The Basics: What you need to know about TPSC Sharks and Soccer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Who plays in our club?
When are Signups and how much does it cost?
When do we find out about team assignments and schedules?
When is the Season?
Where are games played?
Long Term Player Development
Are there other opportunities to learn and play?
Who administers the club?
Who referees the games?
Who are the coaches?
What equipment will my child need?
How long are the games?
How many players are on a soccer team?
How do I learn the Rules of Soccer?
Does the TPSC belong to the Positive Coaching Alliance?

Q. Who plays in our club?

  • Approximately 650 children from Tiburon, Belvedere, Strawberry, East Corte Madera (and a few from surrounding communities who choose to play with friends from our towns).
  • Our youngest players are girls and boys ages 4 and 5 playing in our "Mini-Kickers’ program. Our 1st grade (U-7) division then begins with boys and girls entering first grade. Our oldest are older teens playing in the U-19 division.
  • We have both Rec (also known as House) Divisions and Competitive Divisions.
    • Rec is officially designated as CYSA Division IV and has about 425 players. For many players, the lower pressure / less travel /reduced time commitment of Rec soccer fits well into their level of interest and schedule.
    • Players who are in 7th grade and above may participate in our Interleague program and play other teams throughout Marin and Sonoma as part of the Marin Interleague Soccer Association (bylaws). Coached by soccer professionals, this is a challenging and fun option for players not in our Competitive program.
    • Competitive (sometimes referred to as ’traveling’ soccer) has about 200 players. One of our parent organizations, CYSA, breaks this down into two divisions:
      • Division III, also called “Upperhouse,” the larger competitive program
      • Division I, also called “Select,” the most intensive program
      • Older Division I players (U-14 and up) play on Marin FC teams with players from other southern Marin leagues
    • Our other parent organization, US Club/NorCal has only one division, Competitive, but "flights" teams into playing leagues based on skill level of the individual teams. Most local clubs have recently moved to playing exclusively in US Club, so most of our teams will play US Club as well.
  • Age groups in older Rec and Competitive divisions are in two-year bands, called Under-(age). For instance the Under-12 playing league is for 10 and 11-year-olds. (Called U-12). Some Rec (U-9 and U-10) divisions, most younger Competitive age and all CYSA Division I divisions are in one-year age bands.
    • In our Rec program, we generally try to group players by school grade. In Competitive and Interleague, we follow the age group guidelines of our parent organizations.
    • In the divisions where they are used, soccer birthdates are calculated from August 1st of a given year.
    • To join our U-8 age group, a child must be entering 1st grade. Entering kindergartners who turn 6 before July 31st may also play, but most choose to wait and play with their school peers.
    • Requests to play in a higher or lower age group must be approved by the TPSC board.
  • We are currently working with the Mill Valley Soccer Club to join some of our competitive teams to ensure that players have the opportunity to compete at the most appropriate level for their abilities - and to reduce the differential between the most and least advanced players on a particular team.
  • Click here for a more detailed description of our Competitive program.

Q. When are Signups and how much does it cost?

  • Competitive tryouts are in February, March, April, and May, depending on age.
  • Rec and Interleague signups are held online and on two nights in May. Read here about Rec and Interleague registration.
    • No tryouts are necessary; everyone makes a team.
    • Late registration is possible for House teams, if space is available.
  • Costs vary based on age group and division. Rec fees are all inclusive, except for personal uniform/equipment.
  • Competitive teams pay coaches fees, equipment, and tournament fees in addition to the registration fee.
  • There are limited financial aid funds. Those Rec division players needing financial assistance may apply at registration night or via email. Competitive players may email or call the club to request a form or see their team manager.
  • Click here for information about how registration fees are used.
  • Information about refunds can be found here.
  • For more information about Rec signups, click here.

Q. When do we find out about team assignments and schedules? 

  • Team assignments and practice schedules will be available on the website in mid August. 
  • Teams generally practice twice a week.
  • Rec games are held on Saturdays, generally between 9 and 4:00.
  • Rec schedules are generally ready the week before the season begins and are posted on the site.
  • Families of competitive players are asked to schedule their vacations early in the summer and all competitive players are required to be available for training and games after August 1.
  • Competitive teams may play either one game or two on weekends and play both Saturdays and Sundays.

Q. When is the Season?

  • Rec teams begin practice around the time school starts in late August.
  • The rec season runs from early September through early November.
  • Some older Rec teams may choose to participate in post-season Cup play in December.
  • Some Competitive teams may choose to begin practice in the spring, but all go into high gear on August 1st.
  • The Competitive season also runs from September through November, although all Competitive teams play August tournaments and those above U-10 participate in tournament and Cup play well into the winter.
  • U-16 and U-19 boys’ teams play during the winter to accommodate high school soccer - tryouts are in both May and November.

Q. Where are games played?

  • 1st and 2nd graders play at Granada Field in Corte Madera
  • 3rd and 4th graders play at Bel Aire School and Strawberry field
  • 5th and 6th graders play at Del Mar Middle School
  • 7th graders and up play at McKegney Green

Q. Long Term Player Development

  • The TPSC is committed to a program of Long Term Player Development. What this means is that we have a structured program of developmental teaching and learning from ages 4 and 5 through high school. Based on fundamental educational and international soccer training methodologies, our program is designed to help children learn skills appropriate to their age and ability, and do so in a manner consistent with learning to love the game of soccer. Here’s a detailed write up on the LTPD Program.

Q. Are there other opportunities to learn and play?

  • Motivated U-9 through U-13 Competitive and Rec players are encouraged to participate in our spring and fall Player Development Academy and Goalkeeper clinics.
  • The TPSC holds clinics for Competitive and Rec field player and goalkeepers throughout the year. All TPSC player are invited and encouraged to attend. Learn more about our many clinics.
  • We sponsor winter Futsal teams from January through March
  • We encourage all players to simply find time to pick up a ball and play pickup soccer with friends and family. And, practice juggling by themselves. More touches = better skills!

Q. Who administers the club?

  • The TPSC is a non-profit organization, governed by an active, volunteer board.
  • The TPSC plays under the auspices of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and its two youth organizations, the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) and US Club Soccer. Our primary parent organizations are the US Club affiliate, NorCal, and the USYSA state organization, the California Youth Soccer Association-North (CYSA-N), where our local affiliate is CYSA District V. District V of CYSA includes Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Humbolt and Del Norte counties and has almost 30,000 youth players.
  • Board elections are held at our Annual General Meeting in January…we always have room for new volunteers...contact any board member for information.
  • Board meetings are held monthly throughout the year and are open to all club members.
  • Click here to learn more about the board, monthly meetings, constitution and by-laws, and contact information.

Q. Who referees the games?

  • 1st and 2nd grade "Festival" games are facilitated by our volunteer team coaches.
  • All other games are officiated by paid United States Soccer Federation licensed referees. Most are local players, parents, coaches and volunteers.
  • Free entry-level USSF referee clinics are held each summer and we welcome and encourage our players and their parents to become referees and help our club.
  • Click here for more information about referees, clinics and referee fees.

Q. Who are the coaches?

  • Through 6th grade, parents coach our Division IV Rec teams. Coaching clinics are held at the beginning of the season, professional trainers work with coaches and players throughout the season, and free CYSA licensing courses are held during the year.
  • 7th grade through U-19 Competitive teams and U-14 and older Interleague teams use professional coaches who work with our Director of Coaching.
  • Click here for more information for and about coaches.

Q. What equipment will my child need?

  • The five “S’”:
    • Soccer shorts
    • Shirt
    • Soccer socks
    • Shinguards (worn under the socks)
    • Soccer (not baseball) shoes.
  • And a ball, sized to the appropriate age group.
  • More information on equipment (including how to select it and where to get it) can be found by visiting the equipment page.
  • Jewelry, watches, wristbands, earrings, casts or metal/air splints are strictly prohibited by CYSA/NorCal and TPSC regulations.
  • The TPSC supplies House league jerseys. Players should provide black shorts and black soccer socks.
  • Competitive teams purchase their own uniforms.

Q. How long are the games?

  • 1st and 2nd grade teams play a "Festival" format, playing differently formatted four or five 10-minute games in an hour and a half time period.
  • U-9 and U-10 games are 50 minutes long, divided into 25 minute halves. Each successive two-year age band adds ten minutes to the length of the game (e.g. U-12 games are 60 minutes; U-12’s are 70)
  • U-18 and adult games are 90-minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves.

Q. How many players are on a soccer team?

  • U-7,U-8 (1st/2nd grade) = 4 per side, no goalkeeper
  • U-9 = 5 per side, including a goalkeeper
  • U-10 = 7 per side
  • U-11 Competitive = 8 per side
  • U-12 Rec = 8 per side
  • U-12 Competitive and older = 11 per side
  • U-14 Interleague and older = 11 per side

Here is a great description of the various positions and typical formations of a soccer team.

Q. How do I learn the Rules of Soccer?

  • The “Laws of the Game” are established by the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA. Modifications to these Laws for youth soccer have been made by the California Youth Soccer Association and the TPSC.
  • Your first stop should be the simple guide, Soccer for Parents
  • Then, if applicable, read the Special Rules for our 3rd-6th Grade Rec Divisions
    • For more detailed knowledge, visit the Rules page of this website, where there are several documents you should read.
      • FIFA Laws of the Game
      • CYSA District V Modified Laws of the Game
      • And, so that you can resolve a couple of the usual sideline arguments, we suggest you read the separate articles on “handball” and “offside.” These are the two most often misunderstood rules of soccer.
      • Then, if you’re really interested, visit the asktheref.com website for hundreds of questions and answers about the Laws of the Game.
  • Go watch. Besides games on TV, there are local college and professional games in the Bay Area throughout the spring, summer and fall.

(NOT) Bringing your dog to games - and other Field Rules

  • California state law prohibits dogs from any school fields. This includes Del Mar, Bel Aire and Granada in particular. Dogs at McKegney must be on leash.
  • Referees, Coaches, and TPSC officials have been instructed to ask any fan with a dog to leave the field and stop the game until they do.
  • The RUSD also prohibits alcohol and tobacco from school property. Please read this letter from the RUSD regarding rules at schools

Q. Does the TPSC belong to the Positive Coaching Alliance?

  • Yes. The PCA is a national organization that promotes good sportsmanship among coaches, parents and players. The TPSC is a proud member of the PCA.
  • We take the concept of good sportsmanship very seriously. We recognize and always keep in mind that this is a game for our kids, not for us.
  • Click here to read our Code of Conduct and learn more about Sportsmanship in the TPSC.