“Playing Up” is when a player requests to participate in an older age group. Any high school aged player may try out for the 18 National team without restrictions. If not selected for the 18 National team, the player will be considered for teams within their own age group or an approved age group.
Any player who wishes to play in an older age group needs to contact John Razsa, Director of Maine Juniors, for permission to do so. Of course, parents, especially in the younger age groups, may do this on the player’s behalf. Factors to be considered will include:
- That to not “play up” would likely hold them back in their development; and,
- Related discussions with parents, the player and coaches as needed regarding the appropriateness of the decision. Social/emotional development should also be considered.
Maine Juniors does not generally encourage playing up. In fact, we tend to discourage it for several reasons.
Firstly, we believe there is great value in playing with one’s age-group peers. It is a healthy situation which lends itself to bonding well with teammates.
A second reason is that the overall structure and health of the club is stronger when talented teams are formed in each and every age group, rather than collecting in the older age groups.
There is also a benefit in keeping a group of girls more or less playing together for several years so that they can mature together as players, know each other as players very well, and achieve age group success together.
Lastly, it is truly a rare player that would be held back in their development by playing with age-group peers. Coaches tend to spot these players quickly and, therefore, they come to our attention quite naturally. It is certainly OK for a player or parent to make an inquiry to the Director for a play up exception, but please understand and consider all of the above when doing that.
A slightly different situation exists and, therefore, a different Maine Juniors policy is in effect for players who have played two or more years at the 12U level and are in 6th grade. This is so as not to keep 12U girls who have experience in that age group “stuck” at 12U automatically for so long. The Club allows these girls to try out for 14U without a special Director’s exception. They may or may not be chosen for a 14U team. They may decide to play 12U again, until they are offered and accept a position on a 14U team.