In-person meetings and league-managed scheduling of games were becoming less common even before Covid, and now team admins and coaches do most of their league scheduling by email. Here are a couple tips for making that process run smoother.

Tip 1: Use This Season-at-a-Glance Scheduling Aid

This printable, one-page, Season-at-a-Glance scheduling aid replaces printing a calendar or using a calendar app on your phone or computer. Why is that better? Because it puts your entire season on one page (no flipping pages or toggling between windows) and makes it really easy to see where you have openings. I suggest that you print it out and set it beside your computer if you’re scheduling at home, or stick it on a clipboard if you’re using it at an in-person scheduling meeting. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Season-at-a-Glance Example
Example of my season schedule in progress.

Tip #2: Create a Copy of this Scheduling Matrix

While you can certainly just email back-and-forth with all of the teams in your division, setting up a scheduling matrix can eliminate a lot of the work. It allows you to see the games you still need to schedule and identify a date that might work for both teams, without a lot of back-and-forth to inquire about available dates. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a copy of our Scheduling Matrix for your division
  2. Fill in the team names in Column A
  3. Get the list of coaches and team contacts for your division from the league and start an email thread with them to share the link to your division’s version of the Scheduling Matrix and open up communications.
  4. Still print and use the one-page Season-at-a-Glance team schedule template (especially if you have more than one team)
Copy Scheduling Matrix Tip
Choose File -> Make a copy to create a copy of the template that you can edit.

Here’s an example of a mostly complete scheduling matrix:

Scheduling Matrix Example
Fill in the teams in your division in Column A and share the file with the other team contacts. Put an “x” in a cell if there are lots of teams in your division and you won’t play all of them. There’s space below to list scheduling contact names, emails, phone, as well as home field location, desired dates and blackout dates, and team colors.

Tip 3: know the process for your league

Buckeye Premier Youth Soccer League (BPYSL or Buckeye)

BPYSL is a self-schedule league. If possible, please try to attend the league scheduling meeting (normally in Dayton at Wright-Patt) with your coach. One person can handle it, but it’s easier with two. Gather any blackout dates before the meeting to avoid any reschedules (tournaments, mainly). 

Developmental League (DL)

The Developmental League schedules all games at one site per weekend across several weekends during the season. When we have the schedule link, we’ll post it here.

Cardinal Premier League (CPL)

CPL is a self-schedule league. If possible, please try to attend the league scheduling meeting with your coach. One person can handle it, but it’s easier with two. Gather any blackout dates before the meeting to avoid any reschedules (tournaments, mainly). 

Self Scheduling Meeting Pro Tips

Pre-covid, most league games were scheduled at pre-season scheduling meetings. As of Spring 2021, we had not returned to in-person meetings and I’m not sure we ever will. These tips apply to those meetings, and some are useful for asynchronous scheduling as well.

  1. Arrive early. Often many of the coaches work out dates and times in the 30 minutes before the meeting’s posted start time (or by email the week before)
  2. Print and use the Season-at-a-Glance. It’s great to have one page that you don’t have to flip.
  3. Check to see how many teams are in your division. If there are 7, 8, or 9 teams, the “who to play” decision is normally pretty simple: everyone once. If there are 6, or more than 9, it gets more complicated. Make sure each team decides WHO they’re going to play before everyone tries to figure out WHEN they’re going to play.
  4. Gather any blackout dates beforehand. This would include tourney weekends as well as any dates that you know would be a conflict for your coach or a large chunk of your team.
  5. Before the meeting, make sure you know what tournaments your team will attend. If you’re not sure, ask a club director.
  6. Before the meeting, note any blackout days for tourneys, spring breaks, etc.
  7. Arrive 30 minutes early. A lot of the scheduling takes place before the official meeting starts (some also may occur days before by email).
  8. At the meeting, it helps to have a 2nd person as a runner to go to the field schedule tables.
  9. Schedule the farther away teams first before you and they run out of available weekends/fields. The local teams can usually be squeezed in on a weeknight at Clear Creek.
  10. By playing in Buckeye, we know there will be some travel to Dayton and Columbus. When deciding where to play, don’t be a jerk, but don’t be a pushover either. Propose Clear Creek or Turpin or somewhere else near us as a field first. For Columbus and Dayton teams, a good “halfway” point is Lebanon (:40 from our training field) or Ankeney (1:10)
  11. Let the other team know we are navy or orange and ask the other team what they would like to wear. Saves you the trouble of looking it up or emailing them later.
  12. Consider whether you’d be ok playing 2 games in Columbus or Dayton in a day or weekend as it may come up.
  13. Mention The EPIC Cup (in Oxford in May), but only to people that seem super-cool.