Club Soccer vs. Competitive Soccer

San Francisco is a soccer town, and there are many options for youth in our City. But while choices can be exciting, they can also be overwhelming. When considering a change in your child’s soccer experience, make sure you understand the difference between playing club soccer vs. competitive soccer.

Club Soccer

Club soccer is offered by an organization of multiple teams, coaches and administrators with a unified coaching or playing philosophy. Club soccer provides resources that are typically unavailable to independent squads. These are things such as specialist coaching, player movement opportunities, and a community of families with shared experiences. Most clubs charge fees to belong to the club before team/registration fees are assessed. Bigger clubs also have teams across multiple ages and levels of competition (from rec to gold/travel). Making a club team is rarely an issue since there is a fit for a player at any level.

Competitive Soccer

Competitive soccer occurs when a specific team plays at a competitive level. Whether the team is part of a large club or is an independent, school-based team, playing in a competitive bracket  is not determined by ability to pay a club fee but rather strong soccer skills.

Questions to Ask

When you are considering moving your player from one team to another, ask yourself these questions first. Knowing what you are signing up for will help make that change a positive step forward in your child’s soccer journey.

  • What am I willing to pay for my child to play soccer?
  • What am I getting in return for those fees? How many coaches? What additional training?
  • What competitive level will my child be playing at? Is this a step up or down from where he/she was playing before?
  • What movement opportunities are there for my child if the level of competition doesn’t seem like the right fit?
  • What are the shared goals my child and I have for his/her soccer experience?
  • Where am I going to find the right fit?


Best of Both Worlds: SF City 

The SF City FC Youth Academy offers the best of both worlds: club exposure and community with a competitive level of play…and grassroots, lower cost benefits of a small organization. Academy teams enjoy dedicated coach(s) to each squad. The experienced staff combined with access to the Men’s Premier Team provide opportunity to develop the individual player, the team as a unit, and grow in a dynamic soccer environment at heart of San Francisco.