Competitive Program & Tryout FAQ

1. Who should try out for competitive soccer?

Competitive soccer is for focused, highly motivated, dedicated players, who want to experience the enjoyment and developmental benefits that come from 

  • a) professional coaching and an an age- and ability appropriate developmental curriculum

  • b) a high volume of soccer, and

  • c) training and competing with and against other focused, motivated, ability appropriate soccer players. 

Competitive players train regularly to develop soccer skills and training habits that will enable them to acquire a sense of mastery and competence (with a focus on long-term rather than short-term development), and to compete successfully in inter-club competitions. Teamwork, sportsmanship, life skills, and character development are cornerstones of MVSC’s Competitive Program.

2. Can players who do not live in Mill Valley play on MVSC competitive teams?

Yes. MVSC’s Competitive Program has a longstanding policy of open boundaries. With open boundaries, MVSC’s Competitive player pool has typically been comprised of 65-80% "in-area" players. The inclusion of out-of-area players has improved our competitive club by helping MVSC form teams comprised of ability-appropriate players, each of whom can regularly experience success, and benefit from and contribute to the developmental opportunities of our competitive teams and program.

3. Who will coach the competitive teams?

Experienced, professional coaches will coach all of our competitive teams. A list of the MVSC coaches, teams and their emails can be found on the MVSC Competitive Coaches page.  This list is updated as new teams form each spring. 

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4. What is the commitment level that’s expected to play competitive soccer?

Playing on a competitive soccer team requires a high level of commitment from players and their families. U9 and older players are expected to participate in a two week intensive training program that starts on August 5, 2019.  U8 Competitive Teams will have only one week of intensive training, beginning on August 12.  Preseason training typically runs 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Attendance at preseason training is a critical component of launching a successful season.  Players benefit from intensive training in the technical, tactical, mental, and physical components of the game.  In addition, preseason training provides an invaluable opportunity for teammates to bond with one another and their coach.

Players are expected to attend all practices and games during the season. The length of the season will vary, depending upon age groups and the level of a team. U8-10 and U14-19 teams typically finish their seasons in mid- to late November or early December. U11-U13 "Silver" and "Bronze" level teams typically finish their seasons in December. U11-U13 "Premier" and "Gold" level teams will finish their seasons in December or in late January/early February.  Each team's level of play will be determined by MVSC's DOC and Professional Coaching Staff, based on an assessment of the player pool after team formation.

Additionally, families of players accepting roster spots are expected to volunteer for a team job. All families are expected to volunteer in some capacity on their respective teams in order for their children to play.

5. How much does it cost to play competitive soccer? 

Families are expected to pay for costs associated with playing competitive soccer. These include registration fees, tournament, fees, coaching, travel, fields, uniforms, equipment, etc. Families pay a club registration fee of approximately $450, in addition to team fees of approximately $1,100 to $2,200 (which vary by the team's roster size, length of season, Coach rate, etc.).  An estimated cost chart can be found on the Competitive Home Page.  Families are expected to share the costs equally on their respective teams.*

*Some need-based scholarship assistance will be available.

6. How do players sign up for tryouts?

Online pre-registration for tryouts will be available on the MVSC website starting in April.  MVSC strongly recommends pre-registering, as it will facilitate your check-in process at tryouts, and streamline team registration. You will be able to pre-register up until early May.   You can register for tryouts through our REGISTER HERE link found on most pages.

Registration forms are also available at the fields at tryouts.   Parents and guardians of ALL players who did not pre-register must attend tryouts to complete these forms, which include a medical waiver.  The forms need to be completed before a child will be allowed to try out.

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7. What should players bring to tryouts?

Players should arrive 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to sign in. This will allow time for players who fail to pre-register to complete the required form on site – a form that includes a medical release that must be signed by a parent or guardian before a player will be allowed to participate in tryouts. (If you pre-registered, you will not need to bring paperwork to tryouts.)

Players should wear cleats and shin guards, and bring a water bottle. Please DO NOT wear club uniforms or any other clothing indicating a club or team affiliation.

Parents and guardians do not need to be present at tryouts.  Those who wish to stay and watch are welcome to do so, but they will be asked to remain in the bleachers and they will not be permitted on the playing field during tryouts. The parents assisting with tryouts are not participating in the player selection process, and are only there to process players through check-in and to help with other administrative and logistical needs.

8. What age group should players try out for?

Players should check the tryout schedule, which will be posted at a later date on the website. It will include US Soccer guidelines for Calendar Year age cut-offs, and the appropriate age group for any birth year. MVSC encourages players to tryout for teams that are age appropriate (please see below for play-up guidelines).

*NOTE: MVSC plans on hosting U8 through U17 Boys and U8 through U19 Girls teams. Tryout details for all teams will be posted on our website.

9. How do players know which level team to try out for?

Most age groups will have an “A” team and a “B” team. Some age groups will also have a "C" team and some may have a "D" team. Tryouts for all team levels will be held at the same field at the same time.  During the tryout process, the coaches' main job will be to determine where players will be most appropriately placed (i.e., where they will most likely have the best opportunity to develop and experience success). Coaches will often move players around in various combinations over the course of the tryouts. The ultimate decision about each player's placement will be left up to the coaches and the Director of Coaching and Player Development.

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10. Can a player play with a team that is older than his or her age group?

In most cases, MVSC only permits play-ups on “A” teams. Usually, play-ups are not permitted on “B” teams. These decisions are typically based upon a player’s demonstrated ability to contribute as a “top five” player on the older ‘A’ team. There may, however, be some exceptions to this guideline. All play-up decisions will be made at tryouts by MVSC’s Director of Coaching and Player Development and the professional coaching staff.

11. How many players will be selected for each team?

There will typically be about 10-14 players on a roster for teams in the U8-U12 age groups (U8 teams play 4 v 4, dual field; U9-U10 teams play 7 v 7; and U11-U12 teams play 9 v 9), while there will be approximately 15-18 players on rosters at U13 and above (these teams play 11 v 11).

12. How many tryouts does a player need to go to?

The more tryouts that players can attend, the greater the opportunity they have to exhibit their skills. Players are encouraged to attend all of the tryouts in their respective age groups, and MUST attend at least one of the tryouts in order to be considered for placement on a team.

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13. What if a player is sick or injured during tryouts?

If a player is sick or injured during tryouts, please contact the appropriate coach and Director of Coaching in advance to let him/her know, and the Coach will advise you on how to proceed. A list of the MVSC coaches can be found on our MVSC Competitive Coaches page. This list is updated prior to tryouts each spring. 

14. What if it is raining the day of tryouts?

Tryouts are typically held on all-weather fields, so tryouts will take place rain or shine. However, if there are torrential rains, high wind or unusually stormy conditions, we may need to cancel/reschedule a tryout.  In the event of rainfall before or during tryouts held on these fields, please check www.mvsc.org for an update on possible cancelation/rescheduling.  If any tryout is canceled due to weather, we may host a make-up tryout.  This information will be posted at www.mvsc.org.

15. What is the process and timeline in which players will find out if they have made a competitive team?

MVSC will do what it can to expedite the notification process, but it does take time. 

At the completion of the tryout process, all players who earn competitive team roster spots will be selected to player pools for their age group, rather than teams (there may be exceptions to this if MVSC forms only one team in a certain age group).  Because of the high volume of players who typically attend tryouts (800+), MVSC uses a variety of mediums to notify families.  These include:

  • Names of players receiving invitations to pools will be posted on MVSC's website. 

  • All families of players invited to accept competitive roster spots will also receive an email invitation within 24 hours of the time the lists are posted.

  • Player pool invitations will not be communicated directly by our Coaches by e-mail or by phone.  Invited players' names will be posted to the the website, and they will receive a notification e-mail from MVSC.

  • Instructions for next steps on how to accept or decline an invitation will be posted on our website, and included in the email invitation.  

  • Players accepting invitations will be expected to indicate their acceptance by the deadlines posted on our website.  Players who accept invitations will be required to register for our Competitive Program and to pay a registration and initial team fee at the time of their acceptance. 

Player pools (e.g., U10 Girls) will have two weeks of optional training with their group in late May-early June.  MVSC's Coaching Staff will assign all players onto teams at the end of this two-week training period (early June).  Players will not be allowed to practice until they have registered online.  

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16. Will MVSC notify players who are not invited to play on an MVSC Competitive team?

MVSC will not contact players who are not invited to join teams.  Nor will these players’ names be posted on the club’s website.   Players not offered spots on a competitive team will be provided an opportunity to contact the Coaching Staff via e-mail if they are interested in obtaining feedback on the selection decision.  Coaches’ names and contact information will be posted on the club’s website within 72 hours from the time the pools are posted.

17. When will I know which team my son or daughter is on?

MVSC has a player placement model that strives to find the best training and playing fit for every player.  We recognize that players develop at different rates, and the three months between tryouts and our teams’ first games can bring significant changes in a player’s soccer ability, physical growth, commitment and/or desire.  We also recognize, from years of experience, that an inappropriate team assignment can lead to an unsatisfactory season for the player.  

As such, MVSC has a policy of continued player assessment after tryouts.  As noted above, our professional coaches will select pools of players at tryouts.  Players in the pool will train together until a specified time in early June, at which time our Team Coaches will place every player in the pool on one of our competitive teams.  Initial team placement shall take place by no later than June 10, 2019.   Our Team Coaches will continue to assess the team placement of players up until the end of August, to identify and possibly reassign those players that would be better served on a different team during the course of the season.  

18. What if my child cannot attend a portion of the mandatory team training in August?

 August preseason training sets the tone for the start of the season.  The high intensity training provides the players with much-needed technical, tactical, and physical training, and they are an invaluable opportunity for the players to bond and become teammates.  The 30 hours the players spend together at their two weeks of preseason training is equivalent in volume to more than two months of regular team practice.  Missing a part of preseason training is not a dealbreaker for making a competitive team.  However, by missing training, players negatively impact not only themselves but also the team.  Players who miss any portion of preseason training (for reasons other than illness or injury) should expect to receive a significant reduction in playing time in early season games.  As a guideline, players who miss preseason training may expect to play a maximum of one third of a game for every day missed (e.g., a player who misses three days of preseason training may expect to play no more than one third of a game in the first three games he or she attends).   In some cases, players who miss preseason training may not be invited to play in a team’s initial tournament.

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19. What happens if a player doesn’t make a team? Can a player get feedback on how to improve his/her chances for next year?

MVSC Coaches will not contact players who do not make teams. Players and parents can learn that their child did not make a team by checking the rosters which will be posted to the website during the week after tryouts (if a player’s name is not listed on a roster, then he or she did not make a competitive team). MVSC encourages players who don’t make teams and who want constructive feedback to contact the coaches via e-mail. Tryout Coaches’ e-mail addresses will be provided on our website within 72 from the time the player pools are posted. Our Coaches will provide feedback to any parent or player who requests it via e-mail within 72 hours.

20. If a player does not make a competitive team, can he or she still play recreational soccer?

Yes.  One of the MVSC’s goals is to provide developmentally appropriate soccer opportunities to all soccer players.  Some U8-U12 players will receive invitations to participate in MVSC's Fall Development Academy.  Please see the Development Program page on our website for further information. Players who don’t make competitive teams or Development Academy teams can still sign up for recreational soccer without paying any late fees as long as they sign up by June 1.  In addition, MVSC offers player development camps and clinics throughout the year (please visit the Clinics and Other Programs page).  

21. What is the MVSC Individual Development Player Program?

Development Players are players added to a team’s practice squad who have the ability and passion to benefit from and contribute to a competitive team’s practices. Development Players will have the opportunity to participate in a competitive team’s practices and boot camps.  Development Players should not expect to participate in the competitive team’s games or tournaments, but may be asked to participate in a specific game if the team has a shortage of players for that game.

The decision to offer Development Player invitation is a joint decision between the MVSC Director of Coaching, and the coach of the ability-appropriate team on which the Development Player would be placed.

Fees for Development Players include league registration which goes to MVSC, and a fee for practices and camps which goes entirely towards the team budget. Development Players who are on an MVSC recreational soccer team are expected to practice with their recreational team at least once per week, and to make their recreational games on the weekend a priority over opportunities to play with their competitive team.

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22. Does MVSC allow Guest Players on competitive teams?

Yes. Guest Players can be added to a competitive team for a specific game or tournament when the team has a shortage of players. Guest Players may come from another competitive team in the same age group, a team from one year down, an age-appropriate player who is playing up or Development Players.

Guest Players should expect to play at least one third of a game during games in which they have been invited to participate. The decision to add a Guest Player will be made jointly between the DOC and the team coach, who will notify the team manager immediately. 

23. Does MVSC allow permanent roster additions to competitive teams?

Yes. Permanent Roster Additions can be added to a team which has a shortage of active players due to injury, withdrawals, or other factors. Permanent Roster Additions practice with the team and play in games.  Permanent Roster additions must be registered with MVSC, and pay appropriate team fees. Development players who are offered a Permanent spot must pay appropriate incremental team fees to cover costs.

The decision to make a Permanent Roster Addition is a joint decision between the DOC and the coach of the team on which the Player would be placed. In general, Permanent Roster Additions typically will only be considered when a team’s roster size is as follows: U9-10 team with fewer than 12 active players; U11-12 team with fewer than 14 active players; or U13-19 team with fewer than 18 active players.

A player who is registered on an MVSC recreational team, but is being considered as a permanent roster addition to a competitive team, must have the approval of both the Director of Rec and the Director of Competitive before being moved off the recreational team.

24. Does MVSC offer winter and spring soccer options for competitive players?

Yes, MVSC offers winter and spring training and game options for interested competitive players.

25. Where can I find more information?

If you have any other questions about the MVSC Competitive Soccer program that are not answered on the website (www.mvsc.org ), please contact the MVSC Competitive Committee at competitive@mvsc.org for more information

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