Each year we’re asked for information and guidance regarding tryouts, especially as the number of Clubs and options continue to grow. One recurring question from parents is “...when is the right time to consider a move to travel?”

The short answer is there is no right time, as many families find that the rec level offers a broad spectrum of competition and years of development opportunities for their child.  But for those ready or considering a move to or within the competitive system, we provide detailed information regarding the upcoming soccer tryout window which will be in the spring season. 
There is lots of time until the tryout window, but note that many of the clubs could host tryouts on the same days, so it’s recommended that families spend time beforehand researching which clubs look to be a good fit for their child.

The governing bodies of US youth soccer state that players are free to move, without restriction, from year to year. Additionally, local associations like US Club & CalNorth prohibit tryouts or offers prior to the end of the year (please note this is different than families initiating contact with a team). They also require an environment in which families can explore their options free of intimidation. The tryout window exists to ensure that families have the necessary time to explore and consider these options. 

While the terms of the tryout window and offers were developed jointly by the clubs and SFYS, some clubs may not be included if they did not provide the required information or did not wish to adhere to the process. 

Procedure of the Tryout Window

For prospective competitive players or players considering a move within competitive, we recommend you visit the club websites to obtain the requirements, procedures and details for tryouts. Depending on a club or team’s policies, existing players may not be required to attend tryouts to remain with their team. While all players are eligible to attend tryouts of their choosing and make a decision within the allotted time free of threats, harassment or punishment, it doesn’t mean that they will be immune from it.  Parents that encounter this behavior may want to carefully consider if that particular club is a good fit for their child.


Clubs and teams may make offers to both new and existing players starting on the first day of the tryout window. Once an offer is made it cannot be rescinded until the end of the tryout window. Families, both new and existing, can make a deposit at anytime during the tryout window, but cannot be required to before the deadline in order to hold a spot. While offers made during the tryout window may not be made with contingencies (payment required sooner than deadline, verbal confirmation), this is not true after the tryout window, when teams may be looking to fill limited spots within a specific timeframe. And as most deposits are non-refundable, be aware that if you change your mind about an offer you’ve accepted, you’re not likely to get a refund as clubs will base subsequent offers on how many others have already been accepted. 

Based on the size of some clubs and the total number of clubs in the City, it’s very likely your child will receive an offer somewhere. Families can expect to get some indication of interest and perhaps a formal offer during or after the tryout process. Often times players may be invited back after tryouts for additional evaluation. Sometime offers may not come for a few weeks as teams sort out their rosters.

There are two types of offers: 

  • An offer for a specific team, playing at a specific strength level, or 
  • A general offer for a spot in the club, with the team not specified. 

If you receive a general offer, you may wish to inquire whether the offer is for a new or existing team, who the coach is and how many players are on the team.  Sometimes a club hopes to form a team but they don’t sign enough players in that particular age group. Often this is not a problem as the club has other teams in that age group, but there may be instances where a proposed team doesn’t materialize.

We also suggest being respectful of the process by communicating honestly with clubs/teams and not offering false hope. This can lead a club to believe they have enough players to form a team, only to fall short and have to inform other families that a team is no longer viable.  And while it can be exciting to receive multiple offers, don’t try out with a club/team that you know you have no intention of joining or to see how many offers your child can obtain. 

New team or Existing team? You may be interested to know if your child is being offered a spot on a team with a lot of returning players or if it’s a new team with many players new to the club.

Practice Location : While it’d be great to have a consistent practice location, SF Rec & Park utilizes a lottery system which results in teams being located at a variety of fields from season to season. It’s important to realize that only teams U12 and older are scheduled on full-sized pitches. Teams U11 and younger often practice either on the small side areas of complexes, or on small field areas around the city. While teams may frequently practice at the same location over a period of time, this is never guaranteed.

Practice Frequency: We recommend clarifying how often the team will practice. Typically it’s one or two days. Some teams that have secured access to non-city fields may offer a third day.

Playing League: Here we list the pathway that competitive players from San Francisco traditionally take as they progress through various leagues.

Who’s the coach? Some players will be made offers on teams with longstanding coaches.  Others onto teams where the coach is likely known.  In some cases, it will be determined later.  If this is an important factor in your decision, feel free to inquire as to if a coach has been assigned to your child’s team.

Coach Licensing : You should feel comfortable asking what a coach’s license is if it is not listed on the club’s website. In a few cases, coach or DOC licensing is a factor in whether a club or team qualifies to play in a specific league.

Does the club handle all of the administration?Many clubs have administrators while others use team managers (parents) to handle some of the administration.

Goalkeeper Training : most clubs do offer specialized keeper training or trainers at practice. If your child is a goalkeeper, you should feel comfortable to ask.

Factors to consider when looking at a soccer club.

Cost : Club soccer in San Francisco can routinely cost over $1,500 per year, per child with some being considerably more or less. As clubs and team pricing can vary considerably and financial aid may be provided, we’ve asked clubs to help families by providing information on their pricing and financial aid policies, which can be found via the club profile page or via a link to their website from the profile page.

Pricing considerations:

  • How many tournaments a team is likely to attend and is the price included
  • Whether the registration fee is included or paid separately to the league
  • Whether winter and/or summer programs are included in the price or charged separately.
  • Does the price include uniforms or club gear?
  • What are the qualifications for financial aid or payment plans?
  • Are there additional charges for supplemental clinics and/or camps
My tips on finding the right club – Jimmy Obleda of Fullerton Rangers (CalSouth)


Fall 2018 Tryout Links

There is no centralized place to find tryout times and locations. Refer to the approved team and club flyers for more information and confirm with the team or club you are interested in trying out for when and where tryouts are.

For Players

Reminder: Where you play is largely up to you! Make sure the team or club is the right fit before making the commitment to play. Also, players may register for ONE TEAM only. Need Clarification about what that means? Click Here.

For Travel Teams & Clubs

Reminder: Current Recreational teams may stay together and move up to SF Local Competitive Upper House (one step below travel play). Teams do *not* need to join a club in order to participate (though you certainly may).

Making a decision to play competitively and participate in the tryout process can be both exciting and stressful. While advanced players may garner immediate offers, it may take time for others to receive them as clubs and teams sort out their rosters. Don’t be discouraged if the offers don’t materialize either right away or at all, as youth soccer in San Francisco, is broad and deep with a home for all children.  Should you not find a suitable option for your player, we can likely facilitate a placement with a great team.

If you have any questions about the process or encounter situations that are in conflict with the tryout policies, please feel free to contact us at info@sfyouthsoccer.com and good luck at tryouts!