If a recreational player is thinking about competitive soccer, there are two options prior to seasonal (Fall) registration:

  • RECOMMENDED : A current recreational player can join a competitive team at their practice. A current competitive player can observe a practice. Where the marketing meets the pitch: Pay attention to the style of coaching, the dynamics of the player interaction, speak with parents on the sidelines about their experiences with the team/club. A great way to determine which tryouts to attend, which teams or clubs suit your player ... or even whether a move is worth it. Where are teams practicing? 
  • Recreational players can attend tryouts. The official competitive tryout dates are April 30 - May 1.
    • ​​Refer to the SFRPD-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. Clarifications: 
      • 1/ SFYS does not endorse any club. If you see our logo on a flyer, it is because that club has teams that participate in our SF Youth Soccer Leagues.
      • 2/ For budgeting purposes, SFYS Player Registration costs for SFYS house league recreational and competitive play is conservatively $100-$150 per season (Financial Aid available). Any charges above that are for team or club benefits (coaching, uniforms, tournaments, etc.), which vary by team and club - please be clear of SFYS charges.

  • The Fall 2023 offer schedule is as follows:
    • Offers Start (for returning players) - Friday, April 28
    • Tryouts Weekend - April 29 & 30
    • Returning Player Signings Allowed - Monday, May 1 after 5pm
    • New Player Signings Allowed - Tuesday, May 2 after 5pm
    • Offers Can Be Withdrawn (if not accepted) - Wednesday, May 10

ARTICLE LINK: Tips for Tryouts - Parents, Do Your Research by US
​Youth Soccer 2014 Boys Competitive Coach of the Year, Mark Ryan



SF Local Competitive (SF Competitive Upper House & SFYS Varsity), CCSL Coast and US Club NorCal & NPL leagues for teams of advanced players to compete locally and around San Francisco. Players that are in Competitive soccer have chosen to make the commitment to practices, games, tournaments and most teams play at least 3 seasons.

Consider the following

before committing your player to the rigors of competitive soccer:

  • Developmental Readiness - Technically and Mentally. Do not overlook the mental aspect of moving to Competitive. Many players may be technically sound but are not engaged in the game enough to compete consistently at an advanced level. 

  • Commitment: Competitive teams require more time year-round. Most teams have multiple practices and attend tournaments. In the older age groups Competitive teams also travel locally. 

  • Playing Time: ​As a parent you need to be realistic to where your child fits. If the environment is too intense, where he or she can’t develop because every other player is too far ahead, then it won’t be enjoyable for the player and will likely lead to burnout. 

  • Social Aspects: The reason your child is playing soccer, or any sport, is for the enjoyment of the game. If you child is having fun in the environment they are in (coaches, friends and development) they are most likely in the right spot. The players that start to show a competitive edge by maybe getting frustrated by players around them, from lack of skill level or focus, are the players that could potentially have more fun in stronger competition.

  • Expenses: ​Competitive programs are typically more expensive than Recreational. This is mainly because of paid coaches and tournament expenses. Though nearly every team and club offer financial aid (and so does SFYS), the decision to go comp will affect your pocketbook.

Q. When is the right time to go Comp?

A.  Moving to a Competitive soccer team is a per-player consideration and can happen at many different ages.  Because Rec has such a broad spectrum of skill level, for some, recreational play is appropriate for the duration of their soccer playing years. Recreational play also makes sense for multi-sport and one-season per sport athletes, since even if the player is very good, the top bracket Rec teams are often very, very good.

For others, the desire to focus on soccer, to build on individual skills and advance to the next level, to play year-round and to attend tournaments, rather than being daunting feels like the logical next step in their development. This can happen at any age - there is no rush! (USWNT striker Alex Morgan didn't start playing soccer until she was 14!) - but anecdotally in the City, where so many kids start playing as toddlers and by 4th or 5th grade have been playing for 5 years or more - the biggest shift of players from Rec to Comp tends to happen between the ages of 10-12.


What you should know:

  • Players are allowed to (and should!) attend multiple tryouts

Every club runs and organizes their tryouts differently. Attending multiple tryouts will give you a sense of how the club organizes itself and how they train and evaluate players. Attending multiple tryouts (or prospective team practices) is also a good way to meet club directors and coaches face to face, get a sense of their style of play and the fit of the team with your player's needs. 

  • Decision Deadlines are not SFYS-mandated or enforced

There is a city-wide deadline for signing, agreed to by all clubs. 

What does this mean for players? If you're offered a spot for a team you are psyched to be on, take it. Not so sure? The gamble is whether there will be a spot open on a particular team. In San Francisco, if a player wants to play competitively, there will be room on a comp team somewhere - it just may not be the team you were hoping for. But making the commitment binds you for a full soccer year (August - July) ... so it's worth it to make sure the situation is right for your player.

  • Ask to attend practices

Another way to get a feel for a team or club culture outside of tryouts is to ask to attend a practice. Most teams welcome players attending a practice because it gives them an opportunity to also evaluate the player in comparison to the players already on a team. This is also a way to see a Coach's training philosophy and if your child would fit well with the way the Coaches runs their practices.