Frequently Asked Questions about Competitive Soccer

  1. How much more of a commitment is competitive than recreational soccer?

It costs more money, there is more travel involved, and occasionally there are both Saturday and Sunday games. Teams depend on serious commitments from each player, and they are expected to attend all practices and games. But coaches understand that families take vacations, illnesses occur, and other family events sometimes take precedence. Commitment levels will depend on age and level of play for the specific team.

  1. When does the season stop and start?

The fall season is the same schedule as recreational soccer, with games running from after Labor Day at the beginning of September to the weekend before Thanksgiving in late November. Teams typically play 13 to 15 games during the fall season. Generally, teams practice two days per week throughout the year with about 6-8 weeks off, determined by the coach. Some teams may practice more than twice a week depending on the level and commitment of the team.

Teams will start training after tryouts depending on the age level of the team and State Cup schedule. For 2019, our younger teams may start training once a week by March and twice a week by April. Our high school-aged teams will start in late-spring, after the high school season and older State and National Cup tournaments have concluded. If you need to know timing for a particular team, please contact our Executive Director. Teams often elect to play tournaments before and after the fall season. Many teams opt to play arena soccer at the Ecke YMCA in Encinitas or futsal during the off-season. This comes at an extra cost.

  1. What is included in the registration fee?

All teams receive professionally coached team training sessions, clinics and team camps, games with sanctioned referees, and high-quality uniforms including home and away jerseys, shorts, socks, and a practice jersey. The fee also covers general league expenses such as insurance, field upkeep, and registration with both CalSouth and the Presidio Soccer Leagues.

Our coaches are all licensed and have at least an “E” license. In addition, several have played soccer at college, semi-professional, or professional levels. Kraig Chiles, our Executive Director, supervises Cardiff’s competitive teams.

Club backpacks, sweats, jackets and other gear are available at an extra cost.

  1. Does the player have to live in Cardiff?

No. We welcome interested players from all communities.

  1. How far is the travel?

Practices generally are at fields located in the vicinity of Cardiff.  Away games are held under a 50-mile radius from Cardiff, and half the games are at home.

  1. Where do teams practice?

Teams practice on several local Cardiff fields including Encinitas Community Park, Berkich Park, Cardiff Sports Park and Ada Harris. Our Field Coordinator works with teams throughout the year to schedule practices.

  1. In what leagues do teams play?

2019-20 teams played in the Presidio league and San Diego Development Academy (SDDA).  Seeding occurs early spring. Our DOC works with the coaches to seed the teams appropriately to support development for all teams and players.

  1. Does each member of a team have an equal amount of playing time?

No. While recreational soccer strives to make sure everyone plays half the time, competitive aims to have the strongest players on the field. That said, coaches only invite players to join a team who make it stronger, and they will make every effort to play everyone in each game unless there are injury or discipline issues.

  1. What if a player is injured or quits?

Cardiff Soccer will refund up to half the registration fee before August 15, and then refunds will not be granted except in extraordinary circumstances.

  1. How will I learn whether my child makes the team and what happens next?

A coach will phone each player who attends tryouts within one week. If your child is offered a slot, you will be emailed club paperwork to complete and you must complete online registration and attend a registration night to order uniform and complete paperwork. For players who do not make the competitive team, we strongly encourage them to join our recreational program, which begins registration in April.

  1. If my child makes the team, I’d like to help. What do teams need?

Each team needs a manager to handle the finances and scheduling. The Cardiff Soccer League also is a volunteer, nonprofit organization, and we can always use extra hands on deck.

  1. Can my child “play up”, or play on a team that is older?

Cardiff Soccer looks at each individual case and makes a decision that is best for the player’s development and safety. Players wishing to play up will also be required to try out for their birth year age group and request to play up. Playing up will be determined based on skills and maturity.

  1. What is meant by “Birth Year” age group?

For the 2019-20 season, US Youth Soccer and, in turn, Cal South and Cardiff Mustangs Soccer will use a calendar year registration, meaning teams will be formed based on birth year. US Youth Soccer, Cal South and Cardiff Mustangs Soccer have also adopted a ‘Small-Sided Game Initiative’ providing for fewer players on the pitch, and smaller fields and goals. If you have questions about birth year registration or the Small-Sided Game initiative, your coach will provide you with more details.

  1. I have more questions. How can I get more information?

Please contact our Executive Director at