Stanford Soccer Club | Faqs


What is the difference between club and recreational soccer?

In contrast to most recreational soccer programs, club soccer teams usually have professional coaching, require higher training commitment, and travel to other towns for games (hence the term “traveling teams”). Most coaches have USSF certification and have played at an advanced level. Coaching fees usually make club soccer fees higher than recreational soccer fees. Club players may remain on the same team for many years, though this varies between clubs; the Stanford Soccer Club allows each team to determine its own player selection policy.

What is the time commitment required in club soccer?

Club soccer teams play in both spring and fall seasons. The fall season is the “serious” season, and players are expected to make soccer their primary extracurricular activity. The fall season usually begins with practices in August, and weekend games are scheduled between the first week in September and mid-November for most seasons. The season for high school age teams will typically end earlier to comply with high school athletic eligibility requirements.

Tournaments can be a big part of club soccer play in the fall, though each team decides how many and which tournaments to attend. There is no requirement that teams play in tournaments, but they are lots of fun for the players and involve at least three games (four if the team makes it to the “medal” round). There are tournaments to choose from throughout the fall season. Some tournaments are within an hour’s drive; others are in places requiring overnight hotel stays. Lower level teams will typically play in one or two tournaments in the fall, and higher level teams may play in three or more.

Spring soccer is viewed as a more informal season, though there are regular games and practices. Games are played every weekend beginning mid-March to April and continuing through the first weekend in June. During the spring season, most teams are more flexible about conflicts since some players are also playing other sports or involved in other activities.

How often do teams practice?

Most Stanford Soccer Club teams hold two or three practices per week. Practices are 1-2 hours long, depending on the age group and competitive level of the team. Some teams may supplement their regular practice schedule with additional skills-oriented practice sessions.

When are the games played? How much traveling is required?

Stanford Soccer Club games are on Saturdays and Sundays, with half of the games in a season held in Palo Alto and half at opponents’ home fields. Most away games for lower level teams are in nearby towns less than a 30-minute drive away. Higher level teams may travel farther for some away games.

There are eight to ten games in a typical season. On some weekends, a team may play games on both days, but usually only one game is scheduled. The exception to this is tournaments, when teams play three or four games in a weekend.

What is “CYSA”? And what are “Cal North” and “NorCal”?

CYSA is the California Youth Soccer Association which is a long time competitive youth soccer organization in California. For many years, the two main youth soccer organizations in California were AYSO, which runs recreational soccer programs, and CYSA. “CYSA” has also become a popular term for referring to competitive club soccer in northern California: many refer to recreational teams as “AY teams” and competitive club teams as “CY teams” (competitive club soccer teams are also often referred to as “traveling teams”). A few years ago, CYSA adopted a second name, “Cal North”; that organization can be referred to by either name. You may have also heard the term “CCSL”. That stands for “Cal North - Cal Soccer League”--the name of the actual league that Cal North-registered teams play in.

NorCal is the Northern California affiliate of US Club Soccer. It has become a popular competitive choice for many teams in northern California. Norcal began with the Norcal Premier League and then expanded to include a more competitive subdivison called "NPL".

Although their names are similar (which is confusing to many), Cal North and NorCal are separate organizations with different registration requirements and procedures.  But in practice, the two have similar competitive environments, and local club teams have had positive experiences in both. Stanford Soccer Club teams participate in Cal North and NorCal.


What do the terms Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc. mean?

Stanford Soccer Club teams compete in Cal North and NorCal in the Copper, Bronze, Silver, and Gold divisions, which provide progressively more competitive levels of play (NorCal’s lowest level is Bronze and does not have a Copper classification).

New teams forming in the younger age groups at the club usually play their first seasons in their age group’s Copper division and then move up to higher levels when warranted: teams typically move up to the next highest division when they have finished a season in first place in their current division.

On the website, teams aged U11 and higher are assigned Copper, Bronze, Silver, or Gold rankings, with some teams receiving even higher rankings, such as Platinum or Premier. assigns these rankings to teams based on a point system that considers the number of wins and draws a team has and the strength of its competitors in those matches.  A team’s ranking may differ from the division it is playing in.  For example, although a team is competing in a Bronze division, it may be ranked Silver or Gold in