National Youth Sports is a company that runs recreational and competitive sports leagues across the country, including in Henderson and Las Vegas. They offer a variety of sports and age groups. This review is of the soccer program for 3- to 4-year-olds.
$90 per season
$80 if you register early
$45 if you volunteer to coach the team
they do offer a payment plan, but it costs extra
When you register, you select the area you live in, and you also provide your zip code and closest cross streets. You are placed on a team with other families who live relatively nearby. Where practices are held is up to the team. So far our soccer games have all been at Sonata park in the Seven Hills area, but the website indicates games could also be at Vivaldi, Allego, or Mission Hills park. You will not know the exact location or times of games until about a week before the season starts.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The NYS seasons runs year-round on roughly the schedule below (exact dates below are from 2017/2018, but reflect general seasons to give you an idea). The date of the parents meeting is significant because practices will start a few days after that meeting, giving you about a month of practices before games start. If you register by the earlybird deadline you save $10. Don’t forget to include a coach or teammate request if you have friends you’re playing with. The parents meeting is held at Greenspun Jr High in Henderson. You meet in the cafeteria and sit at a table with your team. The main purpose of the meeting is to establish where and when you will hold your practices, as this is entirely up to the team.
Early Registration Deadline: ?
Parents Meeting: December 3
Games: January 6 – February 24
Spring Early Registration Deadline Jan 26
Parents Meeting: March 3
Games: April 7 to June 2 (no games spring break or Memorial Day)
Early Registration Deadline: ?
Parents Meeting: beginning of June
Games: June 24 – August 12 (no games 4th of July weekend)
Early Registration Deadline: July 13
Parents Meeting: August 11
Games: September 22 – November 17 (No games Nevada Day weekend)
Registration includes a jersey and a hat. If you want to customize the jersey with a name on the back, you pay $7 extra. Shorts and sock are also available for purchase, but definitely not necessary.
NYS does not provide photos or trophies. They do give your information to third party photo and award companies. This is the sketchy part. You will start getting emails saying “you are scheduled for photos at 5pm on Friday” and “trophy order deadline is Saturday” and things like that. It makes it seem like it’s coming from NYS, but it’s not. You are certainly able to use those services if you choose to, but you don’t have to. The better option is to do your own thing, if someone on the team is willing to coordinate it. On a few of our NYS teams we have had a mom on the team who was a photographer and did the team photos. On another team we all chipped in a few dollars to hire a photographer to come to one of the practices to do pictures. One of our teams opted to go with the pseudo-NYS email advertising, and I was not pleased with the quality of the photo product.
WHAT TO TAKE
When you play soccer, all your child will need is a ball and shin guards. To find out what size ball, check the rules page on NYS for the age group you're playing (the 3 year olds and the 5U leagues use size 3). You can get this size 3 ball on Amazon for under ten dollars. My kids wear soccer cleats, but they're definitely not necessary.
I feel that NYS programs have been a great introductory sports experience for our family. We have played two seasons of soccer so far and are registered again for next season. One season was right before my oldest turned 3, then we played again right before he turned 4.
It’s important to manage your expectations about tiny people playing soccer. It involves a lot of chaos and of course the traditional pack of toddlers chasing the ball around the field. My child is often the one literally picking flowers in the grass. The first time we played (almost 3), it was a battle just to get him to go on the field during the game (even though he loved practices) and he wasn't the only one with this issue. You should also know that because of the strange way NYS does age cutoff, there will potentially be a huge age difference. I wish I had understood that the first time around. My 2-year-old compared to the 4 or almost 4-year-old was such a wide gap. It was fine, I just wished I hadn't stressed so much that developmentally he couldn't keep up. Soccer didn't really "click" for him until the very end of his second season and he finally learned to play for the ball and scored a couple goals. I might have cried.
My husband and I coached our son's tball team the last two seasons. I really recommend it! You get $45 of your registration back, which I didn’t know until after we decided to coach, so that was a nice bonus. One of the upsides of coaching is that you have some control over locations and times of practices. We had one season with an NYS team where we did not have a great experience with the coach, so I decided I would coach as often as possible in the future, or at least put in a request for a coach I knew.
WHAT WE LIKED
I enjoy meeting other families with kids the same age as ours. One of my favorite parts of having Kyler play sports is seeing how proud he is of himself when he does a good job. It is difficult to teach a 3-year-old new skills like dribbling a ball, especially when they’re not particularly interested in following instructions, but I’ve found that as difficult as it is to get through a season, by the end of the season they have made some progress and that is rewarding. I think Kyler’s favorite part is being with his friends.
Although it is more work for the parents, I really enjoy that NYS is run by parent volunteers. It makes it so everyone is invested in the experience for the kids and everyone works together.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
The NYS website is really difficult to work with. Registration is confusing and complicated, especially the first time. It is extremely difficult to locate information on the site itself and I didn’t even know about the parents meeting the first few seasons we were with NYS.
The age cutoffs aren’t entirely clear. For example, we were able to sign up for 3-4 year old soccer when my son was not quite 3, and he didn’t even turn 3 that season. When I called to find out about the official cutoff, nobody knew. It wasn’t until I was in the online registration process that it came out that the cutoff was 21 months or something like that. The system has since changed and it is again impossible to find the actual birthday cutoffs.
WILL WE GO AGAIN
My oldest (4) is about to start his third season of soccer. We have also done tball for 3 seasons now. My youngest (2) is about to start his very first season and we're so excited for him!