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Johnston United Soccer Association

Challenge FAQ

Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Challenge/Classic Play

Below is a list of the Most Frequently Asked Questions by parents whose children are considering the move from recreational soccer to Challenge and/or Classic level play.  We hope this will help you in making the right decision for you, your child and your family.

JUSA’s Position on Age Appropriate Play

It is the recommendation of the Johnston United Soccer Association that all players play in their appropriate age group.  This allows the individual player to develop their physical, mental and social skills at a rate similar to those of their peers.   Whereas JUSA does recognize that in some instances an individual player might have the physical size to play up, this might not be in the best interest of the player in the long run for their overall development.   Individual players must tryout in their proper age group during the first night of tryouts.  If during the tryout process a player exhibits skills that are beyond their peers, then the coaches upon discussion with the DOC feel the player is developmentally ready, the request is granted for the second night of tryouts.  The player / parents will be notified at the conclusion of first night of a players tryout.  

In summary, if a player wishing to “play up” will be a starter on the age group above him/her AND this player can physically impose his/her will and affect the outcome of the match through his/her dominant play, then a player is ready for a higher age group.   If however, this player would not be a starter or even if the player does start but they are not an impact player, JUSA's recommendation is that this player play age appropriate.

1.   What is the difference between Challenge and Classic league soccer?

Challenge :   Challenge soccer is a mid-level youth soccer program designed to fill the competitive gap between Recreational and Classic play.   Players at the Challenge level attend tryouts where their technical and tactical skills are evaluated before being placed on a team.   JUSA believes and is committed to the development of players at the Challenge level so they can, if they wish; move on to the Classic level.   JUSA Challenge teams currently play in the US Club.  

Classic :   Classic soccer is the highest level of league play in North Carolina.   Players at the Classic level must demonstrate talent, commitment, a strong desire to excel, an age appropriate level of team competitiveness and values of good sportsmanship.  Classic soccer in North Carolina is broken into 3 levels:  Premier, 1st Division and 2nd Division.  Premier is a statewide league comprised of the top 8-10 teams in the state.  First division is the next tier of teams from the state broken down into 2 regions, East & West.  Second division is the final tier of teams from the state broken down into 3 regions, East, West & Piedmont.   Teams are promoted and relegated to the various levels of Classic play by NCYSA (North Carolina Youth Soccer Association) the governing body for Classic soccer in North Carolina.


2.    What does it mean to “Card” my player?

Challenge & Classic:   Carding is part of the registration process that helps to maintain the integrity of the game.   Cards are photo ids that are presented at the beginning of each match to ensure that only rostered players are playing in the game.   Carding also is the way in which players are tracked should they leave a team.

3.  What type of financial commitment will I be expected to make?

Challenge & Classic:   This information can be found under the fee structure link above.  [We are working to update this as soon as possible and this will be updated in the next several days.]

4.   When does the season begin?

Challenge:   Initial tryouts are held in the Spring of each year for all age groups, both boys and girls.   U15 and above (boys and girls) do not play Club Soccer during High School season.  Once teams are formed, practice will usually begin in late July or early August for Fall.   Games typically begin after Labor Day and run through the first week of November.   Most teams will elect to attend both a pre-season tournament in August and a post-season tournament in November.   Upon the completion of Fall play there is a break until late January or early February at which time practice will begin for the Spring.   Games for Spring will begin in March and play through early May.   Again, teams will usually elect to attend both a pre-and post- season tournament for Spring.   Players who join a Challenge team are committing to both the Fall & Spring seasons.

Classic:   Initial tryouts are held in the Spring of each year for all age groups, both boys and girls.   U15 and above (boys and girls) do not play Club Soccer during High School season.  Once teams are formed, practice will usually begin in late July or early August for Fall.   Games typically begin after Labor Day and run through the first week of November.   Most teams will elect to attend both a pre-season tournament in August and a post-season tournament in November.   Upon the completion of Fall play there is a break until early – mid January at which time practice will begin for the Spring.   Games for Spring will begin in February and play through late April – early May.   Again, teams will usually elect to attend both a pre-and post- season tournament for Spring.   Players who join a Classic team are committing to both the Fall & Spring season.

5.   How much playing time will my child see?

Challenge:   In Challenge play it is required that all players play no less than one half of each regular season match as long as the player has made every effort to attend all practices during the week.   Because the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association considers Challenge soccer developmental, Challenge coaches are strongly encouraged to consider the regular season participation requirement in all tournament matches.

Classic :   Classic soccer is the most competitive level of youth soccer played in North Carolina with a commitment to player development both technically and tactically.   Playing time is solely at the discretion of the coaches and is not guaranteed in any game for any player.   Match participation is also not guaranteed by the Rules and Regulations of JUSA.

6.   How many tournaments will we go to?

 Challenge:   The choice to play in tournaments is entirely up to each individual team’s coaches and parents.   Coaches and team managers will typically identify which tournaments they are interested in attending and present these options to the parents.   In most circumstances they will try to attend both a pre-and post-season tournament during both the Fall and Spring seasons. The location of the tournaments will depend upon the tournaments themselves but they will usually be within a 3 – 4 hour drive or less

 Classic:   The choice to play in tournaments is entirely up to each individual team’s coaches and parents.   Coaches and team managers will typically identify which tournaments they are interested in attending and present these options to the parents.   In most circumstances they will try to attend both a pre-and post-season tournament during both the Fall and Spring seasons.   The location of the tournaments will depend upon the tournaments themselves but it is not uncommon to attend out-of-state tournaments at this level especially teams in Premier or First Division.


7.   How many nights will my child practice?

Challenge:   Players are expected to attend two, 1 – 1 ½ hour practice sessions per week.  They will have the option of participating in the Railhawks Elite Technique Program to provide an additional night of training.

Classic:   Players are expected to attend a minimum of three, 1 ½ - 2 hour practice sessions per week during the season with an additional 1-2 hour Saturday or Sunday practice session during the pre-season.


8.   When do they play their games?

Challenge:   Challenge teams play one game per week.  Games are typically played on Sunday afternoons.

Classic:   Classic teams usually play one game per week.  Games are typically played on Saturdays with an occasional Sunday game.  As a rule, Classic teams are limited to one game per day but no restrictions apply to the number of games that may be played during a given week.  As such, there may be times due to scheduling needs that a team will play more than one game in a given week.


9.   How far will we need to travel to the games?

Challenge :   Teams mostly travel in the central part of North Carolina with the bulk of the teams from the Triangle area.   Typically, the farthest distance you can expect to travel for a Challenge game is approximately 75 miles, but this is based upon the number of teams / clubs scheduling in a particular age group / division.  

Classic:   The distance you will need to travel for games will depend upon the Classic league your child’s team is playing in (Premier, 1st Division or 2nd Division).  Premier is a statewide league with teams from across the state, which means you could travel up to 250 miles for a game.  1st Division is broken into 2 leagues of teams however; the distance traveled to/from games will be dependant upon the number of teams in the league and the towns in which they come from.  2nd Division is broken into 3 leagues of teams with travel to/from games also dependent upon the number of teams in the league and the towns in which they come from.

10.   What if my child wants or needs to leave the team?

Challenge :   Parents and players should first understand that the desire to leave a team to join another team at this level is not quite as simple as just “quitting”.   When players accept a position on a Challenge team they are committing to both the Fall and Spring seasons of that year, carding takes place and financial commitments are made.   Should a player want to leave a team to join another team, the player must be released by their current coach.   The decision to release a player is solely at the coach’s discretion.   While most coaches will grant the release, the decision to do so is not guaranteed and while a player may be released; there will be financial penalties (i.e. no refunds of registration fees, team dues paid, etc).

Classic :   Parents and players should first understand that the desire to leave a team to join another team at this level is not quite as simple as just “quitting”.   When players accept a position on a Classic team they are committing to both the Fall and Spring seasons of that year, carding takes place and financial commitments are made.   Should a player want to leave a team to join another team, the player must be released by their current coach.   The decision to release a player is solely at the coach’s discretion.   While most coaches will grant the release, the decision to do so is not guaranteed and while a player may be released, there will be financial and Match Play penalties (i.e. no refunds of registration fees, team dues, etc.). Classic players who wish to leave a team can face a 4-game penalty.  

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Johnston United Soccer Association

Weather Hotline: 919-359-2784, PO Box 843
Clayton, North Carolina 27528

Email Us: administrator@jusasoccer.org
Phone : 919-351-0650
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