MSSL/MAPS Regional League
Introduction and Frequently Asked Questions



How does MAPS differ from other situations?


MAPS Flights have always offered themselves as an ALTERNATIVE to traditional regular season league games. As teams progress through local play and begin to struggle to get “one goal games” week in and week out, a regionally-based league makes more sense, and that’s where we come in. MAPS games provide new challenges and fresh faces that stimulate seasonal play. MAPS has been providing such scheduling alternatives for over a decade.


And as stated in the introduction section above, MAPS is also prepared to try innovative solutions to scheduling concerns to ensure that quality soccer competition and player development always comes first.


Should every team consider playing in MAPS?


No. MAPS Flights are intended for premier-team programs, although that covers a wide array of competition. MAPS is designed to provide the “right level” of competition for developing the full potential of serious players.


Note that MAPS is the highest flight of our league and is reserved for teams that have a proven record in our region.  We also provide a second flight called Premier, which is designed for teams that are committed to improving their squads and are still building regional recognition. Premier offers an opportunity to play teams in both Premier and MAPS so that you can get challenging games and can earn your way into the MAPS Flight. We do have promotion and relegation each season based on the past seasons results.


What does MAPS consider to be a “premier-level” team?


Teams should be highly competitive and prepared to make a substantial commitment in terms of time, resources and ability to travel. The main ingredient here is commitment.  Teams that apply should be prepared to make the commitment.


Generally, MAPS teams meet a four-prong test:


PLAYERS are dedicated, that is, soccer is their primary sport, and they are intent on advancing “to the next level”.


COACHING is of a highly-qualified (though not necessarily professional) level.


TEAMS train and play during most of the calendar year, and are not merely seasonal in operation.


SCHEDULING is aggressive, and teams are capable of providing almost any opponent a competitive experience consistently.


Teams that meet these criteria can generally be deemed of premier caliber.


What does it mean for a player to play at the “next level”?


Playing “at the next level” has a different definition for each player: excelling on high school varsities, being recruited for college programs, competing for amateur or semipro adult clubs, being drafted for pro leagues. The last time we surveyed “graduating” U18 MAPS players, over 90% of the 300+ players had been recruited for college programs. MAPS players already populate MLS teams and have scored goals for the US Mens National team.


[As just a single example, Alecko Eskandarian (NCAA Hermann Trophy winner, DC United, US National Team) played U16 – U18 ball in MAPS for Pasco Thunder.]


Are MAPS Flights schedules meant to replace other leagues?


No. Teams have the ability to use their MAPS Flight games as either their primary regular season games or to supplement their regular season leagues with competitive regional competition. However, we strongly recommend teams limit multi league scheduling. MAPS games are still league games and must be played.


Non-New Jersey teams choose between making MAPS Flights their primary regular-season league, or a source of regional games supplementing their current in-state schedule.


(However, given its New Jersey-based nature, we encourage New Jersey teams to list CJYSA / MAPS as their primary league of commitment for USYSA games. The perennial volume of NJ teams participating ensures that teams will always have a schedule of well-matched local opponents available to them, so there is little need to divert commitments among multiple in-state leagues.)


What about other regional leagues?


Again, MAPS Flights are about providing an alternative for the soccer community. While all league programs have their benefits, not all programs fit the needs of every team. Expense, travel and scheduling concerns might create a better fit for many teams with the offerings that MAPS Flights provide. It’s all about providing a choice, that then allows coaches and players to concentrate on their game once they have found the right fit. 


Is MAPS starting a "new league" anywhere?


No. MAPS has run in the context of a New Jersey-based league regional in its scope of operations for over a decade. There is no need to create a "new league", the current structure meets most operating requirements just fine. However, we are always looking at ways to make the regional aspect of our operations more "user-friendly" and attractive to our members.


Can teams qualify for the USYSA National Series State Cups in their respective states by playing in MAPS?


CJYSA is a NJYS-sanctioned US Youth Soccer league, and fulfilling bracket requirements in CJYSA MAPS Flights or Premier Flights will qualify New Jersey teams for State and National Cup competition. It will also qualify teams from those state associations (such as Pennsylvania ) that accept qualifying games played in a league outside the state.


Can teams use both Youth Soccer and Club Soccer passes in MAPS Flights?


MAPS Flights and MSSL have structured programs that permit play using both sets of player passes (though NOT in the same game!)


All bracket games in USYSA National Series State Cup qualification games must be played with appropriate Youth Soccer passes. Other scheduled games have the ability to be designated in advance as either MAPS Flight crossover games (utilizing Youth Soccer passes) or USCL games (utilizing US Club Soccer passes).


These programs are intended to allow teams maximum flexibility in their developmental programs, for scheduling and rostering purposes.


WHERE are games played?


MAPS has always been know for its flexibility in scheduling. You will work with our league administrators to get a schedule that balances the needs of the various teams in the league. What this means to you is that you will have home and away games through the season that fit with your availability. In addition, depending on circumstances, games can be scheduled at sites central to both opponents (commonly referred to as "site games"). This permits opponents that are far distant from each other to meet, and provides for the occasional multiple-game play date.


The best answer here is that based on our experience working with teams like yours, we will work it out in a way that “puts soccer first” while addressing all of the scheduling complexities that you are faced with.


WHEN are games played?


At U14 and younger, teams typically play a Sunday schedule, with both fall and spring seasons.


At U15 and older, when players enter high school, teams play a single season schedule. The seasonal year starts in November as high school play is winding down, takes a break from mid-December through February, then resumes for March through June. There is also more flexibility in requesting Saturday or Sunday match-ups, which are honored to the extent feasible.


Typically, we will allow teams to advise us before the season what weekends they are not available (tournaments, conflicts or even non-soccer considerations such as prom weekends), and we will not schedule on those dates.


However, once the schedule is released and set, games must be played as scheduled. The league does discipline teams for missing games for reasons other than weather / unplayable fields. The guiding principle is that a team expecting a game is entitled to see a scheduled opponent.


Is there a minimum number of games teams have to play?


Teams have to play a full flight schedule within the league, however that is defined from age group to age group. Normally, the flight schedules are compact (four to seven games), and team requests for additional games are filled with crossover games with other flights.


This accommodates the needs of both teams that play exclusively in MAPS as well as those that play in multiple leagues. A recent MAPS age group simultaneously had teams that played a four game National Series State Cup qualifying schedule and teams that faced 23 different opponents over the course of a November-June schedule.  


Are MAPS Flight teams guaranteed acceptance into MAPS / MSSL College Showcases?


MAPS & MSSL conduct three major college showcases each year in the primary MAPS region, in the Spring, in the Summer and in the Winter. Last year, we had over 600 aggregate mens and womens college coach registrations to attend the three events, making it the major showcase series in the Northeast. All TIMELY-APPLYING and TIMELY-PAID MAPS Flight teams have been guaranteed at least a day’s participation at each of these events till the present time. We hope to continue and to expand this program (if available field space continues to allow us.) 







Send any additional questions to bohdan@mssl.org , and we will answer them directly, as well as possible posting them here as well if the questions are of general interest.