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North Canton Soccer Club

North Canton Soccer Club

Ohio Travel Soccer League(OHTSL) is the remaining travel soccer league in North East Ohio.  Teams range from Sandusy to Gaeniva to New Philadelphia. In the Spring GAASA merged with OHTSL to consolidate to where we are today.  The league is under the US Club Soccer governing body.  Where this league fits in the soccer landscape you can read our blog from last year, Youth Soccer Levels. Ohio Travel Soccer is a community-based travel league so each team has a geographical area with limits on how many players they can have outside that area and follows the US soccer standard of birth year age groups.

Each birth year is split into divisions.  The divisions are intended for competitive balance as players are at different points in their development journey. These divisions are assigned based on information provided by the clubs, teams' past performance.  This information is reviewed by a league committee made up of community members to bracket each team.  Once each team is bracketed there is an all-community meeting in which clubs can request changes or make swaps with other communities for the final divisions to be formed.  With the addition of GAASA most age groups have 5 to 6 divisions.  Divisions 2 and lower are split into regions. Any division 3 or lower has a travel limit.  A team can only travel the same amount of time as a played half.  If you are in U10 you can only travel 25 minutes from the city centers.  If there is a game that violates this rule a neutral site can be arranged by the league.

All divisions are competitive with standings recorded putting them a step above your standard recreational leagues like Community Soccer.  The top division or sometimes two divisions are OHTSL is comparable to the second premiere division at CASA. The top two divisions are normally teams that are a mix of club and travel players within the community.  Divisions 3 - 4 are normally mostly travel-only players with a sprinkling of club players here and there.  Divisions 5 and 6 are all travel-only players.  The expectation is all divisions play quality soccer and are building to develop players and teams for long-term success. OHTSL’s website lists all divisions, teams, schedules, and results for anyone who wants to see the NE Ohio soccer landscape. There are two age groups with variations.  U9 has no division one.  This is for tournament purposes, because of the standard of OHTSL division one no U9 team wants to play regional premiere-level teams at a tournament. U15 is the other difference with a 9v9 gameplay option.  For communities with a small number of U15 8th graders, this is a nice option but has no divisional breakup. 

Our club’s philosophy is to challenge all our teams with the goal of everyone being able to go 4-4 each season.  We don’t want teams going 8-0 and not being challenged during games.  We hope no team goes 0-8 but that will happen from time to time as we get overly optimistic or if players flux unexpectedly. Anytime a team has a rough season we will adjust the following year and learn from our mistakes.  Things to remember about our club:

  • We are a development-first club where games are a showcase of the skills we learn in practice.  We are not tactically setting up teams to win but developing players to win for the long term.  
  • We don’t require a year-long commitment and support players who play other sports. Our teams fluctuate from season to season making it harder to put teams in their proper division and teams will move divisions within a league year depending on who signs up.
  • We don’t recruit players!  We are not marketing or going to area leagues, tournaments, etc trying to “find players”.  Our club is happy with our families who want to be with us and we put teams in according to the player who sign up. 
  • We have an ID program for middle school boys that limits the number of club players on our U12+ teams.
  • We limit our U9 teams because we have our academy program.  We learned the lesson last year about playing age-appropriate teams in U10/9 because of the athleticism differences at this young age.  If we don’t have full U9 teams we will pull them back to our academy to help us not go 0-8 and discourage players and parents.
  • We build through our academy program.  We are looking at player development from 4 to 15 not year to year success. We want players from our program to be lifelong soccer players who enjoy success at the High School level and beyond.  

I hope this helps your understanding of the division process, what it all means, and our club philosophy.  If you ever have any questions please reach out to us.  We are happy to clarify and answer respectful questions.


North Canton Soccer Club
PO Box 242 
Greentown, Ohio 44630

Email: [email protected]

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