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Optimal Line-Ups for a Youth Soccer League Team

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Intellectual Contribution by Robert Saltzman

Contribution Title

Optimal Line-Ups for a Youth Soccer League Team


California Journal of Operations Management





Coaches in some divisions of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) are asked to fill out their team line-up sheets in an unusual way. Instead of focusing on winning games, coaches of younger children are strongly encouraged by league officials to use a line-up that emphasizes player learning and participation by following two guidelines: (1) players should play as many different positions as possible during games, and (2) no player should sit out two quarters of a game before all players have sat out one quarter. In the Under-10 division of this league, each team consisted of a dozen eight and nine year-old boys, nine of whom played at once. As a coach, I manually filled out a line-up sheet prior to the first game that met the guidelines, but it took over an hour. For subsequent games, I formulated a model that satisfied the guidelines and could be solved in just a few minutes. The model's objective is to minimize the number of players assigned to the same position twice in one game (satisfying the first guideline), subject to constraints that express the second guideline and a number of other interesting conditions.

Complete Citation

Saltzman, R., "Optimal Line-Ups for a Youth Soccer League Team," California Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 92-98, February 2005.


See Faculty: Robert Saltzman

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