Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General FAQ

1. Why join SAM?
As the league of the Maryland SoccerPlex, all SAM games will be played at the Maryland SoccerPlex. 
What sets SAM apart is its soccer education program. The focus will be on player skill development, developing individual skills and intelligence, which impacts creativity and intelligence.
Registration as a SAM team includes:
  • Games played at the SoccerPlex
  • Player and coach enrichment programs conducted by professional coaches
  • Parent education
  • Player development
2. Where can I find more information about the Leagues?
3. What are the Developmental Programs?
  • 2 Kicks (age 2), Pre-Kicks (ages 3-4 yr. old), Off-Site Pre-Kicks (ages 3-4 yr. old), Kickers (ages 5-7 yr. old), Rec Ready (ages 5-7 yr old) are year-round programs that set the groundwork for young players by teaching them individual skills,  teamwork, sportsmanship and social skills.
  • Upon graduating from Pre-Kicks and Kickers, the players then take on the next challenge - recreational level play in our SAM league.
For general questions, please e-mail info@samsoccer.org or call 301-528-1480.

Coaches' FAQ

WHAT KIND OF INSTRUCTORS/COACHES DO YOU HAVE FOR THE CLASSES?

Our coaches help to run our classes, clinics, camps and the SAM SELECT Combine. They are an integral aspect of our SAM Soccer organization, as they are responsible for instilling the love of the sport into children as young as three years old. We are thrilled to have each and every one of these coaches as a part of our team. 

All coaches must go through criminal background checks in the hiring process.

WHO COACHES THE RECREATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE TEAMS?

Recreational teams are primarily coached by volunteers - parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings or friends. However, some teams do have paid coaches.

WHAT DISTINGUISHES A RECREATIONAL COACH FROM A SELECT COACH?

While a coach in SAM SELECT can be a volunteer, these individuals often have a vast amount of prior coaching experience.  Additionally, in order to be a SAM SELECT coach one must have an "E" coaching license or higher.  

HOW DO I REGISTER TO BECOME A RECREATIONAL OR SELECT COACH?

To register to be a coach with SAM visit www.samsoccer.org and click REGISTER in the top right hand corner. After logging into the system select Register as a Volunteer. Answer all the questions until you complete the registration. We will then place you with your requested team after passing a criminal background check. Learn more about this in the Policies section on this website.

Program FAQs

Class & Clinic FAQs

CAN I JOIN IN THE MIDDLE OF A SESSION?
Yes!  The price of enrollment will still be the full amount, and we will attempt to get you into make-up classes during the week/weekend.


CAN I REQUEST A COACH?

Parents can request a coach for thier child in the space labeled "coach request". Please note we will do our best to accomodate your request, but placements are based on a first come, first served basis and coaching availability.

WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE IT TO ONE OF MY CLASSES?
You are allowed to make up any missed classes within the session in which you are enrolled.  Make-ups are done on a space available basis.  Make-ups do not carry over into the next session. Please call the SAM offices at 301-528-1480 to schedule your make-up class PRIOR to attending that make-up class.


CAN I DROP OFF MY CHILD FOR A CLASS?

Our coaches are trying to coach 12-14 young kids at once, so we would prefer that you stay for the entirety of the class. If, however, you need to run out quickly, we understand. Please also note that 2 Kicks classes require a parent to be present and participate in the class.


HOW LONG ARE CLASSES?

During the Spring, Summer and Fall, Pre-Kicks classes are 45 minutes and Kickers classes are an hour. During the Winter sessions, both Kickers and Pre-Kickers are 45 minutes. 2 Kicks classes are always 35 minutes.


WHAT SHOULD MY KIDS WEAR?

Participants should wear comfortable clothes and indoor/turf soccer shoes or sneakers (cleats for outdoor are acceptable in all seasons EXCEPT the winter). Shin guards are not a necessity, though kids feel awesome when they wear them.


HOW MANY BOYS OR GIRLS ARE IN A CLASS?

Classes are coed, so the mix of children is based on who registers. We try to max out our 2 Kicks classes at 10, Pre-Kicks classes at 12 and our Kickers classes at 14.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLASSES?

2 Kicks is a basic introduction to the sport of soccer and encourages the development of skills such as balnacing and coordination. Pre-Kicks is for 3 and 4 year olds, and is a step up from 2 Kicks. The focus is more on developing motor skills used in the game, and less on the game itself. Kickers is an intermediate class. Kickers will play more game related activities to help players transition from individual skills to team skills. Some small-sided, non-competitive scrimmages will also be introduced. Rec Ready is a short, 4 week class that works on getting the kids used to the 4 v 4 format that is used in the U6 and U7 age groups. The class also reinforces soccer basics and gives children an edge going into the Fall season.


HOW LONG ARE SESSIONS?

Spring, Summer and Fall sessions are 8 weeks, Winter sessions are 7 weeks.


DO YOU OFFER PRIVATE CLASSES?

We do offer and create private classes for groups that want to bring in 10 or more participants. For the organizer of the group, you receive free enrollment for your child by bringing in the other nine families.


WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD MOVE UP TO THE NEXT CLASS?

If you feel your child is ready to advance from 2 Kicks to Pre-Kickers or Pre-Kicks to Kickers before the age requirement, you may want to speak to the coach about it. If the coach concurs, you can ask that your child be allowed to move up to the next age group at the main office, and pay the additional fee or register online.


CAN I TAKE A TRIAL CLASS?

Yes! The trial policy is usually limited to one class per child, and costs $20.00. That $20.00 will count towards your fee if you decide to register.


ARE THERE ANY DISCOUNTS FOR HAVING MULTIPLE CHILDREN ENROLLED?

Currently, we do not offer any discounts for siblings.


CAN WE COME ON ANY DAY?

No, in order to maintain class ratios and consistency within the program, we schedule children for specific times and days. When registering it is important to determine which day best suits your schedule. Of course there will occasions when a make-up class is needed. In that situation, you can schedule a make-up class for any day there is space available. If your schedule changes during the session and a different day are needed, we will try to accommodate your needs to the best of our ability. However, changes are based on space availability.


SAM LEAGUE FAQ

WHO CAN PLAY?
Boys and girls ages 5-18, regardless of soccer experience (see age chart on Recreational League or SELECT League main page for exact birthday ranges for each age division).


ARE GIRLS PLACED ON ALL-GIRLS TEAMS?

Yes.  Girls will be placed on all girl’s teams, unless otherwise specified by the family.


CAN GIRLS PLAY ON BOYS TEAMS?

Yes, however the team is still considered a boys team.


WHAT CONSTITUTES A "STANDARD" RECREATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE?

  • It is volunteer driven
  • Teams are formed by age and school (when possible)  
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE SAM LEAGUE?
SAM offers a practical soccer education that meets the development abilities of players at each age level. All teams play their games on the professionally maintained fields at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

HOW DO I REGISTER AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
All players can register online or in person at the Discovery Sports Center located at the Maryland SoccerPlex (18031 Central Park Circle, Boyds, MD 20841).  If registering online, players may pay by Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover) or may print out a receipt and mail it with a check to “SAM” to 18031 Central Park Circle, Boyds, MD 20841.  Only the parent or legal guardian may register the child that will play.
Registration fees are posted on the Recreation League main page and also the SAM SELECT League main page.

WHEN DO I REGISTER?
Registration for the Fall season is available online from May-September.  Registration for the Spring season is available online from November-April.  You have to register for each season separately.

WHAT IF I HAVE PARTICIPATED BEFORE, BUT DON’T REMEMBER MY PASSWORD?  HOW DO I LOG-IN?
Click here to find out how to access online registration.

I AM A RETURNING PLAYER – WILL I BE PLACED ON MY CURRENT TEAM?
Every effort will be made to honor a player’s request to be placed on their team from the immediate previous season.  However, placement on that team is not guaranteed. 

Returning players must register by the required deadline to be considered for placement on their team from the immediate previous season.

The team coach must be identified at the time of registration (put coaches name in "Coach Request" box). 

After the deadline, all returning and new players are placed on a first-come, first-served basis, as space allows. 

 
HOW DO I TRANSFER TO A NEW TEAM?
Returning players are given the opportunity to request a different coach during registration. Please be sure to specify a second choice in case there is no room on the team you are requesting. If no second choice is indicated, you will be placed on any team with an opening. Priority is given to trying to place players with others from the same school.
 
I AM A NEW PLAYER, BUT I WANT TO REQUEST A SPECIFIC TEAM. HOW DO I DO THIS?
You will be given an opportunity to request a specific coach or to request to be with specific friends during registration. Please be sure to specify a 2nd choice in case your 1st choice is not possible. We will try to accommodate your request if possible, but we cannot guarantee all requests. Coaches and parents may not assign players to a team, and coaches may not promise open roster spots to specific players. 

HOW ARE PLAYERS PLACED ON TEAMS?

Players are placed using the following guidelines:
  1. Returning players, whenever possible 
  2. New and returning players first-come, first-serve 
  3. Coach/team request 
  4. Friend request 
  5. School 
  6. Open Team

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’VE BEEN PLACED ON A TEAM?
Coaches will begin contacting players in mid to late August for the fall season and mid to late March for the spring season. If we are unable to place your child on a team we will contact you prior to this time to inform you of your status on a waiting list.

MAY I PLAY ON TWO TEAMS AT ONCE?
Players are not permitted to participate on two SAM soccer teams within the same age division during the same season. 
Players possessing a player card (either MSYSA or US CLUB Soccer) are considered travel players and are not permitted to play in the SAM Soccer League.
Otherwise players can play on more than one team, but they must pay twice.
 
WHEN IS THE LEAGUE PLAYED?
The league is played in the Fall and Spring of each year.  The Fall is the first season of the soccer year, the Spring is the second.

WHAT DAYS ARE GAMES PLAYED?
Primarily on Saturdays with some Sunday matches.

WHAT TIMES ARE GAMES PLAYED?
Games can kick off as early as 8:00am or as late as 6:00pm.  Game times will change from week to week.


WHERE ARE THE GAMES PLAYED?
At the Maryland SoccerPlex.  Actual field assignments are listed in the schedule for the current season. 

WHEN ARE THE SCHEDULES POSTED?
Game schedules are posted roughly 2 weeks before the first game. Practice schedules are emailed out to coaches approximately 4 weeks before the first game.

HOW MANY GAMES WILL I GET TO PLAY?
Each team is guaranteed 8 games each season.

WHERE DO I PRACTICE?
Field assignments for practices may be different each season. Practice fields are a combination of what is received from the county schools and parks offices. When your coach contacts you at the start of the season you will be informed of your practice schedule. 95% of teams practice in the greater Germantown area. 
 
WHEN WILL I PRACTICE?
Weekly practice times (not to exceed 2 per week) and locations are arranged by the coach of your team in coordination with what field assignments SAM receives from the county.

DO I PLAY ON THE SAME FIELD EVERY GAME?
No your field will likely change from week to week, but please note ALL games are played on one of the Maryland SoccerPlex's 24 fields.

DO I NEED SPECIAL EQUIPMENT?
  • Shin guards are mandatory and must be worn under socks at all games and practices.
  • Safety eyewear is mandatory for those players requiring prescription lenses.
  • All jewelry (including pierced earrings) must be removed according to FIFA rules.
  • Long hair may be tied back with soft “scrunchies” or rubber bands – hard clips and accessories are not allowed.
  • Metal cleats are not permitted.       
DO I GET A UNIFORM?
All Rec players receive a full uniform - jersey, shorts and sock. Please indicate your child's prefered size during the registration process. SELECT players do not receive a uniform.

WILL MY CHILD PLAY IN EVERY GAME?
The SAM League is intended to allow all players, regardless of soccer experience, the opportunity to learn and enjoy the game. As such, SAM requires that every player present at a game must play at least 50% of the game. Regardless of whether you can make practice, if you are present at the game, you will still play 50%.  In addition, it is recommended that players play no more than ½ game as the goalkeeper. Parents with concerns regarding playing time are encouraged to first, speak with their coach and then if needed, contact SAM directly if the issue persists. 
 
This policy does shift some in the SELECT league, but we encourage all coaches to abide by it.

HOW DO I REPORT A PROBLEM AT MY GAME? 
All reports MUST be submitted in writing to SAM within 48 hours of the game.  We cannot investigate your concerns unless they are received in writing within a reasonable time-frame. SAM will investigate the report and take appropriate action.
Additionally, every Saturday and some Sundays SAM has an employee on-site at the SoccerPlex. For any major disciplinary concerns, referee issues, etc. please call the SAM offices at 301-528-1480 and we will send a representative up to your field if warranted.

HOW ARE SCORES REPORTED?
All scores must be submitted by the coach or manager of the winning team by 12pm noon of the first Monday after the game to scores@samsoccer.org.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF GAMES ARE CANCELLED BECAUSE OF WEATHER?
In the event of a league-wide cancellation due to inclement weather, SAM will make a decision to cancel all games before 8:00 am, when possible. Cancellation of games must be coordinated with the Director of Operations and the Director of Grounds at the Maryland SoccerPlex, and decisions are not made hastily. 

If games are cancelled, notification will be placed on the SAM website. You can also call the Weather Hotline at 301-528-1497. Once games are cancelled for the entire day, it is impossible to reverse the decision for games later in the day.

If weather deteriorates during the day, or specific fields are unplayable, games may be cancelled on a field-by-field basis. Teams will be notified when possible, and cancellations will be posted on the SAM website and the weather hotline (301-528-1497) as they are reported. Once games have started, referees are instructed to use common sense and suspend play if dangerous conditions exist. When conditions are questionable, players are encouraged to check the website and/or weather hotline before leaving home for their game.

A game is considered complete if it has been played through the first half before being terminated by the referee. 

ARE REFEREES PRESENT FOR EACH GAME?
Yes, certified referees are scheduled for each game EXCEPT for the U6 & U7 age groups, which are self-refereed.

HOW MANY PLAYERS CAN BE ON MY ROSTER?
Age divisions with a birthday chart for the current season are available on the Rec League & SELECT League main page along with the max number of players per roster. 

HOW LONG ARE THE GAMES?
Please refer to the chart listed on the Rec League & SELECT League main page.

Referee FAQs

The Maryland SoccerPlex uses the Capital Area Soccer Referees Association (CASRA) to supply referees for the thousands of games played on its fields throughout the year. While SAM expects all participants to be courteous and civil with referees before, during and after the match, we understand that not every call is the correct call. Therefore, SAM wants to make sure all participants are educated on the intricacies of refereeing, and how to properly deal with any frustration they may have. 

It is important to note: Abuse of the referee will NOT be tolerated before, during or after a game.

Step 1: The referee called a poor game, what do I do?

Be supportive of him/her.  These referees love the sport of soccer and give their time and energy to officiate over these contests. All SAM referees are certified and required to take (at the least) a 14 hour course and pass an exam.  They get re-certified each year.  

Step 2: But what about this particularly terrible call?

Are you sure it was a bad call? Familiarize yourself with the FIFA Rules of the Game. Often times the ruling is just misunderstood because many calls are judgmental.  The laws of the game, in spirit, are meant to allow the game to flow, so delayed calls and advantage may raise the ire of fans, coaches and players, but are actually the correct ruling. 

Step 3: The call was actually incorrect. What recourse do I have? 

Just as a player or coach never have a perfect game, neither does a referee. Bad calls are part of the game and occur at every level of sports. Once a referee has made a final decision and the game is over there is very little that can be done. If you have some serious complaints you would like to share you can e-mail them to the Director of Programs at the Maryland SoccerPlex, Jimmy Escobar, at jescobar@mdsoccerplex.org. If the Program Manager feels your complaints have merit, he will forward them to CASRA, and they will instruct their referee if they find he was in error. 

Step 4: Isn’t there something MORE I can do? 

We are glad you asked! To become a certified referee and improve the game yourself, go to Maryland Soccer Referees Website. If you are already certified and would like to know about obtaining game assignments, contact Missy Lambert with CASRA at mglambert33@msn.com