Advanced Soccer Opportunities in Santa Cruz County
Playing Division 1 & 3
You enjoy playing recreation soccer, but you might be ready for the challenge of competitive soccer. The following explains the options for more advanced play in the Santa Cruz County Youth Soccer League (SCCYSL). SCCYSL is made up of six clubs: Scotts Valley/San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz, Mid-County, Aptos, Pajaro Valley and the Division 1 Santa Cruz County Breakers. The following is aimed at explaining the options for more competitive play in the SCCYSL to interested players and their parents.
Definition and Terms
Division 1 - According to the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA) Team Manual it is “a top level team formed by a selection process in order to compete in Division 1 or State level league/division play.” Formerly called Class 1 or Select, this is the most competitive level of play. All Division 1 teams are part of the Santa Cruz County Breakers, who select players from throughout the county.
Division 3 - Advanced Soccer Formerly called Class 3 “Comp Soccer,” is defined by the CYSA Team Manual as “An intermediate level team formed by a tryout selection process to compete in Division 3 league/division, tournament, or cup play. Division 3 teams are linked to the various geographic clubs that make up our league: Scotts Valley/San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz City Sharks and Jaws, Mid-County, Aptos and Pajaro Valley.
Tryouts and Transfers
You have to tryout for Division 1 and 3 teams. Division 1 teams hold their tryouts in January-March and Division 3 teams hold their tryouts in March-May. Players will be invited by coaches to play on their teams based on those tryouts. Most coaches want players to attend all scheduled tryouts. Once you’re on a team, you are committed to that team for the entire year. The league permits transfers only in limited circumstances, however, it is a violation of CYSA’s Poaching Policy for anyone to induce a player to switch teams during the playing season.
Levels of Play and Commitment
Both Division 1 and Division 3 provide stronger competition for players and demand a much higher level of commitment than Division 4 (Recreation) play. Most Division 1 teams play year round (indoor winter play, spring league) and even play in leagues outside CYSA that provide even further enhanced competition. Special training, in addition to regular practices, is also often provided. Most Division 3 teams play year round, as well.
Coaching and Trainers
Division 1 teams usually pay coaches and trainers. Division 3 coaches are more frequently unpaid volunteers, but may bring in an occasional paid trainer. The league participates in the CYSA coach training program. Through this, our CYSA District (II) requires coaches to improve their skills by attending coaching seminars and obtaining higher license levels.
Travel and Tournaments
Division 1 and Division 3 play involves out-of-county travel for half of the games and most tournaments. Division 3 teams play in a District-wide league that includes teams from San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey and San Benito counties. Tournaments can be as far away as Sacramento and Fresno. A Division 3 team would typically play 2 to 3 tournaments per year. Division 1 teams travel more, particularly if they play year round. Tournaments for older players can be out-of-state.
Cost, Fund-raising and Financial Assistance
Division 1 and Division 3 play may be substantially more expensive than Recreation play because these teams play more games and train more. Cost depends on whether paid coaches and trainers are used, cost of tournament registrations and the quality of uniforms and equipment. This is in addition to normal registration fees. Most teams use fund-raising and sponsorships to help defray these costs; however, families bear the bulk of the financial commitment. The clubs and teams offer financial assistance, so that all players capable and interested can play. The Santa Cruz County Breakers do specific fund-raising to provide financial assistance.
The SCCYSL bylaws state that all Division 3 players “present, and physically able, shall play for at least one half (½) of the game, except that a coach may discipline players by restricting them from play” There is no such rule for Division 1 play or for opposing teams from outside our county, but our league encourages all coaches to provide adequate opportunities for player development including playing time. Parents and players should know each coach’s policy for playing time when considering a team’s invitation.
Positive Coaching Alliance
The SCCYSL strongly subscribes to the principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and insists that all coaches, managers and parent representatives attend PCA seminars and follow its precepts.
How to Become a Coach
Scotts Valley/San Lorenzo, Santa Cruz City, Aptos, Mid-County, Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Breakers are always looking for new coaches. Contact the coach coordinator at each club’s website for more information.
Contact information for the clubs is available through www.sccysl.org.