The mission of the Catholic Youth Apostolate is to help all young people hear and actively respond to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and enthusiastically participate in the life and mission of Jesus Christ and His Church.

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2019 Cardinals Night
Lacrosse 2019

New Team Classification Proposal Approved

In 1996, the CYC initiated the Open/Closed designation for league play. Open teams had players who played on teams in the same sport, at the same time as the CYC season for that sport. Players on the closed team only played CYC for that sport, during that season. The change was brought about due to the changing landscape of youth sports in the St Louis area at the time.

In the last several months, our office has discussed the Open/Closed designation with parents, coaches and volunteers at meetings, forums and at games. The overall response indicated a desire to eliminate the Open/Closed structure. The feeling is this set-up no longer fits the world of youth sports in our area. Once again, it was time to adapt.

The CYC Executive Board discussed possible solutions at our February meeting. We narrowed it down to two options:

Large School/Small School – Much like the set-up with high schools in Missouri, CYC teams would be divided according to the number of teams in the parish program for each sport; soccer, volleyball and basketball, grades 5-8. The parishes would be listed, and the top 20% would be designated Large School, and the rest would be designated Small School. This would apply only to the Archdiocesan playoffs. Each district would continue to set-up their leagues as they do now. One big advantage to this system is it allows more small programs to participate in the CYC Archdiocesan playoffs. Over the last several years, the majority of our Archdiocesan winners have come from the larger parishes.

Competitive/Recreational - In this option, coaches would designate their team as “Competitive” or “Recreational”, before the season begins. 

In March, a proposal was sent to all Athletic Association presidents outlining these two options. Each Athletic Association was asked to discuss this with their members, and to vote on which option their group favored. The Executive Board members for each district were given the results of the survey for their district. The results of the survey were:

Large School/Small School – 35, Competitive/Recreation – 20, No Change – 8

At the Executive Board meeting, on May 7th, the group voted unanimously to adopt the Large School/Small School system for the Archdiocesan playoffs. This will start with the 2019 soccer/volleyball season. Open/Closed designations will no longer be used in the CYC program.

How Does It Work?

• After the first week of the season, the district will send the CYC office a list of parishes participating in the sport. The list will include each parish/school, and the number of boys and girls teams, in grades 5-8.
• A list will be compiled of boys and girls.
• The top 20% of the parishes/schools listed for boys and for girls will designated a Large School program.
• The rest of the parishes/schools will be designated Small School.
• The list will be posted on the CYC website.
• This will be done for each major sport, soccer, volleyball and basketball, each season.
• It is possible for a parish/school to be Large School in boys and Small School in girls or vice-versa.

Since the Small School division will have more teams, it was decided to have two teams from each district included; in a ten team bracket.

It is important to emphasize this new system is just for the CYC Archdiocesan playoffs. Parishes and districts still need to put together league schedules the way they have in the past. We need to try to organize leagues with appropriate skill level to the best of our ability.

We applaud the work of our Executive Board for discussing this issue and exploring appropriate options. They have led our CYC program forward in adapting to today’s youth sports environment.

We still have work to do. There are other issues we will address in the next few months.

If you have questions, please reach out to me at:



Random Acts of Sportsmanship Spotted at CYC Basketball Games

As the CYC Basketball season is winding down, it is proving that sportsmanship is most definitely alive and well here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In the past couple of weeks there were several Random Acts of Sportsmanship (RAS) reported to the CYC Office, and we are sure there were myriad more that went unnoticed.

RAS are acts that we want to encourage all of our participants to display every time they take the field or court. In addition to recognizing winners of games, we feel it is imperative for CYC Sports to search for and recognize acts of sportsmanship at our athletic events. As a Catholic organization we must train our children to display Christian values in all parts of their lives, especially during athletic competition.

In the ten years since the program began, hundreds of Random Acts of Sportsmanship by CYC coaches, players, officials, and fans have been witnessed and acknowledged.

Here’s just one great example of a Random Act of Sportsmanship recently submitted by a referee:

A CYC Official commented that he doesn’t often see opposing players applaud for the other team after a free throw has been made. However, he did witness this at one of IC-Arnold’s recent games! He wants to commend Natalie Briggs a 6th Grade Player on Immaculate Conception's Basketball Team and thank her for doing just that, for clapping for the opposing team after they made a free throw. This Random Act of Sportsmanship is a great example to other players and fans and sets the tone for a spirit of friendly competition at CYC games.

When you spot a RAS, please email a description of the act and the names of the people/teams involved to The CYC Office will be sure to acknowledge them. Visit the RAS page to read more!

Announcing: CYC Committee on Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is one of our core values at the CYC. We know the word means a lot of different things to different people. We believe sportsmanship involves:

  • Respect for your opponent, your teammates and your coach.
  • Playing the game the right way.
  • Responding to adversity in a positive and beneficial way.
  • Hold yourself accountable for your actions.
  • Everyone has an opportunity to play.

These are a few of the key components of sportsmanship. You may have others you could add to the list. Sportsmanship has received a lot attention lately. Honestly, that is because we have not been our best.
CYC needs to be better.

We have all seen videos of parents, coaches, players and officials acting inappropriately at youth sporting events. It has become a real issue. One major consequence of this behavior is a severe shortage of officials. This is an issue in our area and all over the country. Without officials, we cannot play the games.
CYC needs to be better.

Another consequence of the lack of sportsmanship is the effect it has on our kids. Their perception of how to play the game and how to react to certain situations is molded by the behavior of their parents and coaches. If we continue to yell at officials, criticize players and coaches, and disrespectfully address other parents, our kids will learn this is the way you deal with tough situations.

Sports teaches life lessons. Our kids learn how to deal with these life lessons when they play sports. This lack of sportsmanship will continue when our kids become parents and coaches. It will filter into the workplace and into other interactions in society. It’s a mindset we have to change. Now.

CYC needs to be better.

As the largest youth sports program in the St. Louis area and as a representative of our Catholic faith we should be the standard for sportsmanship. Right now, we are not. But that is about to change.

The CYC office is forming a Sportsmanship Committee to address all of these issues. We are interested in ideas and suggestions for our organization to improve in all things sportsmanship. We would like to set clear expectations for everyone in the CYC program with regards to sportsmanship. We are looking for ways to effectively promote our expectations to everyone in our organization.

We want you!

We are looking for a diverse group of passionate individuals to help us lead the way on this issue in St. Louis and take steps to creating a better overall experience for youth, coaches, fans, and officials.This committee will be comprised of parents, coaches, officials and clergy. We would like for all CYC districts to be represented. The commitment will likely be quarterly meetings, with some e-mail communication in between meetings.

If you would like to be a part this exciting initiative, or even if you just want to be on the list to receive more information, please sign-up here.

Together we can make the improvements we need to make to improve sportsmanship in the CYC program. CYC will be better. If you have more questions about this initiative, please e-mail

It's All About The Kids

Last week, I attended the CYC Archdiocesan volleyball playoffs at St Catherine Laboure. Whenever I visit a local CYC gym, I enjoy reading the banners on the wall. It’s fun to look for names of players who I have watched play over the years. It is like a CYC sports history lesson.

St Catherine Laboure has a successful CYC sports program. Over 60 banners on the wall will attest to many years of CYC champions. However, there is something different about the banners on the wall at St Catherine Laboure. Something I have never seen in all my years of banner watching. Not one banner included the name of a coach. Just the players’ names were displayed on each banner. Why is that? Because it is all about the kids.

I’m not saying everyone else is wrong for including names of coaches on their banners. Parents devote many hours to coaching and the recognition is good. Many of our schools and churches have banners, plaques, and other ways to recognize those who have served the parish. Our CYC coaches provide a valuable service to their parishes by giving time and talent to the kids they coach.

The true measure of success for your sports team should be the improvement made from the first day of practice to the final game of the season. If your team has developed their skills in a positive way and they play better as a team you have enjoyed a successful season. A coach’s value should be measured on these principles, not on a won-lost record. Sure, it’s great to have your name on a banner, but it is even greater to have a player tell you they had fun this season and they are a better player because of your coaching.

Humility is a virtue we should all work to embrace in our lives. Putting others needs before our own. Jesus was the model of humility; a true servant to others. When we coach CYC sports, everything we do must be for the kids. In victory, it is not our accomplishment as a coach, but the kids who deserve the praise. It is not about our name on a banner, or in the parish bulletin, or on a Facebook post. Coaches should use success as an opportunity to, as a team, thank God for the blessings of the gifts given, and praise the efforts of the players on the team.

We are grateful for the many hours our coaches spend with CYC teams. It can be a thankless job and the pay is pretty weak. We appreciate your efforts to serve your parish community and the kids on the team. Hopefully, your players and their parents will take the opportunity to thank you. We hope you, as a coach, take the opportunity to praise your players for their hard work, because, after all, it’s all about the kids.




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