How can I register?
Please see our Registration page for details.
Do you need help with coaching?
Yes – we need parents to sign up as head coaches or assistants so that we can place all the children who want to play. Please don’t wait to be asked – just sign up if you’re interested, and if you’re not sure we’ll help you to figure it out. See the Coaching Q&A page for more information.
What is the volunteering commitment?
Every family must volunteer for something during the season. Please check our Volunteering page for policy information and other details of the voluntary activity program. We’ll have a few pre-season activities, but if you aren’t able to help with those don’t worry – we’ll need most help during the season, and there will be something to do every week.
Please don’t finish the season without having helped out in some way – if you do that you’ll have to complete a makeup activity before you can register your child for a future season. We don’t have many activities between seasons, and they may not be convenient,
Is my child in the correct division?
Parents occasionally ask if their child is in the correct division, because the “U” number seems so high compared with the child’s age.
The reason for this is that the “U” means “under”, and most divisions span multiple years.
For example, we have a U7 (co-ed division for 6-year-olds), but we don’t have a U8, so U9 is for players who will be 7 or 8 on April 1st (Spring season) or October 1st (Fall season).
And in the older divisions the spread gets wider – so U14 has players who are 11 to 13, and U15G ranges from 11 to 14. Don’t worry – it works fine!
What clothing and equipment do I need to buy, and where I can get it?
The club supplies a shirt, which must be worn to every game. The shirt must be tucked in during games, and must not be mutilated.
You need a ball for practices:
- Players aged 6 and under use #3 balls
- Players 7-13 use #4
- Players 14-18 use #5
You don’t need a name-brand ball, but it should be stitched, not glued. Please bring a ball to each practice for use in drills, and make sure it is clearly marked in several places with your child’s name and phone number. We don’t recommend that you bring a ball to games, as they tend to get lost.
You also need to provide:
- soccer cleats (not mandatory, but highly recommended for all divisions)
- full-length black socks
- black shorts
- shin guards (required – see advice below)
Shin guards must be covered by socks.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get soccer stuff for a beginner. Wal-Mart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc. all have sportswear sections that carry soccer balls, shin guards, even goalie gloves.
- Bob’s Store in Freehold is good for cleats – but balls and shin guards are carried sporadically with only limited selection.
- Consignment Sports has new and used equipment.
- More specialized stores include the Soccer Post (Eatontown) or Dick’s (Freehold & Manalapan).
- Champs also carries balls, shin guards, cleats and socks.
If you prefer to buy Pinelanders SpiritWear apparel, including shorts and socks, we’ll take custom orders until a few weeks before the season starts, and we’ll also have items for sale at the fields most weeks during the season.
And finally, there are plenty of places to buy on-line.
Some advice on shin guards:
- Bob Hoenig says: Those “one-piece” shin guards are a bad idea, especially for a younger kid. The shin guards that you put on your child’s leg (they usually have Velcro straps that hold them in place) and are then covered by the soccer sock are made of a harder fiberglass material. They offer more protection. And you can get them at any store that sells sporting goods, including the local department stores.
- Mario Guarino says: I have, use, and would continue to recommend the style with the stirrup and ankle protection. I feel they offer more coverage in areas likely to get kicked, they are very secure on the leg (not a lot of movement or twisting around) and a long soccer sock fits comfortably over them. Which is another drawback to the sock & shin guard combination: we require black socks whereas Howell United (traveling soccer club) usually is green and I am not sure how many layers of socks one wants on his/her feet!
Where and when are games played?
- Games are played at the Hugh Hoffman Memorial Park at 449 Adelphia Road (Route 524), Howell, behind the office building. Click here for a map.
- For most divisions we schedule games on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Under-4, Under-5 & Challenger sessions are always scheduled on Saturday mornings.
- Occasionally we need to schedule makeup games on mid-week evenings – usually because of rain-outs, but occasionally for other reasons.
- We do not play “traveling” games, against teams from other clubs, but occasionally players might be invited to play in area tournaments.
Where and when are practices held? Do U4 and U5 players practice?
Practices are at Howell school fields – coaches determine the day, time and location. Teams in Divisions U6 and older usually practice for one hour, one evening a week, between Monday and Thursday.
We cannot guarantee that your team will practice at a convenient location, and we cannot move players between teams after assignment. However, if your child can’t make your team’s practice you’re welcome to practice with another team in the same division. We’ll be happy to let you know details once we have them, and put you in touch with the coaches.
There are no separate practices for the Under-4 & Under-5 programs – they practice and play on Saturday morning. There are also no practices for the Challenger program.
The schedule isn’t available yet – can you give me an idea of when my child will play?
Below are some general guidelines that may help you to plan your family’s activities. We can’t promise anything until the season’s schedule is published, as scheduling is complex and depends on the number of teams we have in each division, and the availability of coaches. (As an example, we cannot schedule a team to play at 6PM on Friday if the coach tells us he works in the city and can’t make it home for that time.)
The detailed schedule is usually published after the team assignments have been made, and at least one week before the start of the season. We cannot give you advance information about the schedule, and we cannot assign a player to a team based on the team’s schedule, even after the schedules have been published. If your child already has a commitment that is likely to conflict with the times below we recommend that you do not over-commit by registering with Pinelanders as well.
- Challenger Program: Always on Saturday mornings. We try to keep the time the same for the whole season.
- Under-4 & Under-5: Always on Saturday morning, for one hour. All teams in each of these divisions play at the same time, on small fields with small goals. The time will be the same for Weeks 1-5, and may change for Weeks 6-10. Typically for Weeks 1-5 the U5 teams play at 8:30 AM, and the U4 teams at 9:45 AM. For Weeks 1-6 we switch things around so that, for example, U4 may play at 11 AM and U5 at 12:15 PM. These times will vary from season to season and are shown here as examples.
- U6, U7 & U7G: Games in these divisions are scheduled on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, for one hour. Friday games are likely to start at about 6 PM or 7:15 PM, while Saturday games could be any time from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM (or possibly a bit later if we have a lot of teams). On Friday evenings we generally schedule the U6 teams at the earliest time, but there might be the occasional 7:15 PM game.
- U9 & U9G: Games are scheduled on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, for one hour. Friday games are likely to start at about 6 PM or 7:30 PM, while Saturday games could be any time from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM (or possibly a bit later if we have a lot of teams).
- U11, U11G, U14 & U15G: Games are scheduled on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Friday games are likely to start at around 6 PM or 7:30 PM, and on Saturday they can start at any time between 8:30 AM and 12:15 PM. Usually games last for one hour, but if registration in the division is low we might play a round-robin schedule – in which case the overall length of the game will be 90 minutes. See the next question for info about round-robin scheduling.
- U19: Games are always scheduled on Friday evenings. We typically have two, three or four teams in this division (depending on registration numbers), so we might need one or two games, or a round-robin schedule (see next question). If we only have one game we generally start near 8 PM, but if we need two games or a round-robin schedule the first game might start at 7:15 PM. Usually we play longer than one hour in this division (maybe 80 minutes), if the scheduling of other games will allow it.
What is a round-robin schedule?
In some seasons one or two divisions only have enough players registered for us to form three teams. In these divisions all the teams are scheduled to play in a single 90-minute slot, and each team plays two 30-minute games – one against each of the other two teams in the division. Each week one team has a 30-minute break between games, and the others play two back-to-back games.
What if it rains?
You should always assume that games are ON unless you hear otherwise. Games may be canceled if there are concerns for the players’ safety or well-being, or if the fields are in poor condition. Usually the decision is made by the club, but occasionally Howell Recreation Department makes it for us and closes the fields.
The decision for Friday games is usually made mid-to-late afternoon. The decision for Saturday games is usually made at the fields around 7:00 AM. If we cancel, we announce it on our web page. We will e-mail members and coaches of the teams scheduled to play that day. We no longer call coaches, but coaches should then call their teams. If the weather looks “iffy,” you should definitely check our website and your e-mail.
Remember: If there is no information that says games are canceled please assume that they are on, and be at the fields in time for your game.
Also note that the Board of Education sometimes closes school fields because of inclement weather, and sometimes for other reasons such as tick-spraying. Should that happen, we’ll notify coaches and post a notice on our web page. Always check before coming out to practice on a rainy day.
What if there’s a thunderstorm during a game or practice?
For safety, at the first sign of an approaching thunderstorm all games are immediately suspended and the fields are cleared. Operations may be canceled for the day.
Coaches must follow the same procedures during practices.
What can my child wear under his/her uniform for cold-weather games?
Safety and warmth are things we pay very close attention to. Your child can wear anything warm under his uniform shirt. As long as the shirt is showing, that’s all we care about…. sweat pants, jackets etc. are all acceptable… even gloves and hats if it gets too cold… your choice! If the weather becomes too inclement we would call the games.
What is the Winter Indoor Soccer program?
You’ll find information on the Indoor Soccer page.
What does Trophy Day/Night involve?
Trophy Day/Night is held on a Saturday, usually the weekend after our last games of the season. In the Spring season we hold a big family BBQ at the fields, with some fun events. In the Fall season it’s held in the afternoon/early evening, usually in the Middle School North cafetorium.
It takes about an hour per division, and different divisions attend at different times. Teams usually bring pizza, soda etc., and we award trophies to the players, and make various other awards. Players should wear their team shirts.
In the Fall season Trophy Night is also our Annual Meeting of Members, so we hold elections for Board positions.
How old do you have to be to qualify as a referee?
The minimum age for a referee license is 14.