Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is "recreational" soccer and how does it differ from "competitive" soccer?

A. Recreational soccer focuses on exercise, fun, skill, and friendship rather than on the score of the game.  Sure, winning is generally more fun than losing, but in a recreational sport, the emphasis on winning should be minimized.  A pleasant by-product of the non-aggressive nature of OCASL means that you are probably more likely to walk off the field injury free, since other players won't be overly aggressive in their play.  That said, the level of play in this league is fairly good.  There are players who have many years of experience, and are quite skilled.  So look for a skilled game that welcomes the beginning player as well as the seasoned veteran.  See our Divisions Page to find out where you fit the best.

Q. How do I know which division or team to join?

A. If you are a very good player and are 30 years old or older, we offer a Competitive Over 30 division.

If you are a man over 40 or a woman over 30, we have a new division: O40/30.  This is 8v8 soccer with smaller goals, no offside, and no contact or slide tackling.  Beginners are welcome, the level of play will still be good - just slower paced than our recreational 11v11 divisions.

For most everyone else, Rec 1, 2, or 3 will fit.  These divisions play by recreational rules (e.g. no slide tackling), and all are co-ed.  The teams in Rec 1 are stronger than the teams in Rec 2 which are stronger than Rec 3.  But if you've played soccer for a few years and can run, trap, pass, and shoot, then any division will work.  If you are completely new to the game, you should consider Rec 3, or register for our "Pickup Only" play so you can get your feet under you.  We'll help you join a team when you're ready.  More important than the recreational level, if you have friends in the league, it makes sense to join their team.  You can do that by registering early in the process, and requesting their team on your registration form.

Q. What fields will you be using?

A. For games, we prefer Southern Community Park in Chapel Hill.  The fields at Soccer Center are equally good, just a little further away from our participant base.  In the summer and winter, the grass fields are closed, so we use Old Chapel Hill Road Park in Durham or Cedar Falls in Chapel Hill when they are available.   For practice sessions, our favorites are Chapel Hill Bible Church, Southern Community Park, Cedar Falls

Q. What are your 'pickup/practice' sessions like?

A. We try to hold 4 practice sessions each week in spring and fall, and 2 practice sessions each week in summer and winter. These are almost always small sided pickup matches, and we get between 1 and 4 simultaneous games going. White shirts vs. dark shirts - many players bring both so we can balance teams. Players are encouraged to try new moves, and to include everyone in the play. It's a great way to meet players from other teams in the league, or to meet the folks who play "pickup only". If you register for pickup (included in recreational fees), you can play in as many or as few sessions as you wish.

A. I registered but haven't been placed on a team yet. How does that work?

A. Anyone who registers before we fill is guaranteed to get on a team. Returning players are assigned to the same team unless they request to be placed on a different team. New players are put in a "free agent pool". Once the division is full, we place pool players on teams, trying to keep friends together and trying to balance talent and the needs of a team (e.g. matching defenders etc.). This placement process takes place about a week before the first games of the season. We know it's difficult to wait - we're trying to balance the process as much as possible. As always, if you end up on a team that doesn't fit your style - let us know - we will do our best to make things better.

Q. I live in Durham, will you be renting fields here?

A. Maybe.  If we get enough Durham based players, we'll rent fields there.  If not, we will try to get fields in Orange County that are on the Durham side so that access is as easy as possible.

Q. Is OCASL co-ed?

A. Absolutely!  Our goal is at least four women and at least four men on every team.  That doesn't mean we will have quotas, and it doesn't mean that there are a required number of players of either gender on the field at any one time.  Regardless, we will ensure that the league is accessible and fun for both women and men.

Q. My children want to play in OCASL, can they?

A. 16 and 17 year olds can play OCASL if they have at least one parent on the team too.  Otherwise, a player must be at least 18.  

Q. What is the Board of Advisors?

A. An advisor is someone who is both a recreational soccer player and an individual who is committed to making OCASL succeed.  Advisors nominate themselves, and are then selected by the participants of OCASL.  The important part is that the board of advisors is here to represent the participants in making decisions that affect OCASL.  We need thoughtful advisors - no experience necessary.  You'll be asked to participate in a few friendly meetings each year, and contribute your thoughts via email on all sorts of OCASL matters.

Q. In which months will OCASL play?

A. Hopefully, all of them.  We run 4 seasons a year, 9 or 10 games each, with weeknight practice sessions (even in winter).

Q. I can only play during the week, what are my options?

A. We run practices during the week, depending on the expressed wishes of our players.  We may also run games during the week.  Most likely times are somewhere between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm.  When you fill out the registration form, let us know your particular situation so we can do our best to meet your needs.

Q. You folks are new, what happens if you don't get enough players?

A. Wow, that's an old question.  We're no longer new.  We had 8 teams the first season, 10 the second and 12 the third, 14 the fourth.  In 2016 we had 35 teams per season.  At this rate, everyone on the planet will be playing OCASL in a few years.

Q. Are you affiliated with any other leagues or associations?

A. No, we are an independent non-profit organization. 

Q. Who runs OCASL and what is your experience?

A. The founder is Rob Smith, long time soccer player, long time recreational sports supporter, former board member and president of a recreational soccer organization.  Rob has youth soccer coaching experience (9 years, licensed), and is a certified referee (level 7) and has taught and mentored dozens of referees.  Rob testified before the Orange County Commissioners in support of new soccer fields, and he has worked with all the local field authorities in Orange and Durham counties.  Rob is 100% dedicated to the value of recreational sports, and with the help of many fine friends, is building an adult soccer organization that is responsive to its participants, run efficiently to give great value, and tons of fun.

OCASL is also supported by a fine group of team captains, and a dedicated board of advisors.  The league will succeed because of the impressive efforts of these individuals.