Parents FAQ

SSA and Competitive Soccer Frequently Asked Questions
What is Seasonal Competitive Soccer?   
How is SSA soccer different from recreational soccer? In recreational soccer, players are grouped on teams based on when they registered, where they live, and perhaps who else they know on the team. They should not be grouped intentionally by ability. Competitive soccer does try to intentionally create teams based primarily on the players effectiveness on the field. This is done so that players are challenged in training and games against players of similar ability.

Is SSA Select the same as Year Around Competitive soccer?
SSA soccer is at a competition and commitment level between Recreational and year around Competitive programs. This level of competition was called Select or Metro soccer in the past. The competition level varies from team to team. Individual SSA teams play in the most appropriate league and competition level. Many of our teams play in the same league with year around competitive teams, others play mostly with other seasonal competitive teams.

Because of the shorter season, many of our athletes successfully participate in other sports, both during the SSA soccer season, as well as the 6 month break from mid-December to June.

Like Rec. soccer, SSA programs are coached by volunteers. Most year around programs utilize paid coaches. Costs are lower as is time commitment for practices, games, tournament and travel.

What else should a player know about Competitive Soccer?

Competitive soccer is fun. This means players will make new friends who share their enthusiasm for soccer. They will work hard at improving their soccer skills in a learning environment with kids who want to work hard too. They will become better soccer players….and have fun doing it. While working hard, the kids come together as a team….and develop new friendships as they strive for common goals.

SSA teams play other like-minded, talented teams. Within the context of practices, games and tournaments, players experience great satisfaction and build self-confidence in their newly developed more skillful soccer play.

What is the SSA season?
9U – 14U The season is typically June through early December. Tryouts are held in January/February.

15U – 19U Tryouts are usually in May.  Season play can vary by team, so teams extending tournament play into the first quarter of the next year.

Practices begin in June/July. A few teams organize early to play indoor or in a Spring league or hold occasional informal scrimmages between March and June.

League games running from early September through late November. There are typically 10 regularly scheduled games.  Some may require travel to areas such as; Auburn, El Dorado Hills, Stockton, Woodland and Fairfield.

Tournaments start in July and end in early December. Teams usually participate in at least 3 tournaments. Tournaments involve several games in a single weekend.

How much does it does it cost to play for SSA? 

Approximately $400 – $600 per player for a season.   This includesregistration, uniforms, and tournament fees.                                            

SSA 2017 registration fees are $275 for 9U-14U players and $250 for players 15U and up.                                     

Players purchase 2 uniform kits at a cost of $116 – $192+  from our uniform supplier. The uniform usually lasts  2-3 seasons.                                                                                                        

Coaches choose tournaments for the team. Most are held within an hour drive of Sacramento.Some teams travel to one overnight tournament per year. This is a fun way to take a mini vacation, but will add to your travel budget. Tournament fees vary by team and are divided amongst the players, typically about $35 – 45 per player, per tournament.  These fees are paid directly to the Team’s Manager. 

That seems expensive.  Where does the money go? 
Some local competitive soccer organizations charged $1260 – $1700 just for registration in 2015.  Although this may include “Spring Ball” (6-8 games in the spring), the dollar gap per game is LARGE when compared to what parents and players see as ‘value’ when playing with SSA.   Our Board Members and Coaches are volunteers who are committed to preserving the quality of play and development of each player and SSA.  Thankfully, the support of volunteers allows all participants to enjoy savings and value with little to no compromise to player development.
The below chart shows SSA registration fees were spent in 2015.

SSA 2015 Fee Distribution

What about travel?
Depends on the team, age group and number of teams playing in that age bracket. Most league games are in the Sacramento and surrounding area, within a 30-45 minute drive. Very few are farther.

As for tournaments, the coach can register for events that are suitable to the team. Some teams only participate in tournaments that are close to Sacramento. Some coaches prefer to compete in one or more traveling tournaments that involve overnight travel. Many families look forward to these weekends as mini vacations.

The exception to this travel range is if your child plays on a VERY talented team, and that team is placed in the Silver, Silver-Elite or Gold division. These divisions are considered to be for Comp or Division 1 teams, but on occasion a Division 3 team competes in them. These Comp divisons may be made up of teams from different areas of Northern California.

What are practices like?
Practices are usually 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours each. Most teams practice 2x a week. Some teams may vary practice times and frequency. Soccer is a team sport that requires individual fitness and skills. It is very important that all players make all practices. We know many families schedule their vacations in July and August.  As long as you inform Team Coaches of the situation they usually have no issue.

Practices are held at local Land Park and Greenhaven fields. Our lit field is Conlin. Refer to the Fields tab of our web site for current field locations.

Will my child get playing time?
As with Recreational soccer, SSA players are required to play at least half of every regular season game. The SSA program is about player development. Players only develop by playing in every game.

Do kids have to live in the Land Park/Greenhaven area to play with SSA?
You do not need to live in LP or GH to play in SSA. We have MANY players from all over Sacramento. However you will practice in LP or GH.

What if my child plays other sports?
We understand that in the younger age brackets especially, your player may not be ready to exclusively commit to soccer. With that in mind, families and coaches have successfully juggled sports in the past.
Practices are held at local Land Park and Greenhaven fields. Our lit field is Conlin. Refer to the Fields tab of our web site for current field locations.

Who should try out for SSA Soccer?
Players who are enthusiastic about soccer and want to improve their skills are definitely encouraged to try out. You do not have to be a soccer star, .just have a passion for the game and a willingness to learn and grow.

Some indications are that the player:

  • has a high interest level in soccer and practices on his or her own or with friends outside of soccer practice
  • is one of the better players on their team and seems to want more than recreational level soccer
  • sees higher-level players and wants to be like them
  • is mature enough to commit to more frequent practices and more strenuous training
  • wants more of a challenge on the soccer field.
  • has passion for the game

Can a Rec. team move up to SSA?
Rec. teams can move their core players up to competitive soccer to start a team. In addition, SSA is builds teams through a tryout process to allow kids whose teams are not moving up a chance to play for SSA.  Interested Coaches should contact the SSA President and Director of Coaching: SSA Board Contacts