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 playing time in games, regardless of skill. All recreational players micro – U18, are welcome to participate in our league “Free Friday” clinics during the season. Offered once a month by our professional coaching staff, Friday clinics are a great way for kids to get extra touches on the ball and play with friends outside their recreational team.  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 over the summer.  (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 once per week.  U10 teams and above will practice 2 times per week.   Micro-U18 teams will typically have one game on Saturday, unless they have a bye.

What are the age brackets?

Our Micro soccer program is primarily for 5 – 6 year olds (kindergartners and less experienced 1st graders). 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 division refers to the player’s age based on birth and school age years.
Please contact our Recreational Coordinator at for any questions regarding age brackets.

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. Coaching is a great way to give back to your community and control your schedule at the same time. All coaches receive training and certification by the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA). The current training consists of on-line education and our own field clinics. Coaches also undergo background checks and are up-to-date on concussion protocols. Please consider volunteering to coach your child’s team. You won’t regret it. 

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

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 our Sponsorship Coordinator, at

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, Emily Bumps, at