DEFINITIONS: What do the words “recreation” and “recreational” mean in the English language?
1: an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates; “scuba diving is provided as a diversion for tourists”; “for recreation he wrote poetry and solved crossword puzzles”; “drug abuse is often regarded as a form of recreation” [syn: diversion]
2: activity that refreshes and recreates; activity that renews your health and spirits by enjoyment and relaxation; “time for rest and refreshment by the pool”; “days of joyous recreation with his friends” [syn: refreshment]
3: refreshment of one’s mind or body after work through activity that amuses or stimulates; play.
4: the act of recreating, or the state of being recreated; refreshment of the strength and spirits after toil; amusement; diversion; sport; pastime.
rec·re·a·tion·al adj. 1: of or relating to recreation; “a recreational area with a pool and ball fields”
5: engaged in as a pastime; “an amateur painter”; “gained valuable experience in amateur theatricals”; “recreational golfers”; “reading matter that is both recreational and mentally stimulating”; “unpaid extras in the documentary” [syn: amateur, unpaid]
Now what does “recreational soccer” mean?
So you have heard the term before, but do you really know what “recreational soccer” is? There are no legal definitions, no US Youth Soccer rules, policies or regulations. One of the most often used terms is one of the least defined. Soccer has created a new meaning for the word recreation and the word recreational.
US Youth Soccer does offer a partial definition in its “Policy on Players and Playing Rules” in the definitions section when it states:
“recreational league” means an intraclub league in which— (A) The use of tryouts, invitations, recruiting, or any similar process to roster players to any team on the basis of talent or ability is prohibited; (B) The club administering the league accepts as participants in the league any eligible youths (subject to reasonable terms on registration); (C) A system or rostering players is used to establish a fair or balanced distribution of playing talent among all teams participating; and (D) League rules require that each player must play at least one-half of each game except for reasons of injury, illness, or discipline.
“recreational team” means a team that participates in a recreational league.
However the section head note states that “… the … definitions are suggested for use by State Associations to facilitate communication and understanding among them…”
Each state association has its own definition and implementation but there are common perceptions of what people mean when they refer to recreational soccer.
Let us look at those perceptions.
Some common perceptions of recreational soccer are:
- Made up of players assigned to team in a random manner without regard to the ability of the players – as opposed to “select” soccer where the players are selected to be on a team through some sort of tryout or selection process.
- “Less competitive” than “select” soccer.
- “Lower intensity” for training and practices.
- “Less travel”, fewer games
- “Less skilled” players.
- “Less experienced” coaches.
- Beginning players,
- And there are a lot more perceptions.
Such other perceptions must be stamped out as recreational soccer is the foundation of the sport in the United States.
Recreational soccer is defined in the common mind by what it is not and not what it is. A similar situation exists in the definition of amateur versus professional athletes. The word is borrowed from the common definitions in the English language quoted above but vastly stretched in each application.