Is my Child ready for Competitive Soccer?


Is my Child ready for Competitive Soccer?


This May will be the annual tryout period for the local competitive soccer programs.  Whether you call them ‘Comp,’ Travel or, Club soccer, this is the period where some families move their children from local “Recreational” soccer teams into the world of Competitive, or ‘Comp’ soccer. Many families struggle to decide if their child and family are ready for competitive soccer. Here are some things we’ve learned over the years that may help parents navigate these waters.

  1. Comp soccer is not for every child.  The number one goal when choosing any soccer program should be that your child has fun --everything else is secondary.  There is no benefit to pushing children into a new athletic challenges prematurely. If the experience feels too competitive, pressured, or creates avoidable anxiety, it’s probably not yet a good fit for your child.   If your child shows a keen interest in the game and wants to develop their skills, then those are vital signs that your child may be ready for competitive soccer.

  2. Comp soccer is not for every family.  Families should ask themselves if they are ready for the financial and time commitment that comes with Comp soccer.  Unlike Rec teams, Comp teams typically expect children to attend all practices and games and, travel to ‘Away’ games.  For many families, the resulting games are a source of great joy, family adventure and time spent together. However, for families for whom the weekend commitments feel oppressive, Comp soccer may not be the right fit.

  3. Is my child good enough to play Comp soccer? Do they love to play and want the ball?  Do they enjoy some competition and physical contact? If the answer is yes to most of these questions, they’re likely ready for a fun new challenge.  However, if you see them trying to be ‘invisible’ on the field, jogging alongside opponents without trying to win the ball, or trying desperately to get rid of the ball, then they are likely not yet ready for Comp soccer.  

  4. What’s the best local soccer club?  A better question may be, “what’s the best club for my child?” All clubs have pros and cons. We would encourage you to attend a few Comp games and team practices as a spectator this spring.   Be very careful about any coach who over-promises what they will do for your child. Find out how long has the club been offering Comp soccer and what is the Club’s philosophy/mission and values. How does the club address player’s development and well being? And how much does it cost?  Be a discerning consumer and most of all, be your child’s strongest advocate and biggest cheerleader.

When considering the above, I would encourage you to visit the Mavericks Soccer Club’s website and speak with its Director of Coach Matt Fitchett ( to learn about what the Club has to offer. The Mavericks Soccer Club is in its 49th year of developing soccer players and is based in Berkeley.

The Mavericks’ mission is to develop youth soccer players in a positive and safe environment.  Each Mavericks coach, player, and team follow an age-appropriate development curriculum that has been endorsed by the United States Soccer Federation. The Mavericks Soccer Club has created an injury prevention program that helps minimize the chance of injury but also provides information and support for injured players through the Return to Play program.

The Mavericks Soccer Club is proud of its financial aid program for qualifying families.  The Club provides more than 40% of its players with scholarships so no player is turned away because they cannot afford to pay the Club fee.  

Go slow.  Be patient. Focus on fun first, and if you like more information about comp soccer, please call 925-315-9327 or visit us on the web at