for players, parents and coaches. Some of these items relate to good sportsmanship, which we would like to instill in the players at this young age.


Player Code of Conduct:
There is an official Portsmouth Pirates “Player Code of Conduct” which can be found on the PYSA website. Applicable items from this have been listed below along with some additional items that we think are important at the U8 level. Please review these items with your child:

  1. Arrive 5 minutes early to practices. Arrive ½ hour early to games.
  2. Come to practices and games with soccer cleats, shin guards, a number 3 ball, and a water bottle. Remove your jewelry before practices and games.
  3. After a practice or game be sure to collect your litter and all of your belongings.
  4. No swearing or abusive language is permitted at practices or games.
  5. No spitting is permitted at practices or games.
  6. During a game, sit quietly on the sideline in designated area when not playing.
  7. During a game, never question a referee’s decision or address a referee directly or indirectly. The coach is the only who may request an explanation for a call.
  8. Show good sportsmanship both in victory and defeat. When winning, never gloat to the other team about the score. Immediately after a game line up to shake hands with the opposing team. Say “good game” or something else that is nice. Never say anything negative to the opposing players.
  9. Treat your coaches, teammates and other players with respect.
  10. When instructed by your coach to do something, do it immediately without question. Later, if you wish to ask why things are done in a certain way, ask and it will be explained to you. We encourage you to discuss things with the coaches and to understand why things are done in a certain way.
  11. A good attitude is very important. Try your best at every game and practice.
    Your team’s coaches are responsible for enforcing the above code of conduct.

Parent/Spectator Code of Conduct:
In addition to the Player Code of Conduct, the following are requested of the parents and spectators:

  1. The area behind the end lines and a three foot strip along each sideline must be kept clear of spectators at all times during the game. Parents/spectators are not permitted to sit on the same side of the field as coaches/teams, but must occupy the opposite sideline.
  2. Please refrain from "coaching/instructing" your child from the sidelines during games. It is important for the children to learn to make their own decisions on the field. Also, your instructions may contradict their coaches’ instructions.
  3. Please do not yell at your child for making a mistake during a game.
  4. Please do not allow children to climb stone walls, goal posts or trees in our recreational areas.  (See full Parent/Spectator Code of Conduct here)

Parent/Spectator Code of Conduct:
We ask that U8 coaches please aspire to the following:

  1. Recognize the importance of your behavior at practices and games. You are serving as a role model to your players, and as a representative of the Pirates organization.
  2. Never ridicule or yell at the players for making mistakes or losing a competition.
  3. Be sporting to your opponents and the referee both in victory and in defeat. Teach your players to do the same.
  4. Obtain the appropriate/recommended coaching certificates or licenses.
    (See full Coaches' Code of Conduct here)

Zero Tolerance Policy:
Another policy in which the Pirates have adopted is called the “Zero Tolerance” Policy. The Zero Tolerance Policy is present at all times to protect our referees. Both the Pirates “Conduct Code” and “Zero Tolerance” Policy can be found at
http://www.pysa.com/summer_rec/conduct/index.html and should be reviewed prior to the beginning of the soccer year.

The PYSA/Pirates Organization depends upon parent volunteers to run successfully. All parents are encouraged to become involved in some capacity. The following is a list of ways that parents may become involved:

  1. Volunteer as a head coach or assistant coach;
  2. Volunteer as your team’s Team Parent. The Team Parent assists the coach in coordinating the following: telephone tree, uniforms, orange/drink/snack schedule for games, team pictures and distribution of information to parents;
  3. Apply for one of the many Pirates Board positions including: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, Referee Coordinator, Competitive Coordinator, Director of Coaches, Field Coordinator, Equipment Coordinator;
  4. Volunteer for one of the Tournament Board positions including: Tournament Director, Assistant Tournament Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, Scheduler, Scorekeeping Coordinator, Referee Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Field Marshal Coordinator, Parking Coordinator, Concessions Coordinator, Tournament Booklet Coordinator, Field Set-up Coordinator, Field Clean-up Coordinator;
  5. Volunteer to be a Board Representative for your team. Each team is required to provide 2 Board Representatives who will represent their team at monthly Pirates Board meetings, participate in discussions, vote on Pirates business, and bring information back to their team; or
  6. Volunteer to be a Tournament Representative for your team. Each team is required to provide 2 Tournament Representatives who will represent their team at monthly Tournament meetings (before the tournament), participate in tournament discussions, coordinate tournament volunteers, and bring information back to their team.


As noted earlier under “REGISTRATION,” before any athlete can tryout they must register with the Pirates. Payment is due prior to the start of the Fall Developmental Program. Winter indoor, typically played at the Multiplex Soccer Complex in Somerset, Massachusetts, has an operating fee which is based on a set price divided by the amount of players and will be due during late fall. There will also be a Spring Season fee due at registration in December/January. Pirates offer financial assistance to those in need by way of confidential scholarships available by contacting the President of the PYSA/Pirates.


Registration fees support Club expenses which include, but are not limited to, insurance fees, paying referee fees, purchasing soccer related equipment, paying entrance fees for leagues and tournaments, and field maintenance.


Please contact if you need additional information.