Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Soccer

What are the main differences between the recreational and competitive programs? 

Unlike recreational soccer, competitive teams hold tryouts, which select the most skilled and dedicated players. The competitive program costs more money, requires more time for practices and tournaments, has more extensive travel, and occasionally there are both Saturday and Sunday games. Competitive teams begin practicing in the spring (or earlier in some cases) and will play in tournaments or other events before and after the fall season. Coaches decide how much time each player receives during a game, and stronger, more dedicated players have more time on the pitch The additional cost of the competitive program covers the cost of professional coaching, the additional practices, and higher quality uniforms.

The recreational program is mainly coached by parent volunteers and provides an opportunity for all players to learn and enjoy the beautiful game of soccer in a fun, stress-free environment with friends. Players receive roughly equal amounts of time in games, regardless of skill. Throughout the season, our professional coaching staff offers clinics for recreational players and this year, we will also provide every other week  (6) professional coaching sessions for each age group U8 and above.  All players micro-U18, are welcome to participate in league clinics offered every three weeks from our professional coaches.  At the end of the season, teams may elect to play in tournaments for recreational players only, and we also hold tryouts to form all-star teams.

The bottom line: Competitive soccer is more intense.

When do I register?

Registration for recreational soccer runs from April 15 to June 15 for the fall season.  You must register during this window to secure a spot on a team.  If there is room on teams, it is possible to register after this period.  In these cases, there will be a late fee.  Friend and coach requests will not be accepted after the registration deadline. Teams are formed in mid-July.  (Competitive teams typically hold tryouts in January and February. Please check the tryouts section for more information).

When is the season?

Games run from after Labor Day at the beginning of September to the weekend before Thanksgiving in late November. Recreational teams typically play 11 games during the season.  They will play against teams from Cardiff Soccer as well as neighboring recreational clubs from Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas. (Competitive teams play 13 to 15 games during the same fall season.)

Practices will start towards the end of August.  Micro teams will practice once per week with their team and coach.  U8 teams will practice 1-2 times per week.  One practice per week will be with their team and coach and every other week they will have an age group practice with a professional coach.  U10 teams and above will practice 2 times per week.  They will have two practices per week with their team and coach, and every other week they will have an age group practice with a professional coach.  Micro-U18 teams will typically have one game on Saturday, unless they have a bye.

What are the age brackets?

As of the 2016 season, U.S. Soccer has changed the age cutoff to calendar year to determine age and eligibility (players born January 1-December 31 in a particular year will play within that age group).  Our Micro bracket is the only bracket that we allow players to play up or down at our discretion. As part of the birth year/age group changes, U.S. Soccer has implemented player development initiatives to help better develop the players to the best of their abilities.  Some of the Player Development Initiatives include: change in format (less players on the field for certain age groups), smaller field size, smaller goal size, smaller ball size, as well as some rules changes to some age groups. The goal of the initiatives is give the players more touches on the ball, and to make the game easier and more fun to play.  We know this is a confusing year, and we are here to help guide you through the changes.  Please contact us at recreational@cardiffsoccer.org if you have any questions.

Our Micro soccer program is primarily for 5 year olds (kindergarteners), but we will allow highly motivated 4 year old players and less experienced, younger 6 year old players to join.  After Micro, boys and girls are separated and teams are divided by two-year brackets designated as Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, etc. The bracket refers to the player’s age based on a calendar year, January 1- December 31.  You cannot play in a younger age bracket unless there is a medical reason. Players may play up an age bracket based on parent, coach and board discretion.  Please see the chart below to see which age bracket your child should play.

Please contact our Recreational Coordinator at recreational@cardiffsoccer.org to request to play in a different age bracket.

Bracket Birth Year Format (players on the field)
Micro 2011-2012 (*primarily kindergartners) 3 v 3
Under 8 2010-2011 7 v 7
Under 10 2008-2009 7 v 7
Under 12 2006-2007 9 v 9
Under 14 2004-2005 11 v 11
Under 16 2002-2003 11 v 11
Under 18 1999-2001 11 v 11

How much does it cost?

Micro soccer costs $100. All other age brackets are $155.  We offer a $10 discount for each additional sibling. Registrations received after June 15 must pay a $25 late fee.

Are refunds or scholarships available?

Partial refund may be given on case-by-case basis. Yes scholarships are available

What equipment does my child need?

Cardiff Soccer provides a uniform, which includes shorts, jerseys and socks

Players need to provide their own cleats, shin guards, and an appropriate sized ball (micro uses size 3, U8, U10, and U12 size 4, and U14 and above size 5).  Players should also bring water to practices and games.

How are teams formed?  Can I request a coach or a friend of my child’s?

Teams are created by the Recreational Coordinator and Coaching Coordinator.  Although we try to honor player and coach requests received before June 15, we also strive for parity among the teams to maximize the enjoyment for all players involved.

How can I coach or referee the games?  Are there other ways to be involved?

We rely on volunteer parent coaches for our recreational program. You need to be certified by CalSouth and go through a risk assessment. We will help with both. Please contact Chris Perry at vp@cardiffsoccer.org.

Cardiff Soccer needs local referees. The payment varies depending on the age group of the teams playing, ranging from $25-$50 per game. If interested, please contact info@cardiffsoccer.org or refsbythesea@gmail.com

Can I sponsor a team?

Absolutely! We put team sponsor names on the backs of jerseys and also provide an ad for your business on our website. If you are interested in sponsoring a team, please contact Sarah Prentice, our Sponsorship Coordinator, at sponsorships@cardiffsoccer.org.

Where and when are practices?  Where are games?

Recreational soccer practices are held once or twice a week on local Cardiff fields.  Coaches determine practice times and locations based on their schedules and field availability. Games are once a week on Saturdays.  Home games are generally played in Cardiff and away games are played in Solana Beach,  Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas.

What if I still have more questions?

Please contact Recreational Coordinator, Ashley Luoto, at recreational@cardiffsoccer.org.