Frequently Asked Questions
Q: At what age does Lightning Soccer start?
Lightning Soccer Club offers travel teams for players ages 8 to 19. We offer summer camps and clinics for players ages 6 to 12. See the age matrix below to determine a player's age group. Our Advantage Clinic begins with U6 players, and is offered in the fall, spring and two sessions in the winter. Visit our Advantage Clinic page or our Summer Camps page to learn about offerings for younger players.
Q: What does "U" stand for in U8 or U9?
The "U" in age group divisions stands for "under." Starting in Fall 2016, age groups now run according to the calendar year (January - December). The soccer calendar runs from fall through the spring season. For example: If a player is a U10 in the fall of 2016, that player will be a U10 in the spring of 2017.
Q: Can we just sign up, or does my child have to try out to be on a travel team?
Lightning Soccer Club welcomes new players to learn about Lightning soccer throughout the year. New players can observe training or games during the season. In mid to late June, LSC conducts official open tryouts to select players for U8-U19 travel teams. For returning players, roster decisions are based on player performance during the previous season as well as performance during tryouts. New players are evaluated during tryouts. All players are evaluated in five areas: technical, tactical, athleticism, psychological, and attendance/commitment. The Director of Coaching is responsible for all final roster decisions.
Q: Can a player request to “play up” into the next older age group?
No, requests to play up are not entertained. Invitations to play up are made by the coaching staff when it is determined that it is in the best interest of the player's soccer development. Playing up for one season does not guarantee that the player will play up again during the next season. For tryouts each year, all players should plan to attend their actual age group tryout sessions (even if the player did play up the season before), unless the player has been specifically instructed to do otherwise by the Director of Coaching. Please refer to Lightning's Playing Up Policy for more information.
Q: When are tryouts?
LSC holds official open tryouts each June for all competitive travel teams (U8-U19). Players interested in trying out should review the tryout information posted on the LSC website and register in advance for tryouts. Please see the Tryout Info page of our website for more information and instructions for registering for tryouts.
Q: How and when are we notified about tryout results?
Players will be notified of their status via email after tryouts that they made either a) Travel Team, b) Alternate, c) Player Pool, or d) that there is no position available for them at this time.
Q: What is an Alternate?
Alternate players are qualified players who are registered and listed on the official league roster, trains with the team and may be invited to participate in games, solely at the discretion of the head coach.
Q: What is Player Pool?
Player Pool is a training-only opportunity Lightning offers to interested, motivated players who wish to improve their skills to compete at the travel level. Players invited onto Player Pool train with the team , but do NOT compete in any games during the season as they are not registered on an official league roster and thus are not eligible to play in a game. Many of our older Travel Team players started their Lightning careers on the Player Pool and through their hard work and effort earned a spot on the Travel Team the next season.
Q: How many players make it on to the Travel Team?
U8-U10 teams may roster up to 13 players, U11-U12 teams may roster up to 16 players, and U13-U15 teams may roster up to 18 players. U16-U19 teams may roster up to 22 players, but only 18 players are allowed to dress for each game. This applies to all teams participating in the New England Premiership (NEP) league.
| Age Group||Maximum # of Players Dressed for Games|| Game Format|
| U8-U10||13 players||7v7|
| U11-U12||16 players||9v9|
| U13-U15||18 players||11v11|
| U16 and older||18 players||11v11|
Q: What is the difference between a Club Team and Premier Team?
Club Teams (Boys and Girls U8-U19): Club Teams are competitive travel teams that compete at the state level in New Hampshire, typically in the New Hampshire Soccer League, and typically compete in one regional tournament in the Fall (Columbus Day weekend) and typically two in the spring (March, Memorial Day weekend, and/or June). Fall training begins during the last week in August; the fall season runs until the end of October or early November. Training is available throughout the winter in combined age groups sessions roughly once to twice per week. Teams begin training three times per week once they are able to train outside, usually in early April or as the weather permits. The spring season runs until late June or early July, depending upon tournament assignments and league/regional playoffs. Premier Teams (Boys and Girls U9-U18): Premier Teams are highly competitive travel teams that compete at the regional level, usually in the New England Premiership league. Premier teams also typically compete in one regional tournament in the fall (Columbus Day weekend) and typically two or more regional tournaments in the spring (March, Memorial Day weekend, and/or June). Premier teams also compete in the NEP NH State Cup tournament (for teams U13 and older) over weekends in May. If a team advances, that team will compete in the Region 1 National Championships in early July. Training is available throughout the winter in combined age group sessions roughly once per week. The spring season officially begins with team training indoors in late February, usually once to twice per week. Teams begin training three times per week once they are able to train outside, usually in early April or as the weather permits. The spring season runs until late June or early July, depending upon tournament assignments and league/regional playoffs. Fall training begins in late August. Teams train three times per week and the season runs until the end of October or early November. Participation on a Premier Team requires a higher player/team commitment and increased travel. There is no fall season for U16-U18 teams as they play on their high school teams during the fall.
Q: How will I know where and when practices will take place?
As a general rule, fall training begins in late August and runs until just after Halloween. Spring training begins indoors in late Feb and ends in mid June. The club works out field rentals with its various lessors, works out schedules with coaches, and then creates the entire club schedule. Once the training schedule has been finalized, you will be contacted via email with your team's training schedule. Team Shutterfly sites are updated with training and game schedules as quickly as possible. If you ever have a question about the training schedule, ask your team manager or coach (contact information is on the home page of your team Shutterfly site).
Q: What league do we play in?
Lightning teams play in the New Hampshire Soccer League (NHSL) or the New England Premiership (NEP) league during the regular year (September-June). The NHSL is NH's primary league for competitive travel soccer. It hosts more than forty clubs from around the state who come together in the spring and fall to compete. The NEP league is a premier level league hosting teams from the most competitive clubs around New England.
Q: Is there winter training?
Lightning Soccer Club offers indoor winter training opportunities to players. Winter training provides continuity during the winter months between the official fall and spring seasons, helping players solidify their skills and continue to grow. We offer winter training opportunities for all players (non-Lightning players included) ages 6-19. Please see our Winter Program page for more information.
Q: What is State Cup?
The NEP State Cup Tournament is hosted by the NEP league each spring. Lightning enters Premier and College Showcase teams (U13 and older) to the State Cup tournament for a chance to represent New Hampshire at the US Club Regional Championships. Teams that advance are required by the state to attend the Region 1 Championships.
Q: What are the fees for Lightning?
Fees vary by team. Lightning SC is a nonprofit and aims to keep fees as reasonable as possible while still covering our costs. Through extensive use of volunteers, LSC is able to provide a quality experience for less than half the price charged by other elite soccer clubs throughout New England.
Q: How are club fees spent?
Approximately 75% of all LSC fees cover the costs of getting players on the field playing soccer under the guidance of qualified coaches. The largest expense line is coaching. After coaching, the club must cover field rental, league fees, tournaments, and referees. For perspective, in the course of a year, LSC pays:
- $40,000 for field use
- $15,000 for referees
- $20,000 for tournaments
- $25,000 for registration in the various leagues
Q: Can I sponsor Lightning Soccer Club?
Yes, we actively pursue sponsorship to help defray the costs we incur for field rentals, uniform costs, referee and league fees, tournament fees, coach fees, etc. so that we can keep our costs as low as possible for our families, and also so that we can offer financial assistance to players in need. Please see our the Sponsorship page of our website or contact the club via email or phone for more details.
Q: Why do you need a photo and a copy of a birth certificate?
We must be able to verify the ages of all our players. When a player is invited to join a Lightning team, we ask for a copy of that player's birth certificate (or passport), which we are required to upload into each player's Got Soccer account for NHSA player registration and into the KYCK registration for all players participating in the NEP League. We also require a color head shot for their player identification cards, which are shown to a referee at the beginning of each match, and proves that a player is who we say he/she is and that he/she is the proper age to be competing on that team.
Q: Are mouth guards required? Are other protective devices required?
Mouth guards are not required by NH Soccer Association, US Youth Soccer, or US Club Soccer. However, shin guards and cleats are required. No other protective gear is required.
Q: Can I also play Recreational soccer?
While it is possible to play on both a Rec team and a Lightning team, players and families should understand that if they choose to participate in both in the same season, a player's commitment to their Lightning team must be their first priority. If a player or a family is not prepared to make Lightning a priority over Rec, it is likely a better fit for the player to play Rec instead. If a Rec coach (of any sport) is understanding of your commitment to your travel team, it can work. Lightning coaches are generally very understanding of attending a Rec soccer game over a Lightning practice, but would expect players to attend Lightning practices over Rec practices. If this is agreeable to your Rec coach, the combination can work. Please discuss this with your Lightning coach.
Q: Can I play other sports, be in a play, etc?
It is important for a coach to know if a player has another major commitment (school plays, musical commitments, another sport at a high commitment level, etc.) in putting a team together. Obviously, if the entire team has other major commitments, it will be very hard to ensure that enough players are available to run optimal training sessions and to compete in games. If it's just a few players, then it can work well. It's a challenging balancing act for everyone: the coaches, the players, the club and the families. Our goal as a club is to serve players who are passionate about soccer and willing and able to make a strong commitment to their team. Players on Premier teams must be held to a higher level of commitment to their team. If players participate on another team, sport or activity, their commitment to their Lightning soccer team must come first.
Q: Does Dartmouth Soccer run Lightning Soccer Club?
Lighting Soccer Club was started in 1983 by a Norwich, VT dad, Jerry Ireland. In 1985 Dartmouth head men's coach Bobby Clark suggested they combine their talents. Bobby Clark's phenomenal soccer background (Scottish National team member, coach of Highlanders FC) and his love for teaching soccer to youths made this association a natural. Dartmouth Soccer ran Lightning Soccer for many years until the club grew beyond the size the college soccer office could operate, while still overseeing (and recruiting for) a Division 1 soccer team. Lightning Soccer Club became a totally independent entity in 2000, forming its own nonprofit corporation with a board of directors. However, the two organizations continue to cooperate extensively with one another; Lightning Soccer hosts ads for Dartmouth camps and for the college game schedules on its site, and some Dartmouth coaches coach for the club.
Q: How do I reach Lightning with any questions or concerns?
Contact us by phone at 802-649-7096 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.