1. What programs are offered by the Flathead Rapids?

The Rapids offer soccer programs throughout the year for players of every ability.

Spring:                 Ages 5-8 Micro Program

                           Ages 9-12 Competitive Program

                           Ages 13-19 FVU Competitive Program

                           Ages 5-12 Recreational Program

Summer:              Ages 5-14 Summer Camp

                           Ages 18-99 Summer Adult Leagues

Fall:                     Ages 5-14 Recreational Program

                           Ages 9-14 Competitive Program          

2. What are the normal costs of playing competitive soccer?

The costs for playing competitive soccer can vary greatly depending on the level and team.  Costs of playing include tuition (coaching, fields, state registration fee...), uniforms, and travel (including overnight to the State tournament); and optional tournament costs (elected as a team). We pay our coaches relatively well, including payroll taxes, travel reimbursement, etc. Fee details can be found on the individual program page on this website.

3. How do I request financial assistance and what are my obligations?

We would like to make it possible for any child to play competitive soccer. If financial assistance is required, please submit the Scholarship Application Form. This form can also be found on the program pages on our website. Scholarship funds are limited and will be awarded prior to the season.  

4. When are competitive team formations, and what is expected of a player at the tryout?

Spring Competitive Season:

Tryouts for U12-U19 teams will be held at the end of October in preparation for indoor training to begin in January. Team formations will be based on objective evaluation by the coaches and Executive Director.

There are no tryouts for U9/10-U11 teams, and registration for these teams stays open through mid-March

Fall Competitive Season:

Tryouts will be held at the Beginning of August in preparation for training beginning at the end of August. Team formations will be based on objective evaluation by the coaches and Executive Director.

*The Flathead Rapids and Flathead Valley United are held by the state to a maximum roster size of 18 for U13 and above, 15 for U12 – U11, and 11 for U10 and below. We impose our own roster limits of 16, 14, and 11. At the tryout, players will be given the opportunity to showcase their technical ability, tactical awareness, and athletic ability during this time. The technical abilities of each player (ability to pass accurately, control the ball on the move, 1v1 skills, etc.) are the overwhelming attributes upon which players are evaluated, with strong consideration given to psychosocial evaluation (attitude, respect, teamwork, etc)

*Every player that tries out for a Flathead Rapids or Flathead Valley United Competitive Teams will be awarded a spot within the program. This spot will be chosen with consideration for the player’s developmental level. Options for placement could include becoming a player on a Competitive Team, a Practice Player on a Competitive Team, or a spot in our Recreational Programs.

5. What is a Practice Player?

A practice player is a player we feel would benefit from developing with the team during practices but would exceed the gameday roster limit and would only be eligible to play on game days if another player on the roster was missing. The fees for this option are lower than a full roster player. 

6. What are the cutoff dates for team age groups, and why?

U.S. Youth Soccer mandates that youth clubs form teams based on birth year as opposed to grade level. Montana State Youth Soccer prohibits players from playing down on a younger team, and all teams must register at the age group of the oldest player.

The MYSA yearly calendar begins in the Fall and runs through the Spring. Team age level is determined by taking the final year of the MYSA yearly calendar (Fall/Spring 2017/2018) and subtracting the birth year (2005) to result in the age group (U13).

7. What are the game regulations for each age group?

8. What is the Club policy on playing up?

Playing up is a very rare occurrence, and will only be considered if it is in the best developmental interest of the individual player. This is determined during tryouts in August or October, and the player is asked to try out with their own age group and possibly the older one. A panel, which consists of the Executive Director and other coaches, will be assembled to discuss the best placement for the player. Please note that playing up is not common and the vast majority of players will be playing their 'true' age group. Coaches may make a recommendation to a player to try out for an older team (based on a previous season performance), but players can ask to be considered for playing up as well.

The Rapids draw a strict line between U10 and U11 teams and between U12 and U13 teams. This is because at these age groups the playing field jumps from 7v7 to 9v9 and from 9v9 to 11v11. It is in the best interest of the players to continue to play on a smaller field with fewer other players, as the amount of ball-time, touches, control, and playing time is so much more beneficial at those younger age groups. Pushing players up to a larger field harms development and is unnecessary. 

9. What is the Club policy on playing down?

Play-downs are not permitted by MYSA. All league teams must be registered in the age group of the oldest player. For example if there are 4 players born in 2004 and the rest were born in 2005, the team will be registered as a 2004 team. 

At the youngest age groups (u10, u11) teams are not registered through the league, and as such there are a few exceptions we are allowed, usually for players born in the final weeks of a certain calendar year. 

10. How are teams scheduled and when do they get scheduled?

For competitive teams in the Spring League, team input is solicited regarding preferred open dates (for example, many of our teams choose to participate in tournaments rather than league play on select weekend and games are usually not scheduled the weekend of Prom and the SATs). MYSA schedules teams at a meeting of all the clubs generally during the last weekend of February.  Once sites and dates are determined, individual club field coordinators schedule game times to allow reasonable travel times (departure 6 AM or later, return 11 PM or earlier) and to fit field sizes to team ages. Often, scheduling is not completed until the week before play actually begins and some adjustments may be necessary after the season starts! We cannot guarantee the number of home dates nor the sites to which travel is required.

11. Who chooses the tournaments for team participation?

Initial decisions on tournaments are made based on age level. We try to keep our younger age groups playing close to home as much as possible. As we get into more competitive levels, we will send teams to tournaments farther away to play against tougher competition. However, if a particular group feels they are ready for more, we are more than happy to work with the team and team managers to get our teams into any tournament we can. Costs for all tournaments are not covered in the registration fee. 

12. Why do we pay competitive program coaches and assistant coaches?

We want to attract and develop the best possible coaches. We believe that the pay we offer, although not always reimbursing actual time spent on coaching, is a mechanism for doing that. The coaching salaries include travel costs for league play, some tournaments and the state tournament. If we could afford to pay coaches a fair wage for the time and effort spent doing the job, we would! However, our amazing coaches are definitely underpaid and we are so lucky to have great people working with our players. 

13. Why do we need to volunteer?

Making soccer happen is very labor-intensive. We honestly need at least half of our members to be active in the Club; as Board members and officers, referees, team managers, field marshals, at the concession stand, lining fields - the list is virtually endless. Teams also need volunteers, and at least initially we are including those options. There are enough jobs for everyone. Please help!

14. Why do we need to provide referees from within our own team?

Referees are very difficult to come by and schedule during the regular season – it is imperative that each team is able to provide at least 1 licensed assistant referee at each game. Many times the host club can only provide a center referee, while the league mandates each game consists of the center and two assistants. MYSA policy states that if an assistant is needed but the team is not able to provide, the team forfeits the match.

15. Where do my player fees go?

As you can see by the charts attached, it is very expensive to run a competitive soccer club through the MYSA league. Without fundraising and sponsorships, we could not survive as an organization. Our goal is to provide high quality development at low cost.

Please note that certain categories are variable based on the number of players per team. Below is an average based on complete rosters at each age group.