Print Email

Grassroots Soccer Initiative


The Maryland State Youth Soccer Association's (MSYSA) Recreational/Grassroots program is intended to promote recreational/grassroots youth soccer and support clubs, coaches and players in various club programs throughout the state. MSYSA helps to provide coach education, resources, organization and guidance to recreational programs. The Recreational/Grassroots program also promotes the philosophy that fun and development are both important and necessary parts that require significant effort and robust planning. This section of the MSYSA website describes the various parts of the MSYSA program, including any state requirements and supporting resources.

For further information, please contact


What is Recreational Soccer?

From US Youth Soccer, recreational soccer is that soccer program that is primarily devoted to the enjoyment and development of soccer players without the emphasis on travel or high level competition. The purpose of recreational soccer is to provide an opportunity for the participants to have fun, learn the sport and develop life skills including a life-long love of the game.

Other ideas come into play. Recreational Player - a player who is randomly assigned to a team without regard to his/her abilities and skills. Recreational Team - teams formed randomly to play soccer. Fun! - It is critical that players involved in youth soccer enjoy the game in which they are playing. (New York State West Youth Soccer)

In Maryland, we will define Recreational soccer as inexpensive soccer programs created for fun, exercise and development of all young  players in environments where competition is firmly deemphasized. Individual players all play for different reason, but a successful recreational soccer program must effectively encompass all three major elements of fun, healthy exercise and learning. 


What is Grassroots Soccer?

According to FIFA, grassroots soccer is "soccer programs target boys and girls through school, community and club initiatives. The key concept of the program is to bring together as many people as possible through soccer! The grassroots program advocates changes and sharing human values and, of course, promotes the pleasure of practicing our marvelous sport. For some people, grassroots football is a focus for recreational activities, while for others it is the organized practice of the sport, with training and matches, within a school or club framework. Of course not all young players will become the stars of the future and they do not al have the skills required to become professional players, so intensive training sessions and complicated tactics are not appropriate."

For MSYSA, grassroots soccer can be more broadly defined and more specific. Grassroots soccer is recreational soccer, but it is also those leagues, clubs or groups of older players in Rec+, "county", "Classic" or other named programs that have a modest level of competition and are not part of a US Soccer carded travel system. Grassroots soccer also has a greater connotation of development. As the name implies, it is the foundation of all soccer that comes after it, and grassroots play must be fun, challenging, and provide real opportunities for players to deeply learn. Grassroots players and coaches may continue with the emphasis on fun and enjoyment of the sport, or become competitive at appropriate times for them individually.

See our commercial? Click HERE to sign up for the fun!

BRAND NEW MSYSA Annual Award Opportunity: Grassroots Futures Award!

For more information, click HERE!