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Policies & Procedures

Rewarding and Productive Experiences

We believe that there is a place for every child who wants to play soccer in our Club. We adhere to every policy of FIFA’s Fair Play Code. Our players are taught to play fair and respect the laws of the game, as well as, their opponents, teammates, referees and families.  We play to win, but accept defeat with dignity and always promote a positive experience.  We expect our Club members to be ambassadors for the game.

Competitor clubs, players, parents and referees often judge us by how we behave on the sidelines. Appropriate sideline behavior not only applies to our coaching staff and players, but to our families and supporters as well.  To maintain our high standards, Club members and parents must conduct themselves appropriately by always maintaining a positive and encouraging demeanor. Parents and players from competitor clubs and referees are not the enemy.

HESC wants to ensure a rewarding and productive experience for its Club members. By registering your player to participate in HESC, you and your player agree to the terms, conditions, and provisions of the the Houston Express Soccer Club Commitment and Conduct Policy (“Code of Conduct”). Although the Code of Conduct does not cover all the policies of the Club or address all potential issues, it addresses several matters which arise with regularity. Since the opportunity to play for the HESC is both a privilege and a responsibility, we require all players and parents to adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Commitment and Conduct Policy (Code of Conduct)
Procedures for Player Violations of Code of Conduct
Procedures for Parent Violations of Code of Conduct
Procedures for Addressing Grievances
Play-up Policy


Commitment and Conduct Policy (Code of Conduct)

Houston Express Soccer Club (“HESC”) desires that all players have the greatest possible experience in youth soccer. Toward this end, all players and parents must adhere to the following:


Players

Houston Express Soccer Club (“HESC”) wants its players to have the greatest possible youth soccer experience. Toward this end, all players and parents must adhere to the following:

100% attendance, 100% effort. Participation in training and games with a terrific attitude and great effort are essential to skills development.  Failure to participate regularly in training or games can affect a player’s ability to maintain his or her roster position.  Please notify your team manager in advance if you will not be in attendance at a game or training session.

Be prepared:

  • Arrive on time – at or before the time designated by your team manager
  • Wear the appropriate kit – uniform/training tee, cleats and shin guards
  • Bring your gear – water and an inflated soccer ball of the appropriate size
  • Be game ready – get enough sleep and proper nutrients prior to the game

Sportsmanship. Demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times toward opponents, referees, and parents of opposing players.  Soccer is not merely a beautiful game; soccer is a passion shared by cultures worldwide. It unites people everywhere under the banner of fair competition. Our players are part of that passion. To succeed, soccer players must, before anything else, respect the game.  Arguments and inappropriate behavior in games demonstrate a lack of respect for soccer and will be remembered much longer than individual accomplishments and game results.

Practice with your soccer ball at home.  The more time you spend with the ball, the faster your foot skills will develop.

Teamwork. Encourage your teammates on and off the field.  Players gain confidence when they feel valued by their teammates.  Positive comments and encouragement to teammates builds team chemistry.

Learn. Watch soccer. Go to a Dynamo game, watch matches on television.  Players can learn from watching how the experts play the game.


Parents

In general:
Trust the system.  Every youth soccer player develops at his or her own unique pace.  Each player is placed onto a team based on where the HESC coaching staff determines is best for that player at that moment in time.

Arrive on time.  Please organize your schedule to make participation in all training sessions, games and tournaments a priority.  If there is the occasional conflict, please contact your team manager in advance.

Pay on time.  If players do not pay their fees on time, HESC cannot pay staff, maintain fields, hire referees, pay association fees, etc.  Players may not participate in training sessions or games if fees are delinquent.

Help out.  HESC team managers spend several hours per week organizing team matters so the team will always be ready to play.  If the team manager requests parent help, please help.

Stay calm. Please do not approach an HESC coach or team manager with questions about a game or practice until at least 24 hours after the game or practice to let the heat of the moment pass.

At games and practices:
Let the staff coach. Simply put, please encourage without instructing.  The players are being taught how to play soccer and must learn to make their own decisions on the field, no matter what those decisions look like to those of us who are watching them play.  Any time parents shout comments like “Kick it!” “Shoot!” or “Boot it!” it is, almost 100% of the time, contrary to the coach’s instructions to the players, and it’s confusing to the players.

Coaches. The Club strives to have a coach at Express games, but logistical realities make this impossible. In such cases where staff is not present, the team manager will coach the team.

Be positive. Avoid negative or sarcastic comments to HESC players, referees, opposing players or parents of the opposing team. Negative comments are hurtful and are not in the spirit of the game.

Never communicate with the referee.  The HESC coach and the team manager should be the ONLY adults communicating with the referee either during or after the game, without exception. The Club can be fined for improper sideline behavior by the governing associations. If this occurs, the offending party will be billed for any penalties resulting from the complaint filed. Don’t be that parent! It’s embarrassing to the child, the team, the club, and you.

Remain on the spectators’ sideline.  Parents should watch the game exclusively from the sideline opposite their HESC team’s sideline and are not permitted to enter onto the field at any time without the referee’s permission.  The HESC coach and the team manager are the only adults permitted onto the team sideline during the game and during halftime.  In the event of injury, the referee will signal the HESC coach if attention to the player is required.  The HESC coach will then signal parents as necessary.

Note: Soccer rules permit referees to issue red cards to coaches and/or team managers of teams whose parents enter the field or come onto the players’ sideline or otherwise demonstrate behavior that puts the game or the players’ experience of the game at risk.

Private training sessions.The HESC coaching staff is available for individual or small group (up to four players) private training sessions for registered HESC players.  To arrange a private training session with an HESC staff member, parents should contact the person directly to determine availability and cost.  Two key rules apply: No HESC staff member may transport a player or players to or from a private training session; and an adult, other than HESC staff, must be present at all times during any private training session.

Use of HESC Fields

HESC fields are for the private use of HESC and its partner organizations. Use of HESC fields for any purpose, including but not limited to scrimmages and private training sessions, without prior written authorization from HESC is strictly prohibited. Violations are subject to the sanctions as detailed in the HESC Handbook.

Level of Play

Decisions as to which gaming leagues and brackets in which teams will play are made exclusively by the HESC coaching staff.

Procedures for Player Violations of the Code of Conduct

The following summarizes procedures regarding parent and player violations of the Code of Conduct and for airing grievances.

HESC players are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct. Violations will be presented to our Commissioners, Director of Coaching and Club VP for review and action.
In the event that a player demonstrates unsportsmanlike or inappropriate conduct at a game or training session, as determined by the player’s Team Manager, the Team Manager can take any of the following actions:

  • Immediately remove the player from the practice or the game for inappropriate behavior.
  • Refer the matter to the HESC Commissioners, the Director of Coaching, and the Club VP for review and possible sanction. The matter will be investigated by the appropriate HESC official and a determination will be made as to what, if any, sanctions will apply. Sanctions may include, but are not necessarily limited to a warning, suspension, probation, and/or dismissal from the Club. Our procedures will be in accordance with all state and/or local guidelines for participation and promoting the mission and values of HESC. In all cases of disciplinary sanction, the decisions of our Commissioners, Director of Coaching and/or Club VP are final and not subject to appeal. If there is a suspension or dismissal from Club participation, no refunds shall be given.

Procedures for Parent/Guardian Violations of the Code of Conduct

HESC parents and guardians are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct. Violations of the Code of Conduct will be brought before the HESC Commissioners, Director of Coaching, the Club VP and the Club President for review and possible sanction.
In the event that a parent or guardian violates the Code of Conduct at a game or training session, as determined by Team Manager, the Team Manager may take any of the following actions:

  • Direct the offending parent to leave the field
  • Remove the player of the offending parent from the practice or the game and direct both parent and player to leave the field.
  • Refer the matter to the HESC Commissioners, Director of Coaching, Club VP and Club President for review and possible sanction. The matter will be investigated and a determination shall be made as to what, if any, sanctions shall apply. Sanctions may include, but are not necessarily limited to a warning, suspension, probation, and/or dismissal from the Club. HESC procedures are in accordance with all state and/or local guidelines for participation and promoting the mission and values of the Houston Express Soccer Club. In all cases, the decisions of HESC Commissioners, the Director of Coaching, the Club VP and the Club President are final and not subject to appeal.


Procedures for Addressing Grievances

If there is an issue that arises of concern to you as a parent, guardian, or as a member of HESC, please follow the procedure described below. Contact information for staff members, age group coordinators, and board members can be found on the Club website.

  1. If the issue concerns the team (which includes parents) on which your child plays or concerns your child directly:
    1. Discuss the matter with your child’s Team Manager.
    2. If the discussion with the Team Manager and the subsequent action, if any was taken, fails to address the issue, then direct your concern to the appropriate Age Group Coordinator.
    3. If you feel the Age Group Coordinator has not addressed your concerns adequately, you may contact the appropriate HESC Commissioner, the Director of Coaching and Club VP in that order.
  2. If the issue concerns a Team Manager:
    1. First talk to that Team Manager, if possible. If the circumstances are such that talking to the Team Manager or Coach is not a viable option, then talk to the appropriate Age Group Coordinator.
    2. If you feel the Age Group Coordinator has not addressed your concerns adequately, then you may contact the appropriate HESC Commissioner.
    3. After speaking with the Commissioner, if you feel the issue has not addressed your concerns adequately, you may then contact the Director of Coaching and the Club VP in that order.
  3. If the issue concerns an Age Group Coordinator:
    1. First talk to the Age Group Coordinator, if possible. If the circumstances are such that talking to the Age Group Coordinator is not a viable option, then you may talk to the appropriate HESC Commissioner.
    2. After speaking with the Commissioner, if you feel the issue has not addressed your concerns adequately, you may then contact the Club VP.
  4. If the matter concerns the Director of Coaching:
    1. First talk to the Director of Coaching, if possible. If the circumstances are such that talking to the Director of Coaching is not a viable option, then you may contact the Club VP and Club President in that order.
  5. Code of Conduct Violations:
    1. Any violations of the Code of Conduct or other applicable Club agreements or policies shall be referred to the Director of Coaching, Club VP and Club President for further investigation and potential sanctions. Such sanctions may include, but are not necessarily limited to, a warning, suspension, probation, and/or dismissal from the Club. The decisions of our Director of Coaching, Club VP and Club President are final and not subject to appeal.

The foregoing procedures were created to ensure that the needs of HESC families are met by the Club in an open, consistent, and objective manner. If you feel that any unusual circumstances hinder or are outside the scope of these procedures, please contact the Club VP or Club President for further assistance.


Play-up Policy

As a general rule, HESC players play within their natural age group. However, we recognize that in certain cases, due to a player’s exceptional ability, advanced physical or emotional development and/or a high appetite for soccer, opportunities for that player to train or compete in older age groups may be appropriate. We also recognize that a player may attend school in a grade that is older than the grade commonly associated with the player’s natural age group. In such a case, opportunities for the player to compete in older age groups may be appropriate as well. Opportunities to compete in older age groups may include attending additional training sessions, participating as a guest player in games or tournaments or being officially rostered to a team of an older age group.

Sending a player to train or play with a team in an older age group impacts the experiences and opportunities of the players naturally assigned to the receiving age group. Moreover, it can impact the player’s natural age group in ways that are not in the best interest of the other players in the player’s natural age group or the club. For these reasons, opportunities for players to train or compete in an older age group may be limited or restricted by the club. Furthermore, playing up is an ongoing process and requires regular evaluation. An opportunity to play into an older age group in one instance does not guarantee or entitle the player to have subsequent play up experiences. Such opportunities are evaluated and determined on an ongoing basis.

Late Team Formation and Tryout

In some cases, HESC may need to merge age groups to form a hybrid team or may have a player that moves to the area after teams have been formed. In the event that all age appropriate teams are formed and there is not a roster space available in the player’s natural age group, the player could play at the next age group, assuming space is available, and only after being evaluated by our coaching staff and approved by the Director of Coaching. Player(s) playing-up in this situation are required to be evaluated within their natural age group the following season.