Play Up Policy
The intent of this policy is to clarify when it is appropriate to have a player “play up” in a higher tier and/or age group.

The North Calgary FC Play Up Policy is based on the Club’s developmental philosophy.

With that in mind, there are two types of play up situations;
  • Where a player is filling a gap on another team
  • Where a player is playing up for their own development.
If a player is be constantly under-challenged in their original age group, this is a decision that the Club/Academy Director will make to move that player up for the season. That player must be assessed as being in the top 5 of the older age group based on tryout/player assessment data.

**Note: The idea of playing up players and sitting rostered players is not appropriate.
NCFC's policy reflects a developmental approach.
  • The first criteria for using play ups is when a team roster is short of players for a game or tournament.
  • A positional requirement is needed, specifically a goal keeper .
    • Playing up players for the purposes of “filling positional deficiencies” other than for goalkeeper is thus not acceptable, unless approved by the Technical Director.
    • Consideration for all other positions must be made within the context of providing play opportunities for all players on the current roster.
    • A development coach must look to her/his abilities to train players to play multiple positions.
  • The player who is called up is not allowed to play before a player on the team roster.
    • Original roster players play first and must be provided with more game time than a play up if possible.
    • The only exception to this would be for the position of goal keeper.
  • Play ups in pre-season should be avoided to allow players on the roster to be provided with as much game time as possible to prepare for the regular season, and to “test’ positional options.
Coaches should understand that players who are asked to play up may feel that they are better players on their own team or players of the team they are called up to.

We must also ensure that we avoid injury to younger players who play up. The style of play in Calgary is very physical, with a strong disregard for skill and respect for the game. Playing up younger players increases the opportunity for injury.

Coaches must not use play up for inappropriate reasons such as:
  • Focus on winning over development
  • Avoiding the depletion of the younger age team/pool i.e. using play ups as a ‘reward” or as a tool to please parents.
  • Parental pressure to have kid play up
  • Using play ups as a punishment or motivational tool for players on the current roster to “perform better”.
  • Using a player for “physicality reasons” and their technical development suffers, which is the opposite of what the development objective of a play up opportunity should be.
The result can be a negative impact on club culture such as:
  • “One person’s gain is another person’s pain”.
  • A culture of fear can also be developed within the Club as players compete for play up opportunities and players on rosters are short benched inappropriately.

A coach’s primary responsibility is to develop players, not to win games, at the expense of development.

  1. The coach or Team Manager of the team that needs play ups must contact the coach of the team that she/he wants to call up players from.
  2. The coach or team manager should never contact a player directly, without the consent of the coach of the team they are seeking to call up from.
  3. The coach of the lower team can decide not to allow a play up opportunity if it conflicts with a game .
  4. A player should be excused from a practice conflict . It is encouraged to allow play up opportunities to support the club.
  5. If a coach is in doubt as to the merits of the play up opportunity, the coach should consult the Academy Director .
  6. If a coach feels that another coach is not allowing play up opportunities, the Academy Director should be consulted.
  7. The coach of the team should be asked to recommend a player who deserves a play up. Technical ability, performance, commitment, respect for the team/game and club are important criteria to consider.
    • The coach should not recommend a player who is not attending all current team events. *
  8. The coach of the team requiring play ups should never call up a player that is not recommended by the coach of the team being asked to provide a player.
  9. If the coach of the team that is calling up also coaches the team from which the call up players is from, an email to the Academy Director must be sent to advise on the need for play ups, and to discuss the selection of those play ups.
  10. Additionally, play ups to Tier 1 from same age or younger age group Tier 1 teams must be approved in advance by the Academy Director . For Tier 1 and 2 and Tier A and B play ups, a copy of the game sheet, signed by the referee, must be emailed to the Academy Director no more than 1 day after the game has been played.
  11. Call-ups must be requested no later than 24 hours prior to a game except when absolutely necessary.