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Recreational vs. Competitive Soccer

Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club (SASC) offers both recreational and competitive soccer programs, which are intended to provide a variety of levels for youth soccer players. Competitive soccer offers multiple levels or "divisions" intended to provide a progressive ladder for players as they develop their skills. Recreational soccer is intended to serve as an introductory level and consists of a single level of play.

Recreational Program

The purpose of recreational youth soccer in SASC is the development of the soccer playing ability of the child. Safety, fun, excitement, and player skill development are the primary focus of the program. Regardless of the ability of a child, everyone deserves an equal chance to play and to learn in a safe, positive, and supportive environment.

The SASC recreational program is an in-house league comprised of teams that are formed by the league. These teams are all coached by parent volunteers. All U6 thru U12 recreational program games are played on fields within the City of Sunnyvale. Most U14 thru U16 recreational program games are played on fields within the city, but traveling games can be arranged from time to time.

Children with little or no soccer experience, should play in the recreational program. This will allow them to develop their soccer skills in preparation for advancement to competitive level play.

SASC offers both Spring and Fall leagues. Registration for these seasons typically closes in February (for Spring soccer) and July (for Fall soccer) respectively, so be sure to register early.

Competitive Program

The SASC Competitive Program has three aims:
  • To provide an environment in which each player can develop to best of his or her abilities. To that end, we use paid coaches to develop, identify, and promote players so they are consistently playing with and against others that provide the player with challenging experiences
  • We believe kids develop at different times and that their friendship in soccer can be nurtured by maintaining a community that trains, bonds, and plays together, even though they are developing at different rates. Parents play the key role in helping age groups support these friendships and connections.
  • Competitive level soccer requires a greater commitment level from both players and parents. Once a player is added to a team, they are expected to attend team events (including practices, special training sessions, games and tournaments) on a regular basis.

Professional trainers are typically used to develop advanced soccer skills. These trainers can also serve as head coach for many competitive level teams. Professional trainers (or professional coaches) are paid for their services, which require a greater financial commitment from parents as well.

Existing competitive level teams may have openings for new players from time to time, so be sure to check the Team Tryouts page for more information. Whole new teams are also formed from time to time through "Age Group Tryouts", which are sanctioned by the club. These typically happen in the Oct/Nov and May/Jun time frame. Please check the Team Tryouts page for updates.

If you have questions regarding SASC's competitive level program, please contact the Competitive Director or Director of Coaching.

Understanding the Competitive Landscape

The competitive landscape includes a number of competing leagues and organizations that have each been sanctioned by USSF to help achieve different goals. The two organizations that serve to the youngest age group are NorCal and CalNorth. NorCal is a US Soccer organization that has come out with more flexibility to help clubs prioritize the development of players over building strong teams. CalNorth has been team-centric, but is not adapting to compete with NorCal.
To understand competitive soccer and how SASC fits within the California Youth Soccer Association-North (CYSA-N) landscape, first you should understand the organization of the association and how our club fits into it. SASC (our club) is part of the Foothill Youth Soccer League (FYSL), which also includes Mountain View-Los Altos Soccer Club (MVLA).

CYSA-North is composed of approximately 130 affiliated soccer "leagues" geographically, and FYSL is our geographic league. A further grouping of the CYSA-N soccer leagues called "districts" serves as another administrative and geographic organization of the member leagues. These districts administer local rules and most importantly, organize the local Fall and Spring playing leagues the competitive teams participate in. CYSA-N has 9 districts and we are located in District II which is composed of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. Competitive Fall soccer is composed of the several playing levels (Premier, Gold, Silver Elite, Silver, etc).

CYSA-North is likewise a "state"-level region (state "63" as many states are divided into more than one "state" region) of the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) in Region IV (West) which is under the national US Soccer Federation which likewise runs the national men's and women's teams, referee licensing, MLS and other youth and adult club soccer in the United States.

SASC is now a member of the newly formed California Soccer League (CCSL), which is statewide league sanctioned by CYSA. CCSL was formed to provide more parity in game scheduling for competitive level teams. The league is open to all Division 1 (commonly referred to as "Class 1") and Division 3 (commonly referred to as "Class 3") soccer teams aged U9 - U19. The intent is to place teams within a challenging yet competitive division and this balance is vitally important to the integrity of the league. Fall, spring and winter leagues are available to accommodate the changing needs of the Northern California soccer community. Starting with the U10 age group, the relegation/promotion of teams will begin, and playing league standings will be kept.

Division (Class) 1 is considered to be among the top level of play in California Youth Soccer Association - North, CYSA-N for players U10-U19. Typical Division II teams typically play year round, with a considerable amount of tournament participation and travel outside the CYSA-District 2 Fall and Spring leagues. In many cases the teams have professional coaches or trainers. Most teams participate in the end of Fall District Cup, State Cup, as well as tournaments around the state and even country.

Premier teams are considered Division 1 teams, but are approved for play in the highest level CYSA-North playing league, the State Premier League starting at U15. CCSL State Level teams have the opportunity to earn the right to represent CYSA North in the Annual California Premier League State Championships. Twelve of the finest teams the CCSL State division has to offer and will be headed for a showdown with the Premier League Champions from Cal South to discover which teams are clearly "the Best of the Best."

CCSL has strict rules on promotion and demotion for Division 1 play.

Division (Class) 3 is the level between recreational play Division 4 and Division 1 for ages U9-U19. Most Division 3 teams play in the fall, and spring leagues. Most division 3 teams also participate in the District Cup tournament at the conclusion of the season, and many in area tournaments as well as the annual statewide Association Cup.

CYSA-North does not have a Division 2.

District II. Spring League mixes Division (Class) 1 and 3 teams, simply ordering them into league divisions by strength of team based on previous records. Upper league divisions will be composed mostly or entirely of Division 1 teams, some middle division will be mix of Division 1 and 3 teams, and lower divisions will be composed entirely of Division 3 teams. SASC recreational soccer teams (either in-house or play-through) are Division 4 level soccer within CYSA-North.

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