The Lowdown on League Scheduling

What could be so hard about scheduling an eight game season for a six-year-old girls’ soccer team? How about scheduling for 20 teams in this league alone? Or, trying to make everyone happy when scheduling a full season of matches for a club with 350 teams? (This adds up to 1,400 games for a season, 677 in October alone!)

If this isn’t tough enough, just wait until the complaints roll in after the schedules get released. We sat down with Gary Buete, Baton Rouge Soccer’s executive director, to get some perspective on what goes into scheduling a full season of games.

If all I had was one U6 league, the schedule would be relatively easy. It gets complicated when two coaches in the league are also coaching other teams in a different age group and need to be scheduled around multiple teams. There are also instances in which a coach has two teams in the same age group and needs their games to be side-by-side or back-to-back. Most of these are relatively easy to work out. But …

… Then we get all types of special requests: “All games before 9:00 AM.” “No games before 11:00.” Some teams request one weekend off because of a school fair or scouting activity, and some teams want multiple entire weekends blocked out.

When you multiple these scenarios times 350 the puzzle starts to become very difficult. We simply cannot meet every request when so many of the requests conflict with one another.

Then, there is the issue of LSU home football games and time changes. Some teams back out, some teams want to still play. For next fall, we’re going to adopt a policy that says what we will do if an LSU game gets moved to the morning or moved to an earlier afternoon kickoff.

How many special requests for game dates/times do you get?

Almost every team has some type of schedule request. Some people want all of their games before noon, some don’t want to get up for an early game. Some coaches don’t want any games on Saturdays, and some say no to games on Sunday.

I once had a coach make this request, “No games before 9:00 AM, no games after 11:00 AM, no games on Sunday; and, we can’t play on the second and fourth week of the season altogether.”

Are some leagues more difficult to schedule than others?

The Men’s Open league is the most difficult.  We have several teams that can only play during the week and others only on the weekend.  Then, for those playing on Sunday, we need to work around the Saints games. A few teams want to play in the morning and others late in the afternoon.

What about rescheduling? How many requests (not weather-related) do you get each season?

Most of the reschedules are from coaches finding out at the last minute that they will be missing players. And, yes, there are many coaches who want to reschedule when they only have one missing player – their best player. The tough part comes in the reschedule trying to make it work for everyone’s request and the availability of the coaches.

A lot of us shake our heads (and many of us complain) when the games get cancelled due to weather concerns and then the bad weather doesn’t roll in. What goes in to making this decision?

This definitely one of toughest decisions we have to make. We try to use all of the weather reports to help guide us in to making a decision that looks at the safety of the player first, and the conditions of the field second.  We will always cancel when there is a weather warning in our area such as a thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning.

The bottom line is someone will always be disappointed when they get scheduled against a team with opposite demands or when something out of our control happens to change the schedule.. Although we try, it’s impossible to honor all of the requests. But, when everyone is willing to give a little, we usually can work out almost all of them.

 

 

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