skip navigation


Should my child play Competitive soccer or Recreational soccer?

Competitive soccer (also known as Club or Travel Soccer in some areas) is designed for the higher-skilled, more dedicated soccer player. There is a professional coach for every team and the teams are formed through try-outs. The costs and time commitments are higher, but so is the level of play and teams compete for a much longer part of the year. The competitive teams generally begin tournament play in the late May/early June, with the first league games in early September.  League season, which continues to Thanksgiving, is followed by post-season tournaments during the winter and State or National Cup after the new year.

In contrast, our recreational program is open to all skill levels, there are no try-outs and all children will play at least half the game. Recreational games are usually played in or near Encinitas with many of our divisions playing all their games within the city limits. The coaches are parents who have gone through a licensing workshop. Recreational teams play a 10 to 11-week season in the fall and may play in the Commissioner’s Cup tournament after the regular season ends. 

By what age should I consider competitive soccer? 

There is no specific age that is “best”, but early development of fundamentals tends to provide a stronger foundation for later excellence.  To be on par with the club’s structured Coerver development, entering competitive between ages 5 and 8 give the best opportunity for player development. Entering later and being successful is definitely possible, but typically with additional private coaching since other teammates will be more experienced in the club’s style of play.  

If my child is just starting out, how do I know if they are a good candidate for competitive?  

Have your child try out for an Express competitive team.  There is no better calibration than playing with peers and in front of our competitive coaches.  That said, tryouts are a short, intense process.  To know if your child should pursue higher level development for the long term, love of soccer is one of the best indicators.  Children that show a self-driven desire to learn and play soccer typically have the motivation to endure training and succeed over time.  If they like kicking a ball around, and have friends that like to play, they are likely a good candidate.  If your child is playing recreational soccer, talk to our coaching staff.  Either directly, or with feedback from the recreational coaches, they can certainly give you feedback on your child and give you advice on a development path.  


What is the time commitment for competitive? 

It is different for each age group and league level.  For players in elementary and middle school, the spring time frame is less structured with optional clinics, arena and futsal programs.  Once a week practices start up in mid-March and increase to twice a week in June.  For players in high school, twice a week practices begin right after tryouts and team formation in April and continue through the end of November.  Our elite "e3" teams practice three times a week.   Structured fitness training with our specialized Strength and Conditioning coaches is included in e3 practices.

Competitive teams play on average 3-5 tournaments per season.  Fall league games are played nearly every weekend September -November with some teams playing Saturdays and/or Sundays (SCDSL teams.) The higher the age and level of the team, the greater the time commitment.  Depending on league, the games are either in the greater San Diego area, or combination of San Diego and Orange County.  Most tournaments are in greater San Diego, Norco, or Lancaster.  

My child would like to tryout for an Express Competitive team. When are the tryouts? 

Tryouts for competitive teams start as early as mid-December for our youngest teams (2010-2011), and run again in January (2004-2009) and April (2000-2003).   Please visit our "Tryouts" page for the most current information. 

What if my child missed competitive tryouts? 

Contact the coach for the appropriately aged team.  If there are openings on the team, the coach can arrangements for your child to come out and play with the team to determine if it's a good fit.

If my child doesn't make a competitive team can he/she still play Recreational Soccer?

Absolutely.  You will need to fill out a registration form for the recreational league. These children are always placed on a recreational team.

How much does it cost to play on a competitive team?

Competitive team pricing varies by age group and play level. Your registration fees cover the cost of the professional coach, fields, league fees, clinics, one week of team camp, referee fees and club administrative costs.

Is financial assistance available?

Financial aid available on a limited per-team basis and must be requested at tryouts.  Please visit our Forms & Docs page to view, download, and/or print our Financial Aid Policy.

When is Picture Day?

Picture Day is always on a Sunday in September after league play commences.  Players will get their scheduled times and any other pertinent information from their coaches. The basic photo package is included in their registration fees. Additional photo items such as trading cards, mouse pads, etc. are available for purchase as well. Volunteers are needed to help with picture day.

Can I sponsor my child’s team or the club? 

Yes! If you are interested in sponsoring a specific player, team or the club in general, please contact Shanna Johnson at

How can I become a referee? 

Cal South offers training to become a certified soccer referee. All referees are paid and we need as many referees as possible. If you are interested in becoming a referee, please contact our Referee Coordinator, Rick Lochner, at  Or you can visit our "Referees" page for more information.