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Competitive FAQs

The Piedmont Soccer Club (PSC) and 24-7 UK Soccer Academy (24-7 UK) are responsible for administering competitive “Highlanders” soccer for the Piedmont community (for recreational soccer, please go here). 

We present relevant policy-related and other useful information in the Frequently Asked Questions detailed below.

Who’s who? PSC, 24-7, NorCal, US Club Soccer, etc.

Q: Who are all these organizations and why do I get so many emails?

A: If you are new to competitive soccer, it will be worth your time getting familiar with the different organizations that help bring soccer to our community. This will be especially true for those who become parent volunteers. There are several organizations involved, beginning with Piedmont Soccer Club and 24-7 UK Soccer Academy.

Piedmont Soccer Club (PSC)

PSC is responsible for developing, promoting, and administering the game of soccer in Piedmont for youth under the age of nineteen without regard to race, creed, sex or ability. Founded in 1976 and incorporated as a California Non-profit Public Benefits 501(c)(3) corporation, PSC is largely a volunteer-led organization, with parents often serving volunteer roles on their children’s teams and as members of the PSC Board, which is responsible for administering PSC.

24-7 UK Soccer Academy (24-7)

24-7 is a professional organization responsible for managing and staffing professional coaches for Highlanders competitive soccer. PSC has contracted 24-7 for these services, which also includes training volunteer parents to coach at the recreational level. In addition to Piedmont, 24-7 provides coaching services to Clippers Football Club, Alameda Soccer Club, and Castro Valley Soccer Club, as well as Association Football Club (AFC) for girls and boys interested in competitive soccer after the U12 level.

Association Football Club (AFC)

AFC is the organization that supports local soccer after kids age out of Piedmont Soccer Club. AFC, a 24-7 UK organization, typically draws from the Piedmont, Clippers, Castro Valley, and Alameda clubs for enrollment. AFC coaches are often also coaching the younger programs in these communities.

The PSC Board of Directors and 24-7’s Piedmont leadership work very closely together to ensure the PSC program’s youth are receiving the best possible soccer experience available.

Other important organizations and services include:

  • TeamSnap is an online scheduling tool PSC teams use to track player availability for practices and games. It is important for parents to update their child’s/children’s status in TeamSnap so Team Managers and Coaches can plan their practices and games (which may include asking kids to “play up”).
  • NorCal Premier Soccer (“NorCal”) is northern California’s governing body responsible for establishing and administering leagues within which PSC and other northern California teams play. Piedmont Highlander teams play in a specific NorCal Regional League depending on the age group of the team.
  • US Club Soccer is the national organization responsible for overseeing growth and development of soccer clubs, such as NorCal, across the country.
  • GotSport is the website PSC Team Managers use to schedule games against League and Tournament opponents for home and away games.
  • Jack London Youth Soccer League is the administering body for regional competitive and recreational soccer, including Alameda, Castro Valley, East Bay United, Oakland (“Clippers”) and Piedmont soccer clubs. JLYSL is part of the California Youth Soccer Association, which is part of the United States Youth Soccer Federation (USYSF), the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Eligibility and Registration

Q: Can my child join Piedmont Soccer Club if I don’t live in Piedmont?

A: Absolutely. PSC welcomes players from neighboring communities, and currently approximately 50% of players come from outside of Piedmont.

Q: How do I register my child?

A: If you are interested in competitive soccer, please visit the Competitive Tryouts page here. Please note, Competitive team soccer tryouts typically take place in May.

If you are interested in recreational soccer, please visit the Recreational Registration & Fees page here

Tryouts and Joining Mid-Season

Q: What is the tryouts process for the Highlanders competitive team?

Q: My child is a returning player. Does my child need to attend tryouts?

A: PSC and 24-7 expect players to attend tryouts (more touches!) to ensure coaching staff can properly evaluate and place players on the appropriate team for development.  Tryouts are rigorous and competitive, and players will be evaluated and offered a team assignment irrespective of their previous assignment. Coaches do factor in a child’s entire body of work in the evaluation process, including prior season’s development. For a description of the assessment criteria, please visit the tryout page here.

If your child cannot attend one or both tryout sessions due to sickness, injury or other reason, please talk to your coach, who will be in an excellent position to help determine the ideal placement for your child in the upcoming season.

Q: We are new to the community. Can my child join the team?

A: For Highlanders soccer, please contact the Competitive Coordinator to explore possibilities. Time of year, roster sizes, enrollment on another team, and other factors may influence whether an opportunity is available. For recreational soccer, please contact the Recreational Coordinator. Contact information is available here.

Teams, Roster Sizes and Roster Movement during the Season

Q: What are the different Highlanders teams?

A: Several of the younger age groups have three competitive teams: Purple is the first team, White is the second team, and Grey is the third team. Most of the older teams, often U10 – U12, have two teams: Purple and White. Children are typically placed on teams based on level of development. Our goal is to find the right fit for your child at the right time to maximize development opportunities.

Q: How many roster spots are there on a team?

A: The number of roster spots on a team depends on two factors: age and level.

  • For U7 and U8, who play 4v4 or 5v5, there are no minimum or maximum roster sizes. 
  • For U9 and U10, recommended roster sizes are:
    • Purple: 9 – 10 players
    • White: 10 – 11 players
    • Grey: 10 – 12 players
  • For U11 and U12, recommended roster sizes are:
    • Purple: 11 – 13 players
    • White: 12 – 14 players

In some cases, we will establish roster sizes outside of these parameters for various reasons. Often, for example, we will allow for a larger roster in the Spring because players may be unavailable due to playing other sports.

Q: Will a player remain on his/her team for the duration of the season?

    A: On occasion, coaches may seek to move a player from White to Purple or Purple to White (and Grey to White or White to Grey) to support player development. We anticipate most roster modifications will take place during the Winter break, but changes may take place at any point during the Fall or Spring season. The Director of Coaching, the Competitive Coordinator, and the affected coaches will evaluate any proposed change for appropriateness for the player and the impacted teams. And any proposed change will be discussed with parents before a roster change is made.

    Q: What is the philosophy behind coaching assignments?

    A: PSC and 24-7 are constantly monitoring coaching assignments with player development in mind. We aspire to have common coaches across at least two teams within a single age group for up to two consecutive seasons to monitor and influence player progress. We are constantly working toward an optimal environment, but we operate in an occasionally dynamic environment. Even when we are faced with coaching challenges, player development is our top priority.

    Commitment to Fall and Spring Seasons: Practices, League Games, State Cup and Tournaments

    Q: What is the commitment for Highlanders soccer?

    A: Players accepting a roster spot on a Highlanders team will register for a yearlong season and are expected to commit to the team in the Fall and Spring. 

    PSC expects soccer will be a player’s top priority in the Fall.

    We recognize children, particularly in Winter and Spring, play other sports and we ask parents to inform coaches of possible conflicts BEFORE accepting a roster spot on a team. 

    In instances where a player cannot fulfill a commitment to the team, game playing time may be affected; and the DOC, Competitive Coordinator and coach may consider a roster change if it is appropriate for the player and the affected team(s). 

    Q: How long is the soccer season?

    A: The length of the season depends slightly on the age of the team (i.e., U8-U12). The “Fall” season typically starts in July and ends in early November, possibly December. The fall season usually ends with the State Cup tournament, a one- or two-weekend regional event (often in Sacramento or Ripon, near Manteca) allowing teams to play three, possibly four, games in tournament-style play.

    There are opportunities for additional non-team training during winter break (winter camps). Although not mandatory, the majority of Highlanders players participate in the Winter Futsal - Weekend Games and Weekday Training program.

    The “Spring” season typically starts in late February and runs through early May. Tryouts often take place at the conclusion of the Spring season.   

    Q: What is the practice schedule like?

      A: There are two practices each week, Monday – Friday, usually either 75 or 90 minutes. We aim to assign later practices, usually concluding at 8:45, possibly 9:00 p.m., to older children (U11 and U12). 

      In summer, there is a week-long summer camp (2 hours/day, Monday through Friday).

      Q: Where do practices and games take place?

      A: PSC and 24-7 leverage practice fields in Piedmont as much as possible, including Coaches Field, Hampton Field, Havens Elementary (Becker Field), Beach Elementary, Bern Court (near Witter), and Witter Field (baseball and football). Piedmont space is very limited and we compete with other sports for field time, so practices also take place at Alameda Point (where we also host games) and Laney College.

      Piedmont home games also take place at Alameda Point, where fields can accommodate 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 play. Beach is also able to support 7v7 play. Other home and away games often take place nearby, including at Bret Harte and Edna Brewer Middle Schools, and in Alameda.

      Q: What are tournaments and how are they different from regular games?

      A: In addition to League play, teams often sign up for two to three tournaments in the fall, and a tournament in the spring. Tournaments offer different playing formats, with teams usually playing at least three and possibly up to four games in a single weekend. Teams often have a volunteer parent assigned to a role of tournament coordinator. That person researches possibly tournaments and works with the team manager to work through possibly scheduling conflicts.

      Parent Volunteer Needs

      Q: I am a parent. How can I help?

      A: Piedmont soccer does not happen without parent volunteers who serve several roles on a team over the course of a season. Critical roles include team manager positions for scheduling and communications, an assistant coach, a treasurer and an affiliated referee.

      Additional very-nice-to-have roles include a tournament coordinator, team photographer, equipment manager, a winter training coordinator, a team or social events coordinator, and a Positive Coaching Alliance ambassador.

      Please visit the parent volunteer section of the Piedmont Soccer Club website here for more information.

      Playing Time, Guest Playing and Training, Playing “Up”

      Q: How much time will my child play?

      A: All U8-U12 Highlander players will play a minimum of 50% of each game played. every game. Exceptions may occur for disciplinary or commitment concerns, which will be communicated to the player and parent in advance of any impacted game.

      Q: Another team has asked if my child is available to play in their game. Is that possible?

      A: Yes, but criteria apply. First, head coaches for each team must agree. Second, a child is eligible to play for other teams only within Piedmont Soccer Club and within that child’s age group or for an older age group. A child is not allowed to play for a team in a younger age group. Third, we do not encourage children playing more than two games in a day. Player welfare is always a priority.

      Last, we encourage coaches to draw from teams within an age group, though at times a coach may draw from a younger team to fill a specific need (e.g., goalie).

      Team managers are responsible for ensuring rosters, including changes, are properly recorded for games and tournaments. The PSC DOC and/or ADOC will mediate if necessary.

      Q: The coach asked if my child would like to practice with a different team. What does this mean?

      A: The DOC and/or ADOC may identify opportunities for players to “train up” or “train down.” These are opportunities to move players to practice for one or more sessions within or up an age group. Coaches are interested in exploring these opportunities to support the player’s development. These sessions are scheduled in advance, and players remain on, and prioritize events for, their current team.

      Q: My child is interested in “playing up” and joining the team that is a year older (for example, a U11 playing for a U12 team). Is this possible?

      A: It is possible, though rare. A player will only be allowed to play up with the prior consent of the DOC and the head coach of the team. The decision will be made based on development needs of the individual player, not needs of the team or for team enhancement. Players trying out for an “older” team must also try out for the team in that child’s age group. 

      If a team cannot be formed for a particular age group due to under enrollment, a team may be formed that includes younger players. 

      Play-up opportunities are a one-year offer and are reviewed on an annual basis for appropriateness.

      Players are not permitted to play down.

      Team Flighting

      Q: I keep hearing about teams playing in gold, silver, bronze, etc. I thought we were purple, white or grey? What does this mean?

      A: Flighting is a process to place a team in a league made up of other teams who play at a similar level. The strongest teams play in Gold, followed by Silver, Bronze and Copper. Most Highlander teams play in Gold, Silver or Bronze. High-performing U11 and U12 teams may elect to play in Premier instead of Gold.

      PSC and 24-7 UK review team flighting at least two times per year to ensure teams are playing at the appropriate competition level. We aim for a balance of enough winning to keep kids encouraged and competitive and enough losing to ensure kids are challenged week in and week out.

      Player Feedback, Refunds, and Complaints/Concerns

      Q: I would like to know how my child is developing as a player. What type of feedback is available?

      A: Foremost, we encourage you to develop a relationship with your coach, who will be happy to provide ad hoc feedback on your child’s development as a season progresses. More formally, coaches provide written evaluations in the Winter break for every player with an assessment of strengths and areas for improvement. 

      Q: I would like a refund. What is the refund policy?

      A: A family/player who accepts an invitation to play on the Highlanders commits to paying a fee that covers the entire year. Generally, PSC observes a strict refund policy because budgets are prepared for the year and costs are incurred not just on total team count, but also on player head count. Fees are typically not refundable and not transferable. Players who decide to stop playing at any point during the season will not be eligible for a partial or full refund.

      The PSC Board may consider a partial refund in the event a player is injured or a family moves out of the area.Other refund requests may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

      Q: I’m a parent and I have a complaint/concern. What are my options?

      A: The nature of the complaint or concern will influence a possible approach.

      For a technical complaint regarding practices, team cohesion, coaching tactics, game-time participation, please engage the coach to discuss. If a complaint remains unresolved, please contact the Director of Coaching and the Competitive Coordinator. If an issue still remains unresolved, the issue can be escalated to the PSC President and Board.

      For an administrative complaint, please engage the coach for guidance. If the issue concerns player registration, please contact the Club Registrar. The Director of Coaching and the PSC President can also address administrative issues.

      Finally, if the issue concerns an action that might be construed as “in the heat of the moment”, we ask that parents observe a 24 hour cool-down period to allow for additional reflection. We find that time often is an excellent remedy for most sensitive situations. 

      Life after Piedmont Soccer Club

      Q: What happens when my child is too old to play Piedmont soccer?

      A: If the child is interested in continuing to play soccer, there are many options. Many kids who play for one of the 24-7 UK-administered clubs – Piedmont, Oakland (“Clippers FC”), Castro Valley, and Alameda – continue by playing for the Association Football Club, often referred to as AFC. 

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