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Minimum Playing Time Policy

Malden Youth Soccer’s core mission is to provide access to soccer instruction, coaching and games to the young people in the City of Malden.  Ensuring that all players have the opportunity to participate fully during the games as well as the practice sessions is integral to this mission.
As the saying goes, “The game is the best teacher.”  To that end, we have encouraged and adopted minimum playing time standards for all players. It is imperative that recreational and instructional leagues like Malden Youth Soccer provide adequate playing time to all players, thus giving them the necessary developmental experiences of taking risks, making mistakes, and learning on the field.  In a recreational league such as ours, winning games is incidental to the player's development of individual skills, fitness, teamwork and fair play in soccer, achieved through instruction and experience.

It is the policy of Malden Youth Soccer that all players should receive no less than the following approximate levels of playing time:


​During the regular season:

  • PreK-Grade 3 (in town): minimum of 40%, goal of 50%

  • Grades 3-8 (travel): minimum of 40%, goal of 50%

  • Grades 9-10-11 (travel): minimum of 40% (of dressed players per game)

  • Grades 12+ (travel): minimum of 30% (of dressed players per game)

For post-season play, such as in the Commissioner’s Cup or MTOCs:

  • Grades 3-8 (travel): minimum of 30%

  • Grades 9+ (travel): minimum of 25% (of dressed players per game)

* These levels are expected for every game (not an average over the course of the season). 

Players who meet any of the following requirements may be exempted from the policy at the discretion of the coach so long as the exemption is applied consistently throughout the team:

  • Uncommunicated absences from games

  • Excessive uncommunicated absences from practices 

  • Poor sportsmanship or conduct

  • Poor attitude on and off the field impacting the development of the team

  • Violations of published team/club/league/district policies

  • Injury when communicated properly to the players and familie

In addition to the mandatory minimum playing time specified above, it may be considered to be an abuse of this policy for players to receive grossly less playing time than others on the team on a consistent basis.  Such cases may be reviewed by the board, and corrective actions may be taken if the board finds the reason for excessive bench time was not valid.  Examples of such violations include (but are not limited to):

  • In a game with a small number of substitute players (<50% of field players), a player being benched for more than 1 shift in a row in any half

  • Players being benched for invalid reasons without adequate warning and opportunity to correct the problematic behavior

  • Any player receiving less than 1 adequate shift in any half.  Exceptions may include full-time goal keeper.

Violations of or questions about this policy should be reported through the recommended escalation process.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This policy does not insist that every player receive an equal playing time.  It is allowed for coaches to play some players more than others, so long as every player receives AT LEAST the minimum target of playing time, and players are not excluded from play for improper reasons. 


This is a priority concern for our organization.  Regular violations of this policy will not be tolerated and coaches found to be non-compliant by a hearing of the board will be asked to leave the program.

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