Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is East Side Sports?

East Side Sports is a youth sports organization that provides a recreational soccer program in the fall and a basketball program in the winter. The program is designed to be fun and instructional, while providing developmentally-appropriate levels of skill instruction, team orientation, and competition–with an emphasis on enjoying learning to play the game. The soccer League was established over 50 years ago under the leadership of Cliff Stevenson, legendary soccer and lacrosse coach at Brown University. Since 1999 it has been operated by Rick Clarkson, father of four sons who all participated in the league for several years and are now coaching their children in the program. The basketball league began at Moses Brown as the WIGS and CSB programs and transitioned to East Side Sports in 2005. Currently these programs serve almost 700 children annually, ages 3 through Grade 8, in the greater Providence area.

2. Is East Side Sports just for children of East Side families?

No, East Side Sports, Inc. is just the name. While the program originally began on the “East Side” of Providence, it has long since grown beyond this area. The league is for all children in the greater Providence area, including surrounding Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities, who wish to participate and whose families embrace the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and enjoyment of youth sports.

3. How do I sign up?

Registration for SOCCER should be completed on-line by clicking on the “Register” button on various pages of this Website, which will send you to the registration website operated by If you experience technical difficulties, registration forms can be downloaded and mailed in to the PO Box listed. BASKETBALL registration must be completed by downloading the form and mailing it in.

4. What if my child hasn’t played before?

East Side Sports programs are for all kids. We attempt to balance teams by age, gender and skill level—although this is a very difficult process; however there are kids of all skill levels on each team. Coaches strive to help each player achieve his/her potential while emphasizing the concept of teamwork with all the players.

5. Can I request that my child be placed with a friend?

Yes, there is a place on the registration form where the parent can request a friend or coach for the players in Divisions I and II (Grades K -3). We ask that you only request one friend or coach, as it becomes impossible to honor all requests when multiple friends are listed. East Side Sports attempts to provide a fun, social environment for each player, and to the extent possible, most reasonable requests are met. Division III players (Grades 4 – 5) are drafted, so please do not request friends or coaches for children in this age group.

6. Why are the Divisions divided by grade and not age?

Because East Side Sports understands that most children have friends in their classes at school, the natural “social” division is by grade rather than age. We are not affiliated with organizations that have strict age requirements.

7. Where do you get your coaches?

Coaches are primarily parents who volunteer to coach, but non-parent volunteers are also welcome. While a particular coach may or may not have extensive experience in the sport, the desire (and ability) to work with kids is the primary requirement. (Obviously, an understanding of soccer or basketball is helpful.) For soccer, each team has two “official” coaches, a “Head” and an “Assistant”, who work together using their varied skills to make the team experience a positive one for all the players. The “Head” coach assumes more responsibility than the assistant, but is not necessarily a more skilled soccer person. East Side Sports almost always needs coaches, and typically we receive more offers to be “Assistants” than “Head” Coaches. Occasionally we ask Assistants to consider becoming Head coaches. We are willing to give you a great deal of support, including on-line resources and other valuable media. For SOCCER the Grades K – 5 divisions, Head coaches receive a full fee wiver, and assistant coaches receive 1/2 fee waiver. Coaches typically schedule one practice per week, often on Saturday morning, while games are on Sunday afternoon at the beautiful Wheeler Farm in Seekonk, MA.

For the 3 – 4 year old soccer clinic, many hands are needed. Parents typically join with other volunteer parents or with ESS staff (high school players) to lead a group of 7 – 10 children. Because of the informal nature of this program–and the concept of using multiple parents–there is no designation of a “Head” coach, and thus, no coaching discount (from the extremely reasonable fee.)

For basketball, any number of individuals may serve as coaches and helpers so there are no coaches discounts for basketball.

8. What is the Soccer Clinic for 3- and 4-year olds?

The Sunday soccer clinic is a special introductory program for 3- and 4-year olds. Children are divided into small groups, which (theoretically) stay together for the entire 8 weeks. They select a team name and are provided with a variety of age-appropriate games/activities that are designed to teach soccer skills. There are no competitive games, but a number of skill-based adaptations of games like “Follow the leader”, “Red light, Green light”, “Sharks and Minnows”, etc. that incorporate soccer skills into the play activity. Often children at this age have difficulty separating from their parents, so parents are invited to participate as “team members” or “coaches” if they desire. There are several high school soccer players who become team leaders, however parents are always needed. Interested parents may team up with a high school helper or with another parent (or two or three) to “coach” a group of children for the sessions. Obviously, volunteer parent coaches will be with their child(ren). Groups are informally selected so that friends can be together. Each child receives a tee shirt at the beginning of the program and a special award on the final day. As you would imagine, this is much less formal than the older divisions and requires a different set of developmental skills. There is no fee waiver for parents helping in the Clinic program, but all hands are appreciated–and needed. While instructional lesson plans are available, there is a great deal of “on-the-job training” that takes place from week to week as parent-coaches find particular activities that their group responds to. It’s a lot of fun and we encourage you to get involved at this level!

9. If I coach, do I get a discount? How does that work?

Coaches discounts are for soccer but not basketball. If you become a “Head” coach of a K – Grade 8 SOCCER team (not the 3- & 4-year old clinic program), your child receives a full registration waiver. If you become an “Assistant” your child receives a discount of half the registration fee. Please indicate your interest to coach on the registration questionnaire. Because we are never sure how many coaches are needed prior to the beginning or the season, coaches are asked to pay the full fee when they register. Later, when the rosters are finalized and coaches are assigned by the League Director, the refunds are distributed. There is no discount offered for soccer CLINIC helpers or BASKETBALL coaches.

10. When are the soccer practices?

The soccer coach determines the time and place of the team’s practice. Typically, but not always, the practices are on Saturday morning at an East Side field such as Sessions Street (behind the JCC), Patterson Park (on Patterson Street near Lincoln School), or at Hope High School. Because the number of practice locations are few, scheduling practice times is complicated so we ask parents and coaches to be as flexible as possible.

11. When are the games?

Each team plays one game per week on Sunday afternoon at the Wheeler School Farm in Seekonk. We will again be playing on Wheeler Fields #4, #5 and #6, which are near the baseball field and gymnasium. Games will start on time, so please arrive early to games. If your team’s game starts late due to tardiness, it will be cut short because of the large number of games scheduled. Division I games are at 12:30 pm, Division II games are at 1:30 pm, and Division III games are at 2:30 pm. It is very helpful to arrive 15 minutes early so that the coach can get organized and the games may begin on time.

12. What is the rain out policy for soccer?

a.  When possible, we will always try to get the games in, because it is difficult to make them up at the end of the season.  November afternoons get cold and dark early, and the fields may not be available after a certain date.

b.  When the weather conditions are questionable, parents should feel comfortable making their own decision about whether or not they want their children to play due to the weather conditions.

c.  The League and or Wheeler make the decision regarding game cancellations due to weather. As mentioned, we will try to get them in when possible, which means we will wait as long as possible to make the decision when things are uncertain. We will email the entire roster of players and coaches immediately when the decision is made. We will also post it on the website at  There is no need to call the director or the coaches–if the decision has not been posted/emailed, then it hasn’t been made yet.

d.  Coaches make the decision regarding their team’s practices. If the weather is uncertain at practice time, one coach may cancel the practice while another may not. Coaches will determine the best communication means for his/her team.

13. What does my child need?

Every player receives a uniform (shirt, shorts, and sox) and should wear the complete uniform to each game. All players (except clinic participants) are required to have shin guards. Soccer shoes are optional, but are a good idea in Leagues II and III. Because kid’s feet grow rapidly and the season is relatively short, expensive shoes are not necessary. The league director has a growing collection of used soccer shoes–mostly in small sizes–that previous year’s parents have donated to be freely distributed to any child needing cleats. These shoes are at the registration table each Sunday. Each child should bring his/her own water bottle to practices and games, unless the coach makes other arrangements. Your child’s coach may request that your child bring a ball to practice. Please put your child’s name on everything—especially soccer balls—using permanent marker.

14. When is it too late to register for soccer?

East Side Sports registers approximately 500 children for soccer each year, so organizing teams, finding coaches, establishing schedules, and ordering uniforms is a huge task. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to register early and, thus, receive the early discount. The fee goes up after August 20. We will still accept registrants after that date, but late registrants may not get placed with their friend.

15. What if I miss a practice or a game?

Both games and practices are important, but they do not take precedence over family obligations such as holiday plans, religious services and/or a family weekend away. While it is important to attend all the activities when possible, East Side Sports understands that this is a recreational league that is designed to support family activities. If you need to miss a game (or practice), please give your coach the courtesy of a heads-up if your child must miss a practice or a game.