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 recreational level offers a broad spectrum of competition and years of development opportunities for their child.  But for those ready: 

SFYS recommends: Factors to consider when looking at a soccer club.

Cost: Club soccer in San Francisco can routinely cost over $2,000 per year, per child, with some being considerably more or less. You will need to contact prospective clubs for prices / financial aid. However, here are some questions to ask RE cost:

- Is financial aid available and what are the qualifications/requirements?

- Registration fee to the league of play

- Uniforms/gear, such as bags, training kit, etc.

- Tournaments

- Additional leagues, such as summer / winter / futsal

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 is 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 coaches 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 / Supplemental Training: most clubs do offer specialized keeper training or supplemental training, such as SAQ, so you should feel comfortable to ask "what else are you offering my child?"

Important to note: 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. 

My tips on finding the right club – Jimmy Obleda of Fullerton Rangers (CalSouth)