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Answers to your most common questions

Section 1: General

Q: Why is U5-U8 using Pool Training?

A:  Please see our FAQ’s specific to Pool Training.

Q: What does a player need to pay soccer?

A:  Shin guards, soccer ball, water bottle and soccer cleats

Q: Who do I contact if my questions are not answered here?

A: Contact Panther Soccer Academy via email at  Our board shares the duties of checking the incoming emails.


Q: How does Panther Soccer Academy notify me about things?

A: All first-level communication is done by email. With just a handful of volunteers and hundreds of players/parents, email is the only way to feasibly broadcast information. Please make sure you register with an email address that you will check regularly. Once you have been assigned to a team, your coach may email or phone you about practices and other information. You can also check the web site directly to get game schedules and check on the rain-out status of the fields.


Section 2: Registration


Q: How do I register?

A: Registrations are handled through our website.  Please go to the Registration section for detailed information including fees, levels of play, etc.


Q: Do I need to complete a Medical Release Form?

A: Yes…All soccer players are required to complete and sign a medical release form. The medical release form is available in the Registration and Documents sections and will be provided to and retained by your coach.  Please have it ready for the first day of practice.


Q: What if my child is a non-US-born player or has dual-citizenship (US and some other country)?

A: There may be additional International Player Clearance forms which need to be submitted to FIFA through STYSA. This has nothing to do with the US government, but is a requirement by FIFA of all soccer clubs worldwide.


Q: Do I need to show proof of age?

A: Yes…All soccer players will be required to show Proof of Age.  This is a requirement from our parent organizations (CAYSA, STYSA, USYS) to ensure fairness of play.  The verification of the registered date of birth can be satisfied by LHYSA seeing official proof.  LHYSA does not keep such proof on file. We just need to see it.


Q: What do I need to show proof of age?

A: From the STYSA Administrative Handbook, Registration chapter:

"3.2.8. PROOF OF AGE. Proof of age shall consist of a certified or verified birth certificate, a Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (or the equivalent Department of Defense form) issued by the uniformed services of the United States, a birth registration issued by an appropriate government agency or board of health records, a passport, an alien registration card issued by the United States Government, a certificate issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service attesting to age, a current driver’s license, an unexpired federal, state or local government identification card (if documentation of birth is required), or a certification of an American citizen born abroad issued by the appropriate government agency. Hospital, baptismal or religious certificates will not be accepted.”


Q: Registration is over; can I still get on a team?

A: Once registration ends and the teams are formed, players can still be added provided there is roster space on a team. Certain divisions fill up very quickly.  Please contact Panther Soccer Academy to inquire if space is still available.


Q: What is the refund policy?

A: Full refunds will be provided for cancellations prior to the uniform order. Full refunds less the uniform fee will be provided for cancellations after uniforms are ordered.  No refunds will be provided after the 1st game. Full refunds for special situations may be provided per the discretion of the Executive Committee.

Section 3: Leagues and Age Groups


Q: What "U" group or Age group are you?

A: The age group your child plays in is determined by their birth year.  For instance a player born in 2008 will play in the U11 age group for the 2018-19 season.  It should be noted that the format “U followed by age” really means that and and younger. For example, U8 is ages 8 and younger.  Use this Age Group Chart to help determine the appropriate age group for your player.


Q: Can I play up into an older age bracket?

A: Yes, an experienced or particularly talented player may choose to play up with Rules Committee approval.


Q: Can I play down into a younger age bracket?

A: No, regardless of how inexperienced the player is, s/he may NOT play down into a younger age bracket.


Q: Do boys and girls play on the same team?

A: In U5 and U6, boys and girls play on the same team. Starting in U7/U8, boys and girls play in separate leagues.  Genders may be combined up to U10 if necessary due to lower than expected registration numbers. In U11-U19, girls are permitted to play on boys’ teams but boys may never play on girls’ teams.


Q: What is the difference between competition levels, such as D4, D3, and D2?

A: D4 stands for 'Division 4', D3 stands for 'Division 3', etc., each of those categories defines a an age group and level of play.

  • D4 is age groups U5 through U10 (Recreational)

  • Academy is a more competitive level for age groups U8 through U10 where teams play inter-league (includes non-LHYSA teams) in order to provide more competitive play.

  • D3 is age groups U11 through U19 (Recreational)

  • DII  “Select” is age groups U11 through U19 where the teams are formed (selected) to compete at a higher level of competition 

  • Super II is age groups U11 through U19 at a competition level higher than DII.

  • DI is age groups U11 through u19 at a competition level higher than Super II.


Section 4: Uniforms & Equipment


Q. What equipment do I need?

A: Every player needs their own ball, shin guards, soccer socks, soccer shorts, and a water bottle.  Soccer cleats are recommended but not required. The following types of shoes are not permitted for practices or games: baseball cleats; football shoes or any shoe with a toe cleat; any shoe with metal cleats.


Q: Do we get a uniform?

A: In D4 each age group has a different jersey.  As players age into a new group (Fall) they must pay the required uniform fee.  D4 players will receive one jersey, one pair of shorts, and one pair of socks.

Academy, D3, and Select players will order their uniform kit separately through  The kit includes two jerseys, one pair of shorts and one pair of socks. (Academy and Select players will also receive a practice shirt).  These kits may be reused over several seasons.


Q: Why are there separate uniform fees?

A:  In order to keep costs as low as possible we try to reuse uniforms for multiple seasons.  This way a uniform fee is only paid in any season in which a new uniform is required.


Q: What size ball do we use?

A: U5-U8 use a size 3 ball. U9-U12 use a size 4 ball. U13+ use a size 5 ball.


Section 5: Teams


Q: How big are the teams?

A: Panther Soccer Academy uses small-sided teams:

  • U5-U6: 3v3

  • U7-U8: 4v4

  • U9-U10: 7v7

  • U11-U12: 9v9, max 14 per team

  • U13-U15: 11v11, max 18 per team

  • U16-U19: 11v11, max 22 per team


Q: How are teams formed?

A: The goal of Panther Soccer Academy is to build up individual players, not teams.  Thus, teams are formed beginning in U10 with the intention of creating competitive balance.


Q: Can I stay with my team/coach from last season?

A: We believe that it is beneficial for players to experience different coaching approaches.  Our coaches are trained and given the Panther Soccer Academy curriculum to help ensure that all training is consistent.


Section 6: Game Information


Q: Where are the games?

A: All of the D4 games are held at the City Park fields on CR 200.  Academy, D3, D2, Super 2, and D1 will typically play half their games at the City Park fields or Williamson County Park and half their games as the visiting team on fields around the Greater Austin area.


Q: When are the games played?

A: D4 games are scheduled on Saturday mornings. Academy, D3, D2 Super 2, and D1 games are scheduled for Saturday and/or Sundays. Saturday games start between 8am and 5pm.  Sunday games typically start between 1pm and 5pm.


Q: Will we have to travel?

A: Usually, only Academy and U11 and above will be required to travel. Panther Soccer Academy is part of the Capital Area Youth Soccer Assn (CAYSA) and we play other Recreational and Competitive teams that are also a part of CAYSA. Different levels of play may require more travel than other. For example, a Super II or Division I team may travel to San Antonio. A Recreational CAYSA team may travel to Round Rock, Pflugerville, Georgetown, or Lampasas.


Q: How long are the games?

A: U5-U6 Games are 4 quarters of 8 minutes with 2 min breaks between quarters and a 5-min break at half. Including warm-up, it is about an hour from start to finish.

U7-U8 games are 4 quarters of 10 minutes with 2-min breaks between quarters and a 5-min break at half. Including referee check-ins and post-game snacks, it is about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

U9-U10 games are 2 halves of 25 minutes with a 5-min break at half. Including referee check-ins and post-game snacks, it is about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

U11-U12 games are two halves of 30 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.

U13-U14 games are two halves of 35 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.

U15-U16 games are two halves of 40 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.

U17 and up games are two halves of 45 minutes each with a 10 minute halftime break.


Q: Do we keep scores/standings?

A: Scores and official standings are not kept in the D4 league.  In U11 and up, game cards are signed and mailed to the CAYSA VP for the appropriate age group. Standings are kept and can be viewed at


Q: What is the required playing time for each player?

A: Recreational soccer has a 50% per game play rule, whereby all kids are given the opportunity to play 50% of the game time for which they are present. Each player present for the entire game should play at least half of each half. In some instances, this may be modified per the coaches discretion for player behavioral or medical problems.


Q: When can we substitute? Are the rules enforced for the little kids?

A: Officially, you can only sub on a goal kick, a mid-field kickoff (after a goal is scored), or when it's your possession on a kick in or throw in. You cannot make a substitution during the other team's kick-in/throw in, or on penalty kicks, or on corner kicks.


Section 7: Coaching


Q: What kind of coaching is provided at Panther Soccer Academy?

A: Most of our soccer teams are coached by VOLUNTEER parent coaches.  Select teams have paid trainers to assist with practices.


Q: I've never coached before, can I be a coach?

A: Yes, anyone can volunteer to coach a Recreational team. Obviously it helps if you're familiar with the rules and how the game is played, especially in the older age groups, but many of the responsibilities of a Recreational coach are administrative in nature. Enthusiasm and a desire to work with the players are the most important qualities. Often two or three parents will work together with one being the "team manager" who handles all the communication with the parents and league, and other(s) helping run practices. Anyone who is a coach or assistant coach must go through STYSA coaches certification training AND a GotSoccer background check and keep their Kid-Safe card with them during games and practices.


Section 8: Practices


Q: How often do we practice?

A: Practices are scheduled and managed by the volunteer coaches. U5 and U6 teams have one practice per week, not to exceed 45 minutes. U7 and U8 teams practice once a week, for 45-60 minutes. U9-U10 teams practice once or twice a week, for 60-75 minutes. U11 and older teams practice once or twice a week for 75-90 minutes.


Q: Where are practices held?

A: Right now, all practices are at the City Park fields.


Q: Does my child have to go to practice to play?

A: Since it is a team effort, please make every effort to have your child at practice, but the 50% play time rule (unless set aside for discipline or injury situations) still applies regardless of practice attendance.


Section 9: Rescheduling games


Q: It rained and the field was closed. What about those games?

A: Every effort is made to reschedule rained out games; coaches and team managers will notify families as soon as the schedule is updated.


Section 10: Volunteering


Q: Do I have to volunteer?

A: Panther Soccer Academy is an all volunteer organization. We encourage parents to participate as coaches, team parents, commissioners, or board members. Such participation is optional. However, we do not have enough board and commissioner participants to cover all the game-day responsibilities while respecting our board and commissioners family commitments.


Section 11: Season Activities and Specific Dates


Q: Do we get pictures?

A: There is a picture day and everyone gets one team print. You can purchase larger packages of photos at that time.


Q: Do we get trophies/medals?

A: All U5-U8 recreational teams get medals.  U10 teams will participate in an end of season tournament and 1st/2nd place will receive trophies.  Many teams of all age levels also decide to separately purchase trophies for their players.


Q: What are the seasons and when do they start and end?

A: There are two soccer seasons (FALL and SPRING). The FALL SEASON starts early to mid-September and runs through the middle of November, usually 10 weeks with 8-10 games played. The SPRING SEASON usually starts in late February/early March and runs through the beginning of May, usually 10 weeks with 8-10 games played. For U15-U19 games do not usually begin until after spring break (which is about the time that the high school seasons ends).


Section 12: Referees


Q: Who referees the game?

A: In U5-U6, the coaches referee the game and keep game-play moving. U7-U19 have licensed referees.


Q: How old do you have to be to be a referee?

A: Most referees are at least 12 years old. Contact the Referee Commissioner for more information (


Q: Why do some referees call the game differently?

A: The refs have considerable discretion on how to run the game. Some of the things that can be variable from game to game are how rigidly they enforce substitution rules, whether they're going to end quarters exactly at 10-min or let the play conclude and call the quarter at a dead ball, and whether they're going to call every foul immediately or allow for "advantage" and let play continue for a bit to see if the foul actually affects the team controlling the ball.


Section 13: Other

Q: What happens if I, as a parent, have issues with my child's coach?

A: Contact the age group commissioner.