Competitive Soccer FAQs

Whether you are new to competitive soccer or have been involved your entire life, below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about competitive soccer, as well as an overview of what sets Union Sacramento FC apart from other competitive soccer clubs in the area.

First and foremost, welcome to “The Club”! Union Sacramento FC is a Player’s First competitive soccer club based in Sacramento, California. It is our humble opinion we have the best coaching staff in the area. Their experience spans from professional careers to years coaching at both the collegiate and professional ranks. Our home fields are located at Larchmont Community Park. We maintain these fields ourselves and believe they rival any grass fields in the area. Our pitch is second to none and is perfect for soccer camps, training sessions, and games. We have four fields at Larchmont, including a 7v7, 9v9, and two 11v11 fields. We also claim home to Mather Soccer complex during the winter months where we utilize the turf fields and lights to allow us to continue to train when the sun sets early and the rain starts to fall.

In order to provide the best answers to questions you may have about our club we have put together some frequently asked questions based on common questions we receive each year from incoming families Below you will find these question and answers. If you still have questions after exploring these FAQs and cannot find the information on our site somewhere, please reach out to us at info@unionfc.org and we would be more than happy to answer any of them via an email, chat, or even a phone call.

Frequently Asked Questions.

A: The competitive landscape of soccer and the options for choosing a competitive soccer program is constantly evolving. COVID-19 has drastically reshaped the landscape as many smaller clubs were not able to establish protocols to keep their kids safe or maintain the revenue streams to stay financially viable. Union FC is one of the largest competitive soccer programs in the area competing at every level from grassroots up to the National Premier League levels.

We pride ourselves on our family-friendly environment where we teach kids to be more than just soccer players. Sports is the ultimate metaphor for life and whether a kid wants to pursue a career in professional sports, or become a teacher, doctor, or artist, we feel that the game of soccer can help grow the skills our youth need to be successful beyond club soccer. Our mission statement was developed with this in mind.

We are one of the only clubs in the area that offers a 100% all inclusive cost model to our families. We feel this is an important aspect of our club and something that sets us apart from other clubs. We collect dues on a one-time fee and these costs cover the entire program. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Fall and Spring League Fees

  • NorCal State Cup

  • 2- 4 Professionally led training sessions per week

  • Skills and Goalkeeper training

  • 2-6 tournaments per year including all tournament fees and coaching travel expenses

  • College Education including seminars and online resources

  • Referee Fees

  • Club and Team Administration

  • Field Space for camps, training, and games

  • Equipment for both games and practices

  • Access to Veo Cameras (these are cameras that are checked out to teams to film games. Each camera is able to film a game without a person operating the camera. The software uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to then break down each game within 24 hours later to be used be players, coaches, and parents to create highlights to be used for college recruiting or film breakdown sessions)

  • College Recruiting Program (U14 and above)

Most other clubs will charge similar fees to ours but then ask that parents help with game scheduling, tournaments, player passes, coaches travel, etc. While many advertise a certain number of tournaments per season, what they don’t mention is that these tournaments are their own, and as you travel out of town or compete in local tournaments you need to pay coaches’ travel expenses, and in some cases additional tournament fees. These hidden costs add up quickly and can easily equal 50%-100% or more of your monthly dues. Outside of the initial registration fee, the monthly dues, and uniforms, we will never collect for additional team expenses. Our cost model can be found below.

A: In general competitive soccer programs are year round soccer programs that run from May through April. The season operates around the following general schedule:

  • May – Tryouts are held and teams are formed

  • June – Practices begin. Depending on the age group practices range from 2-3 practices per week. The younger age groups (9-13 year olds) practice 2 times per week and as the kids get older and teams become more competitive, practices can increase to 3-4 times per week (depending on the time of year). Practices are run by paid coaches that are professionally licensed through soccer associations. (Generally USSF or USC (formally NSCAA)) Skills sessions also start shortly after practices begin. These supplement the 2-3 practices per week and are focused on individual skills. Union FC also runs the best goalkeeper training program in the area. All goalkeepers have the opportunity to train with our goalkeeper trainers 1-2 times per week as well. This is all included in your monthly dues! Practices for most teams are either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday with a 3rd skills specific practice on either Thursday or Friday. Practices are determined at the beginning of the season and vary by team.

  • July – During a typical season, this is when teams begin participating in tournaments. Our teams compete in 2-6 tournaments per year depending on the team and age group. The younger age groups will typically play in local tournaments with 1 or 2 out of town tournaments per season. These are normally in Northern and Central California locations like Lake Tahoe, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo. These provide great team building experiences for the kids while the whole family gets to travel for a weekend to beautiful locations throughout the state. Our older age groups typically travel a bit more and longer distances. Our elite teams participate in national college showcase events like San Diego’s Surf Cup, the Phoenix Open, and Nationals in Denver, CO. Additionally, our Boy’s EA teams will participate in regional and national showcases throughout the year. These events garner huge interest from college scouts and are a great opportunity for kids looking to play at the collegiate level to make a name for themselves.

  • August – This is when fall league starts. Fall league runs during the same timeline of your typical recreational soccer league, meaning it runs from August to November. Again, the younger age groups play local games while the older teams play both locally and in neighboring areas throughout Northern California with some games located in the Bay Area. These games are normally played on Saturdays.

  • September – This is when State Cup starts. State Cup is an annual “tournament” in which teams compete against other teams in Northern California. There are three rounds of games where upon each team is reseeded (either up or down) depending on the outcomes of the previous round. After the three rounds teams are then seeded into a single elimination tournament based on the outcomes of the first three rounds. This final round is a “win or go home” format. These games are typically played on Sundays. The youngers finish State Cup before Christmas while the older groups, who are on Winter Break for high school soccer, complete their State Cup games in the spring when they return to club soccer.

  • November – Our older, high school age teams, shut down for High School soccer. This is a “blackout” period where kids cannot participate in club activities. This runs through the end of the High School soccer season. This is a great break for kids to enjoy soccer with their high school friends, many of whom might play at other area clubs.

  • December – This is the time of year where we typically take a break. Practices may continue but the club will shut down for a couple of weeks to give families time to enjoy the holidays. Teams may participate in a tournament in the early part of December. This is also the time that we run our Copa Del Rey tournament which draws upwards of 200 teams from around the state as teams ramp down their fall season and get ready to head off for the holidays

  • January – Practices begin to ramp back up and we begin preparing for the start of spring season. Younger teams may participate in tournaments towards the end of the month or February to get into the swing of things after the winter break.

  • March – Spring league kicks off and runs through May. During this time the older age groups play the final rounds of State Cup as well to determine the winners of each group.

Union FC offers a variety of programs. These programs range from multi day camps for any one interested in extra training to year round competitive programs with professional coaches. Our programs consist of:

  • EA (Elite Academy) League – Union Sacramento FC is an EA Club. Our 11v11 boys have the privilege to play in the Elite Academy. This is a program with a mission to provide a National platform for our players. It gives them exposure to national showcase tournaments and access to both college and professional scouts. The goal of the Elite Academy is to provide a seamless elite pathway for clubs and players to excel in the competitive landscape. Union Sacramento FC is proud to have been chosen as the first club in the Sacramento area to join the Elite Academy.

  • NPL (National Premier Leagues) Program – Union Sacramento FC is an NPL Club. Many of our older teams compete in the NPL League. The National Premier League (NPL) is a US Club League that brings together the best of the best. These teams are generally made up of first teams from the best clubs in the nation and compete against each other in the three divisions of NPL; Champions, NPL1, and NPL2. Some of our boy’s NPL teams also compete in the Elite Academy League

  • Competitive Program – All of our teams compete in this program and it is made up of various divisions within NorCal (our governing body). These divisions include Premier, Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. Depending on the strength of the team and their competitiveness teams may move up and down between fall league and spring league. This program is broken into three major age groups:

    • U15-U19 – These teams play 11v11 and train 3-4 days a week including our skill and keeper programs. They participate in NorCal Fall League, NorCal Spring League, NorCal State Cup, and a variety of in and out of town tournaments throughout the season including college showcases which are attended by college scouts.

    • U12-U14 – These teams generally practice 2-3 days a week including our skills and keeper programs. They also include NorCal Fall League, NorCal Spring League, NorCal State Cup, and a variety of in and out of town tournaments throughout the season with the majority of tournaments being local. Our U12 teams play 9v9, while our U13 and U14 teams play 11v11.

    • U9-U11 – Our little ones! Not that we have a favorite, but our “littles” have a special place in our hearts. This is where the soccer foundation is laid. The U9 and U10 kids compete 7v7, while the U11 age group gets to use Larchmont’s Field 3 as their home field; the largest and best 9v9 grass field in Northern California. These teams compete in NorCal Fall League, NorCal State Cup and a variety of in and out of town tournaments. Generally all but one tournament is local. Our teams in this age group may or may not play in NorCal Spring league. Often at the younger age groups we substitute local tournaments or “play dates” for spring league to give our teams some variety and at this age “burnout” can become a factor. We understand that many kids play other sports and want that to be a part of our culture. Many college scouts still value multi-sport athletes above single sport athletes and growing the love for multiple sports at a young age is important. It is particularly important as kids are growing and learning to use different muscle groups to help reduce injuries as they grow into more mature athletes.

    • Development Programs – Within the various age groups we have a variety of development programs. You may see some acronyms across our teams. Outside of the NPL (girls and boys) and EA (boys) we also have the following development programs. These programs are simply a way to distinguish our teams. They are as follows:

      • Early Development Program (EDP)

      • Junior Development Program (JDP)

      • Advanced Development Program (ADP)

  • Skills and Keeper Training – As part of each players dues we offer individual skills training once a week and keeper training up to twice a week for our older keepers. These sessions help the kids get additional training by professionally trained skills and goalkeeper coaches. The skills program utilizes space on our grass fields during the summer, fall, and spring, while we move to indoor courts for futsal training or turf fields for outdoor training under the lights at Mather Sports Complex during the rainy season.

  • Seasonal Programs – Union FC offers programs throughout the year for those athletes looking to improve their game without jumping directly into Competitive Soccer. These programs are specifically developed for our local youth to provide an opportunity to participate in shorter soccer programs to learn the love of the game from Union’s amazing coaching staff. These programs are great if you plan on trying out for competitive soccer, want a little extra soccer fix in between your recreational play, or just want to come out for some fun. These programs include:

    • Fall Soccer Academy

    • Spring Soccer Academy

    • Summer Program

  • Clinics and Camps – Union FC runs a few in house camps each year including a girls specific camp. We also partner with some of our local recreational clubs to run coaching clinics for parents new to soccer coaching. These clinics teach coaches the basics of practice planning, drills, and other organizational skills to effectively coach youth soccer. We have worked with clubs to run camps up to 150 kids. The camps help kick off the season and allow the kids to get back into the swing of things ahead of the recreational season. If you have an interest in Union setting up a camp for your club or teams, please contact us at info@unionfc.org.

  • Cuppies – Each year Union FC runs it’s Cuppies program to provide kids (U6-U8) that are getting ready to move into competitive soccer a taste of great coaching and fun drills in a laid back environment. The program normally runs 6- 8 weeks and is free to the first 40 participants. Our staff come out and have a blast with these little kids and it’s always one of the highlights of the year.

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A: This is one of the most often asked questions and something that many clubs shy away from answering until tryouts. At Union FC we try to be as transparent as possible. Our fee structure is below, and as noted above, it is important to read the fine print. While other clubs advertise a monthly fee structure, many also charge additional fees throughout the year for tournaments, coach’s travel expenses, referee fees, or other expenses as they arise. Union FC will never do this. Our fee structure is below, along with a breakdown of where your dues go:

*Monthly dues vary within an age group based on the team
**Fees are for the 2022/2023 season.

Cost Breakdown.png

In addition to the annual registration fees and monthly dues, each player will be responsible for purchasing the following training gear and game kits. Union partners with Adidas to provide our training and practice gear. For the 2022/23 season Union FC will be purchasing new Adidas Training gear. Our new retail and online partner is Soccer Pro. They have a physical store which is located at 11726 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. Below is a list of required training gear and game kits that will be available to purchase. We will have sample uniforms to tryout the 2nd and 3rd days of tryouts. All orders will be placed through Soccer Pro’s online ordering system and shipped directly to each players house. Coaches will collect uniform numbers and submit them to Soccer Pro and each player will receive a unique link to order their gear.


Adidas Home Game Top

Adidas Away Game Top

Adidas Home Game Short

Adidas Away Game Short

Adidas Home Sock

Adidas Away Sock

Navy Sweatshirt with Union Crest


Adidas Navy Practice Top 

Adidas Grey Practice Top 

Adidas Navy Practice Short 

Adidas Navy Practice Sock

Adidas White Practice Sock

Training Vests (Neon Green/Yellow)

*2022/23 is a new training gear year. Game Kits will be the same as 2021/2022. Returning players will only need to purchase training gear.

A: Tryouts are generally conducted in May each year with the first tryout week being used to form the younger teams (U9-U14) and then a couple of weeks later clubs hold tryouts for the older teams (U15-U19). Each year our governing body NorCal provides a window in which teams can conduct tryouts. Then each of the clubs within their region (Union FC competes in Region 6 of NorCal) decides on when they will hold tryouts. This allows for each club to be able to compete on a level playing field. Prior to these windows clubs are not allowed to talk or recruit players already playing competitively for other clubs. During the tryout window clubs can freely talk to any players.

Union FC generally conducts tryouts over a three day window, with a fourth optional day. It is mandatory that each player be registered for tryouts before the first day of tryouts. Due to waivers associated with the free tryout registration we cannot let players tryout without this registration. Each player is assigned a pinnie (training vest) with a specific number when they check in on the first day of tryouts. The coaches will be given a list of players and their number. Players will get the same pinnie/number at each tryout.

Players must attend at least 2 tryouts to receive an offer from a coach for a club team. Coaches will not make offers until after the first tryout, and many will not make offers until after final tryout. Coaches will make offers in writing or via email. Families have 48 hours after receiving an offer to accept or decline. All players who participate will be contacted. As there are two to three teams in many age groups, it may take a few days after the last tryout to contact players with offers (or to be notified that an offer will not be extended).

Like all other organizations we are dependent on the support of our families to help our club run. In order to provide the best experience for our players we have a minimum requirement that each family provide 15 hours of volunteer time. This is easily fulfilled through our many events which include but are not limited to tryouts, our annual soccer-a-thon, various social events, and our tournaments. Tournaments are by far the easiest way to get hours. Throughout the season we will provide plenty of opportunities to fulfill your hours. We frequently send club wide emails to notify you of these events. These are great opportunities to meet other members and most of the time they are available during a time you will already be at an event.

If you are interested in joining our club, learning more about Union, or have a question that you can’t find the answer to, please email us at info@unionfc.org and we would be more than happy to reach out and do our best to make sure we can get you the information you need. Go Union!!