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Welcome to DSA′s home on the web!

The Darien Soccer Association is dedicated to providing our youth players with an enjoyable and educational athletic experience.  We provide players of all skill levels a structure built around sportsmanship, dedication and individual development.

 Please make our website your first stop for any questions you may have.


HEADLINES  Subscribe to Darien Soccer Association RSS news feed.
Travel Tryout Dates- Update
DSA TRAVEL SOCCER TRYOUTS DATES  Note:  All Travel Registrants...
Update on Youth Soccer Heading Rules
Parents, Players and Coaches... As you are now aware the new heading...
DSA Soccer Update- Birth Year Rostering
  Dear Darien Soccer Parents, Players, Coaches, Volunteers...
New Heading Restrictions
New Heading Restrictions- Spring 2016 This is effective immediately....
Heads Up: Concussions in Youth Sports
"Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" is designed to help...
Travel Tryout Dates- Update


Note:  All Travel Registrants will be given final tryout details, via email, a few days before tryouts begin.  All those trying out must have a paid registration before the first tryout date.



2008 BOYS 4-6 AT SONO MON May 23 AND MON June 6 At ROYLE  

2008 GIRLS 4-6 AT SONO TUES May 24 AND TUES May 31 at ROYLE 

2007 BOYS MON JUNE 6th 4-5.30 AND WED JUNE 8th  5.30-7 AT MMS UPPER

2006 BOYS MON JUNE 6th 5.30-7 AND WED JUNE 8th 4-5.30 AT MMS UPPER

2005 BOYS TUES May 24th 4-5.30  and THURS May 26 5.30-7 AT MIDDLESEX LOWER

2004 BOYS THURS May 26th  4-5.30 MIDDLESEX LOWER Raindate June 4th

2003/2002 BOYS WED May 25th 4-5.30 Wed June 1st 4-5.30 MIDDLESEX LOWER 

2007 GIRLS TUES May 31 4-5:30 AND THURS JUNE 2nd 5:30-7 AT MMS UPPER

2006 GIRLS TUES May 31 5:30-7 AND THURS JUNE 2nd 4-5:30 AT MMS UPPER




Note:  2006 and 2007 tryouts now at MMS Upper

by posted 05/17/2016
Update on Youth Soccer Heading Rules

Parents, Players and Coaches... As you are now aware the new heading rules are in effect.  The new rules will take time to get used to so we ask for your patience with our referees as both players and officials get used to the new procedures.


The following message is going out to all DSA referees:


New Procedure when a U11 or younger player deliberately heads the ball in a game.


Please refer to this as your exact and only guidance on how this new procedure is to be carried out for DSA home games, effective April 1st, 2016.


In any game involving U11 or younger players (U9, U10, U11, 3/4 Club Excel and 5/6 Club Excel) when a player deliberately heads the ball, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense.


If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.  


This is not a considered a foul or any kind of infringement of the Laws of the Game.  It is merely a safety precaution.  Just like when someone is injured and you stop the game to attend to them.  You are stopping the game due to a safety concern.  For an injury, you would restart with a drop ball.  In the case of a deliberate header, US Soccer instructs us to restart with an indirect free kick, so that players will learn to avoid deliberate headers. As soon as the ball touches the player’s head and you make the determination that it was deliberate, the ball is dead, all play stops.  You must restart with an IFK each time.


Since this is not considered an infraction-  None of the following apply:


No Advantage- Even if the headed ball goes directly to the other team, do not allow play to continue on.  All play is dead. 


No Goal off a Header, no Own Goal off a Header-  If the ball goes in to the goal, either by the offense or the defense, it is not a goal.  Even if you could not blow the whistle before the ball went into the net, it does not matter.   


No Yellow Cards for Persistent Infringement - If the same player does this 5 times in a row, it is not persistent infringement, you do not issue any yellow cards. 


No DOGSO- If a defender deliberately heads the ball away on a breakaway, it is not to be considered possibly Denying and Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity.  


Practical challenges and considerations in implementing this new procedure.  Referees and coaches should be aware of how this new procedure can impact the game.


Managing an increased number of IFK restarts in a match-  For U9’s it is their first time playing under the full Laws of the Game.   They rules around free kicks are new to them.  U10’s and U11’s probably will be confused as well.  Get to the location of the restart quickly and retrieve the ball.  Verbally get the nearby defenders back 10 yards so you can have a quick restart if that is what the attacking team wants.  Try to avoid too many formal restarts where you have to walk off the 10 yards.  The possibility that a header could happen at any moment in the game means you need to be vigilant about staying close to play the entire match.


IFK’s inside the Goal area-  If an attacker inside the goal area heads a ball (typically on a corner kick) then the restart is essentially a goal kick.  Put the ball on the Goal area line.  Ball not in play until it has left the Penalty area. 


If a defender heads the ball inside the Goal area, ALWAYS DO A FORMAL RESTART.  We are not looking for gamesmanship by the coaches to take advantage of the safety stop to get a cheap goal by restarting quickly.  This is a learning opportunity for all players.  Blow the whistle, control the ball.  The defenders can form a wall on the goal line, since 10 yards is not possible inside the 6 yard goal area.  They cannot be closer to the ball than the goal line.  So, assist them in getting set up, because it will not be a proper restart if everyone is not on the goal line. 


High Foot- Playing in a Dangerous Manner-  Since the players will soon learn not to use their head to play the ball, watch out for an increased tendency to stick their feet high up to play the ball.  On the plus side, if this new procedure lead to emphasis on playing the ball with the body rather than the head, that will broaden the soccer skills of these young players.


Learning Curve-  It is especially important that we all (refs and coaches) are consistent in how we train the players about this new procedure and how we carry it out during the match.  If we are rigorous, they will learn and adapt quickly.  We will quickly have fewer headers and the flow of the game will not be interrupted incessantly.


If any refs, coaches, players or parents have questions about this new procedure, please contact:


Frank X. McGarey

DSA Referee Development


by posted 04/21/2016
DSA Soccer Update- Birth Year Rostering


Dear Darien Soccer Parents, Players, Coaches, Volunteers and Friends:

We are very happy to have Spring weather and our players on the pitch again.  Welcome back!

As a follow up to our announcement several months ago pertaining to new birth year registration standards established by U.S. Soccer, the Darien Soccer Association has been working extensively with our State and Local soccer districts as well as other local soccer clubs so that we can provide a clear understanding of the new standards and what they mean for our programs. 

Firstly, we encourage each family to read and familiarize themselves with U.S. Soccer’s new Player Development Initiatives and birth year registration standards. We encourage you to download the PDF presentation.  Go to


We hope you find this information and FAQs helpful.  If anyone still has questions please email



Birth Year Registration – Summary Fall 2016

In the Fall of 2016, DSA teams will be rostered by Birth Year.  Parents and players should be aware the new age group structure is a departure from how travel players have traditionally been assigned and registered to DSA travel teams (currently teams are grouped from Aug 1st to July 31st ).  Our next registration for Fall 2016 will be updated to reflect the changes.


New (Fall 2016)

Teams will be rostered together by Birth Year.  Jan 1st  thru Dec 31st .  


A simple example: If your son or daughter was born in 2008 then they will be grouped with other players from 2008.  In the same example, this player would register for 2008 soccer and tryout for 2008 soccer. 


This Fall teams will be identified by birth year.  We will identify our teams based upon their birth year.  For example, we will call our Travel girls from the birth year 2008 Blue team:  Darien ’08 Girls Blue.   


Plans are being made to make our next registration and Try-outs as clear as possible.  Follow your birth year and all will fall into place.  



*For players born between 1/1/02-12/31/03:


Our district will be combining these two birth years into one group:  2003/2002.  This decision will essentially capture any 2002 players who are in the 8th grade (many 2002 players will be in HS).  2002 athletes who are in high school will not be allowed to play on the combined 2003/2002 team.


Please note that this combined birth year concept will continue forward for future years to come.  So, in the fall 2017, our players born between 1/1/03-12/31/04, will be combined into one group:  2004/2003




1.  Does the DSA have to follow these mandates?

All organized Clubs throughout the country are conforming to these mandates.  All of DSA’s programs, including Travel, Club Excel (our house program) and K-2 will be conforming.


2.  Does this mean Travel teams will be split up?

Many travel teams that have historically had, in general, the same roster for years, will have many of the same players and friends from prior years.  However, some players will undoubtedly be moving to other teams to conform to the new age guidelines.  As a general guide, we would expect roughly a 2/3rds of teams will remain…the remaining 1/3 will be moving to their age appropriate team.


3.  Can a player “play up” so teams stick together?

Unfortunately no.  We will be firm with age groups and expect the adjustment to take only 1 season.  Under only exceptional circumstances will a player move up under the appointment of the DSA Director of Coaching.  In year’s past we rarely had players “play up” that weren’t age appropriate. 


4. My child is in 4th grade. All of her classmates are in the next older age group. Can you make an exception, based on her grade?


Teams will be based upon birth year and not grade.  This includes K-2 and Club Excel (Club Excel will combine 2 birth years for their leagues).  We realize that the children in the same grade will be in different travel team age groups, but we are required to comply with the changes which will go into effect throughout the United States.  It is not uncommon for other sports to have players from different grades playing together.



5.  Why is my son or daughter jumping 2yrs from U11 to U13?

This is a common question.  In fact there is no “jumping”.  As already discussed players will be grouped with their same birth year.  The “U” age classification is only required to label different league groups.  Birth year will determine what age they play with and “U” grouping will identify what league they are in.

For example.  A Fall 2004 Birthday player who is playing with U11 this spring would naturally rise to U12 under the old system.   This player, under the new system, would, as a Fall birthday, play with U13.  So while it may seem like a big ‘jump’, he or she will still be grouped with all 2004s.


6.  How will this impact Tryouts for the Fall of 2016

Players will simply go to tryouts based on their Birth Year. 


7.  What about Premier teams…Must they follow same standards?

All Premier teams will be following the same guidelines for the Fall of 2016.


8.  What about my daughter who has a Fall Birthday in 2002 when most of their age group will be in HS?

Each year there will be some 8th graders who will technically fall into a U15 age group.  In the past there was no U15 league.  As noted above, our District voted to add a new U15 league and combine with U14 into one U14/U15 age group (2002/2003 Birth years for Fall 2016).  Therefore, in the Fall of 2016, Birth year 2002 players in the 8th grade will still be able to play.


9. My son is in 1st grade this Spring but has to tryout for U9 already?

Players will always be grouped by birth year.  If your first grader’s Birth year is 2008, then yes he will be in the U9 league in the Fall and would thus be eligible to tryout for travel this spring.  We would encourage him to do so. In the Fall 2016, our traditional K-2 program will become a U6-U8 program.  At that point going forward all eligible travel players will easily be identified as they will be U8 players in the spring season and ready to move on to Travel at U9 in Fall.


10.  What Birth year equates to the first year of Travel for the Fall of 2016?

Players born in year 2008.  This would be the U9 league.  (Up until this point, the K-2 program has been organized by grade.  This fall the program will be 2011, 2010 and 2009 groups).





by posted 04/18/2016
New Heading Restrictions

New Heading Restrictions- Spring 2016

This is effective immediately.  


The Connecticut Junior Soccer Association has adopted the US Soccer and US Youth Soccer recommendations regarding heading. Heading of a soccer ball will be prohibited for children 10years and under and limited in practice only for ages 11 to 13.  Our Professional coaches and referees have been informed of these changes and will incorporate into practices and games.  Please be respectful of the referees as there will be a learning curve on how to make the right call each time there is a header. 


Heading Restrictions

Players who are 10 and younger

  • No player who is 10 or younger may deliberately head the ball, regardless of the age group of the team they are playing on. This includes all activities where CJSA insurance applies, such as practices, scrimmages, and competitions at all levels.
  • This restriction will be enforced in competitions for teams U11 and younger (including combined age brackets including U11 and younger) by award of an indirect free kick for the opposing team.

Players who are 11-13

  • Players who are age 11 to 13 and on teams for age groups U12 and older, are restricted to up to 30 minutes of practice heading the ball per week. There is no restriction on the number of times these players can head the ball in a competition, unless the team is competing in a combined bracket that includes U11.


When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.


Player/Parent Concussion Awareness Form


For more information, go to:

by posted 03/31/2016
Heads Up: Concussions in Youth Sports

"Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" is designed to help coaches, parents and fellow athletes recognize the symptoms of a concussion and provides actions that need to be taken when an athlete is showing signs of a concussion.  Materials are available and include:

  • An online training for coaches;
  • A fact sheet for coaches;
  • A fact sheet for athletes;
  • A fact sheet for parents;
  • A magnet with concussion facts for coaches and parents;
  • A poster with concussion facts for coaches and sports administrators; and
  • A quiz for coaches, athletes, and parents.

See here for information:  CDC/Heads Up

Take a concussion training course: Online Training


Player/Parent Concussion Awareness Form


by posted 04/22/2015



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