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There is nothing wrong with recruiting. Often you will hear those who most vocally despise recruiting compare it to "stealing". Yet, you cannot "steal" something that no one owns. Players are not possessions; they are not slaves. They cannot be "stolen". They can be recruited, but will only be recruited when the player (or player's parents) sees something of greater value with the "recruiter." If you do not want your players being recruited, give them more of what they want than other organizations and in the process educate them. If you cannot give them what they want, why should anyone expect them to stay?

While there is nothing wrong with recruiting, there is something wrong with asking someone to forsake their commitments and leave a team mid season. We do not do that. It is not only against the rules it is unethical and hypocritical. We expect players to honor their commitment to us; we should also expect and encourage them to honor their commitments to others.

What is worse is unethical recruiting - promising what you cannot deliver, promising and delivering something that can destroy a player's future eligibility, and promising something unrelated that is improperly bundled together, such as play for my club and I will get you on to the ODP team I coach. In the case of unethical recruiting, it is not the recruiting that is bad, but how it was done.

Development is most likely to happen when players combine who have similar interests and ability. To attract such players, you must inform them of the opportunity. Most ultimately learn through the "grapevine" where to go, but still you must communicate the good points our program offers, for many will not know if you do not tell them. Communicating = sales = recruiting.

There is nothing wrong with recruiting. It is inherent in the nature of competitive soccer. It is important that everyone know and understand the rules governing recruiting. Everybody - coaches, players AND PARENTS are bound by them and the failure to follow them can be drastic.

First, our Club is responsible for what parents, players, coaches, basically anybody who has a relative on the team does or says. Here is the Rule:

5.2.7. Coaches and other team officials shall be subject to all rules pertaining to misconduct contained herein, including cautions, ejections and standard suspension. Any other individuals who may be reasonably construed as being associated with a team, such as relatives and spectators, shall also be subject to the jurisdiction and authority of this Association.

Second, if a player is rostered to another team, even a recreational team, we need to have written permission for that player to attend our practices. As State President I can grant permission, but that will create more problems than it would solve, so I will not. Be sure you have written permission before the player comes to practice. Some years ago Emilio had this issue and because he asked for written permission it saved us being accused of illegal recruiting. Here is the Rule:

3.13.3. Unless a player is a free agent, Coaches, teams and/or clubs must have a written release from the player's coach, playing association or State President if the player is to try out, practice or be placed on a roster.

Third, during the "free agent" period you can approach anyone, whether they are registered with another team or not, and ask them to leave their team to join us. The free agent period is June 15, to July 15. Here are the pertinent Rules:

3.13.1. Youth players will become "free agents" on June 15. They shall remain free agents until July 15, or until they are registered with KSYSA and rostered with a team, whichever occurs first. After July 15, a player will still be considered a free agent until such time as they register and roster to a team.

3.13.2. Players may register and roster to recreational teams within a member organization prior to July 15 when that entire association has an earlier registration. Any player rostered to a recreational team prior to July 15, will still be considered a "free agent" between the period of June 15, and July 15, under the provisions of these rules, and may try out for a classic or premier team without a written release during that time period.

Fourth, you can approach anybody about joining us next year, but, it is a violation AND A VERY SERIOUS ONE, to ask someone to leave their current team and join us this year. As a matter of club policy when people have come to us in the past and sought to join us and leave, their existing team we have told them it is our policy to encourage players to stay with the team they signed up with and honor their commitments. We have lost potential players for this reason, but it is impossible to successfully accuse us of recruiting violations.

Many clubs treat their players as possessions, in effect slaves, and see any attempt to encourage a player to consider us for the NEXT YEAR as a recruiting violation. It is not. But, that does not stop the charges, so be very clear.

The penalties are very severe. Your entire team, every player, every coach could be suspended for six months - that is six months with no games AT A MINIMUM, if one parent simply "attempts to induce" someone to leave. This could be as innocent as saying, "Your current team is lousy, and you should come over and join us." They might mean "join us NEXT YEAR", but not having said that someone can construe to be a violation. Even if everything we say is true, if it is for this year, it is a violation.

5.5.3. Any club, team, coach, player or any other person who induces or attempts to induce a registered player to leave his team in order to transfer to another team during the current seasonal year shall be suspended for a minimum of six (6) months. This penalty shall not apply to recruiting efforts that are made in conformity with Rules 3.13.1 through 3.13.5.

A similar restriction applies to efforts to multi roster a player. You must work with the player's coach BEFORE you even approach the player. This rule makes it clear that this applies to players and parents approaching another player.

3.12.11. No coach, assistant coach, trainer, team representative, registered player, or parent may approach a registered player for the purposes of multiple rostering without first contacting that same player's current coach. Failure to comply with this rule shall result in the offending party serving a three (3) game suspension.

Finally, all information we give out must be factual. This is one reason we have given out written material or refer prospects to the web site, which I and/or Emilio have vetted. The way the rule is written you have to be careful giving out even opinions. Opinions are rarely "factual". Here is the rule:

3.13.5. Clubs and Teams may advertise tryouts and recruit players for the upcoming seasonal year, providing all information is factual. Inaccurate advertising or purveying of information shall result in a three (3) game suspension for each team on whose behalf the advertisement was made.

Many Leagues also have rules, though they are very vague. Heartland is an example. Their rule provides:

XX. General Rules

. . . .

D. Any individual or coach found guilty of player recruitment shall be subject to suspension as determined by HEARTLAND SOCCER ASSOCIATION.

An example of vagueness in this Rule is we do not know what will constitute "recruitment" other than it will be determined by Heartland. The last point is important to keep in mind for it is likely that Heartland would hear any allegation of a recruiting violation. KSYSA's Policies governing Discipline provide:

2.2 (C)(2). The original jurisdiction to adjudicate all official protests concerning recruitment of registered players shall be the KSYSA Appeals and Protests Committee only in the event there is no Level One rule governing recruitment, or the rules and/or regulations of various Level One Authorities are in conflict.

Heartland is a Level One organization and they do have a Rule on recruiting, vague as it is.

Once you are familiar with these rules you will be light years ahead of most everybody else. Few actually bother to read the rules. You all should.

Since we founded the club, we have been very proud of the fact that as an organization we have strictly adhered to the Rules, even when most others did not. The irony is those who are often most guilty of violating the rules are the first to try to use the rules against someone else. It does not matter. If we screw up, we are guilty even if our accusers are equally or more guilty. You can find the KSYSA rules on the web at this address: http://www.kansasyouthsoccer.org/2005KSYSARules.pdf The Heartland rules are at: http://www.heartlandsoccer.net/about/hsarules.php

Again, please be sure that you follow these provisions. If you ever have any questions be sure to call an Officer of the Club or the KSYSA Rules Committee Chairperson.

Finally, each year we have tryouts. Over time, we have learned that having large numbers appearing at the tryouts is not a good thing. With a large group it is difficult to evaluate the potential players and some inevitably get lost. The better course is to identify the players we would like to have join our team, players who we have seen play throughout the year and invite them to our tryouts. We will advertise tryouts, place them on our web page, and do what we can to spread the word, but it is far better to target the player we want rather then hope they will come of their own accord, unsolicited.

We do not cut players at U8 to U10 who have been in the Club less than two years. We believe it takes two years to develop. We do cut cancerous parents, however. Please follow the Parent Behavior standard in Chapter Eight.

For older ages, players need to know they are constantly trying out. Not just for our team, but also with who ever else is watching, including college scouts. There are those players who seem to excel in tryouts, but are mediocre at best the remainder of the year. These players do not last long, yet wonder why they are not taken after a sterling tryout performance. Just remember, you are always being watched. Play accordingly.