Our FAQ's have been organized into 3 distinct categories - Club, Recreational, and Competitive.
Scroll down the page to review the Q&A for all 3 categories.
ABOUT OUR CLUB
Our organization exists to provide opportunities for youth and adults to play soccer, and to teach children, teenagers and adults to play soccer with joy and with skill. Nothing our club does shall ever get in the way of the enjoyment of the sport.
We teach sportsmanship and its application to soccer. Knowledge of and adherence to the rules, fairness and the spirit of true sportive competition are at the heart of what we teach. Be it in the law of the game, the rules of sportsmanship, or excellence through teamwork, we always focus on becoming better at each of these.
Our primary goal of improving coaching, quality of play, and extending the season all require a great amount of human and financial resources. Registration fees cover a majority of financial requirements we have to operate the recreational soccer program, including insurance. We have expanded our volunteer program and have developed a list of new donors, allowing SVU to provide financial assistance to those in need and significantly reducing the out of pocket costs for eligible players and families.
The “Competitive Program” is soccer designed for ALL players who are interested in raising the level of their game. It is a program that offers skill development and game play for any player that wants to be more dedicated to developing their skills and knowledge of the game. The competitive program offers a greater number of opportunities to play soccer than the traditional recreational soccer program.
2-3 trainings a week and games on the weekends. There are some free weekends and some weekends with games on both Saturday and Sunday. There are typically 2-3 week long breaks during the summer and winter.
The primary difference between competitive soccer and recreational soccer is the time commitment required by the participants. While both programs follow best practices designed for optimal player development, the quality of the coaching and more intensive training schedule in the competitive program is more effective at reaching that goal. The seasonal nature of the recreational soccer program means that the emphasis is on fun and winning a trophy in the Valley Cup at the end of the season. Those involved in the year-round competitive program take a longer view - there are many opportunities for players to play in college or on high-level teams of many kinds, so the focus is on learning and developing the skills and knowledge required for players to be prepared for those next stage opportunities that most often appear during the teenage years.
There are a number of things that help to explain player development, each of which are equally important.
· Competition - There are many levels of competition for the Competitive program. Teams are initially placed at the level at which they will play against teams with a similar talent and ability level (in competitive soccer, teams are most often categorized into Premier, Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Copper levels). If a team improves, the club will subsequently raise the team’s level of competition. We aim to place teams at a level that will challenge the players, but not too much. The goal is to place teams at the level where they will see a 60-70% win rate. If a team wins all of their games, for example, it is clear that they are playing at too low of a level, and should be moved up. Players on teams winning too many games in the lower levels often get bored, and the lack of challenge can slow their development. On the other hand, teams losing most of their games are often moved down a level. Losing too many games often demoralizes players, doesn’t give players an opportunity to show their ability, and can cause frustration for players and parents. Players develop and improve when they face teams at or above their team’s level of play.
· Coaching - To develop players most effectively there must be high quality coaching. SVU feels that a professional coach is extremely important toward player development. Coaches who have played at high levels, who received quality coaching when they played, and who have invested time and money in educating themselves with coaching courses provide a better coaching experience for the players. This does not rule out having a parent coach a team, but the expectation for parent coaches is the same as for all coaches in the competitive program (we are very happy to have parents coaches involved in our organization). Our coaches work together as a team with a cohesive philosophy and methodology.
· Dedication - Players and families in the Competitive program will have to be dedicated to the development of their players. Growth takes time, and results do not come overnight. There will be good times and tough times, bot of which is good for player development. When a team plays in a level below their ability, there will be lots of wins and immediate rewards. When that team steps up a level, however, it may, at first, be difficult - the wins will not come easy. It is absolutely necessary, however, to have experience playing weaker, equally matched, and stronger teams in order to have a complete experience. Players and families in the competitive program have to be willing to weather the seasons (easy and tough), all the while handling the extra cost and travel required to participate. Teams that stay together provide more opportunities for players to move on to a higher level or get recruited by a college coach. If a team can do the work necessary to reach a higher level of play, the opportunities for those players also increases.
SVU hosts tryouts in the Spring to determine the appropriate teams on which to place players.
Each player will pay a Fall Registration fee, which for Fall 2023 it is $350 and for Spring 2024 it is $200, not including the cost of uniforms.
League games are played in the Sonoma, Marin and Napa county area. State Cup play can take us to Morgan Hill, Redding and Ripon. Weekend tournament play can bring us to a variety of places throughout Northern California, most within a 1-2 hour drive of Sonoma Valley.