Frequently Asked Questions about Red Star Soccer

Updated January 2011

In what ways is Red Star different from other neighboring clubs and why are these differences important and better for my son/daughter?

  • Red Star is a centralized academy (soccer school) with centralized leadership meaning we are one big soccer family.
  • There is one common philosophy on player development, team formation, how tryouts are run, how players move up, down, or between teams in their age group.
  • Consistency throughout our operations gives us credibility. We will have the freedom to initiate and innovate new programs such as Goalkeeping, Agility/Balance/Coordination, and skills training.
  • There is quality control in the effectiveness of the coaching (service) and raising standards for both players (consumers) and coaches (teachers).  

One of the most important things a club has to do is to monitor the quality of the coaching. If the coaches are not good the players will not grow and develop. You can’t teach what you don’t know. Expert lead coaches devise an age and developmentally appropriate curriculum, monitors his staff, which will ensure quality progressive training creating player development by design and a higher chance of success.

Who is running Red Star Soccer?

Red Star Soccer is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board. Our Board of Directors is well-rounded and consists of local community professionals and include parents and non-parents of academy players. Cleber Silva, as the club’s Technical Director, runs the day-to-day full time soccer operations. Our approach and philosophy is player-centered, coach driven, and parent supported.

How do we know that Red Star’s model is any better than neighboring models? Are there comparable examples you can provide?

Red Star’s model is one of unification and quality. We have a different approach…we do what’s best for the player. Age groups work together, coaches work together, and there is professionalism, continuity and design to our work. Club soccer has been around for a good 30 years and you see professional clubs popping up all over the place. Soccer experts who have the background and time to dedicate to the club lead these professional clubs. Club soccer has become a full-time operation - part business and part school. When you deal with money, you need to be fiscally responsible, plan for the long-term; and when you work with children you need a progressive age-appropriate curriculum to develop and lead players through different levels. Our Red Star model also eliminates any conflict of interest or special interest. The kids, not politics take the top priority. The professional coaching staff, not volunteers or small interest groups, makes all player personnel decisions.


Table of Contents:
Benefits of Playing in Red Star?
Team Formation
Playing Up
Team Assignment
Game Times

What are the benefits of playing in Red Star?

Top 5 benefits for players:

  1. Shared vision of long-term player development – a cohesive development plan that will develop players by design, not randomly, to achieve long-term success.
  2. Creating pathways for players to reach their full potential if they so desire.
  3. Comprehensive, age appropriate and holistic training curriculum designed and implemented by soccer professionals.
  4. Soccer homework/ training log.
  5. Club wide social events.

Top 5 benefits for coaches:

  1. Creating pathways for coaches to reach their full potential.
  2. Resource library with books and videos.
  3. Support in continuing education.
  4. Camaraderie and unity amongst the staff.
  5. Club wide social events.

Top 5 benefits for managers:

  1. Less work load – only one manager per team.
  2. Manager’s Manual and Club Handbook help new manager understand club operations and define the role and responsibilities.
  3. Club forms will be on website.
  4. Club pays coaches, managers not at financial risk.
  5. Club wide social events.

Top 5 benefits for parents:

  1. Parent education through lectures, symposiums, and web resources.
  2. Flexible schedules – open practices amongst other teams in the club.
  3. Written evaluation 2x/year to monitor child’s progress.
  4. Online registration and administrative support.
  5. Club wide social events.


Formal tryouts occur twice a year. While we encourage all interested players to attend one of the two formal tryout periods, we know players move and become interested at varying times. For these situations players can attend practices to be evaluated by Red Star Academy coaches.

1. Is there anything special we should do/know about try-outs and how do I register?
Yes: please bring a water bottle, cleats, shin guards and a ball.
Everyone must
 register online 
to participate in tryouts.

2. What do the tryouts consist of?
An evaluation of your child’s abilities through:
1 vs. 1 activities, 2 vs. 2 activities, small-sided games and full-field games.

Our coaching staff will evaluate players based on the following six criteria:

  • Natural athletic ability, technique/skill
  • Soccer knowledge and awareness
  • Courage and bravery
  • Character and mental toughness
  • Speed and mobility
  • Anticipation


 3. Will my child be trying out with other children of the same age?

Yes, since teams are formed based on date of birth, your child will be trying out with other children of the same age.

4. Who are the evaluators for the try-outs?
Evaluators will be licensed coaches or other soccer affiliated professionals.

5. How long do the tryouts generally last?
Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

6. How often are the annual tryouts held?
Once a year, December and June, dependent upon your age group.
*Red Star Soccer Academy does reserve the right to adjust rosters and teams based on numbers and ability.

7. When will we be notified as to whether our child has made a team or not?
Within 48 hours of the last tryout date.

8. Do I need to attend both tryout dates?
For a proper evaluation, attendance at both tryout dates is strongly encouraged.

9. If I attend both tryouts and I’m not selected for competitive soccer, will I automatically make Pre-Competitive?
If you are not selected at our competitive tryout you will be offered a place in the pre-competitive program and/or we will make ourselves available to help locate an appropriate team for your child.

10. Is there a tryout fee?
No, there is no tryout fee.

11. If my son/daughter is currently playing up do I need to do anything?
Yes. Please contact the Technical Director
 to discuss the options available to you.

Team Formation

1. I have heard the word "division" used when talking about competitive soccer. Can you please explain that?
The word “division” refers to a level of play. Nor Cal Premier League (the League in which Red Star participates) offers numerous levels of play, most of which focus on competitive (not recreational)soccer. Nor Cal Premier has the following divisions:
U10 Spring – U19 Spring: Premier, Gold, Silver, Bronze (From highest to lowest).
U8 Spring - U10 Fall: Gold, Silver, Bronze (From highest to lowest).
  Teams participate in a divison which is best suited to their range of ability.

Note: U-9, for example - If you should hear (or read) the term U-9 or U-12, etc., it is referring to an age group. For example, U-9, meaning under 9 or U-13 meaning under 13, etc.

2. How many teams will be formed within each age group?
If there are enough "competitive ready" children in the age group, Red Star Soccer will usually try to form more than one team. Teams are formed based on like ability, attitude and commitment level.

3. If there is more than one team in a competitive age group, will each team be even in strength?
Generally speaking (if there are enough competitive divisions), we will form teams based on like ability, attitude and commitment level.

4. Are there 11 players on the field for every age group?

U8 - U11 Fall - there are 8 players on the field at a time, 8 vs. 8, as it is commonly called in soccer; therefore, the roster size generally stays around 12 to 13 players.
U11 Spring-U18 - there are 11 players on the field at a time, 11 vs. 11, as it is commonly called in soccer; therefore, the roster size generally stays around 14 to 18 players.

5. Will my child ever be playing with children older or younger than (s)he is?
Possibly. From time to time there will be opportunities at practices and games to play with older or younger players.

6. Will children ever move back and forth between teams within a year?
 Typically, player movement between teams is done between seasons. During the season, there will be guest play opportunities and the Technical Director reserves the right to move players within the season.

7. Does this mean that a team may change personnel from year to year?
Yes. Because the development of each individual child varies, some children may have become much stronger players since the last tryout. It is the intention of the Red Star Soccer Academy to find the appropriate team for each individual.

8. How do you name your teams?

In order to create academy unity and identity all teams will be officially named Red Star SA. The teams will be referred to by Red Star SA, birth year, “G” for girls or “B” for boys, and designation. Our top team in each age group will be designated by the color “Red,” followed by “White,”and then “Black.”

Ex. Our top team in the u8 age group…Red Star SA 01B Red.

9. So, if my child is currently playing on a Red Team, is it possible that (s)he will be placed on a White team next year?
Yes, and this should NOT be viewed as a "step down", but rather a difference in rate of development. The game performance tells the true story, is the child succeeding more times than not? The academy will always be there to support the players and their goals regardless of the team level. Red Star is committed to developing players at all levels.

10. What if our coach and the parents on our team wish to keep the team personnel together from year to year?
Within the context of player registration and playing regulations, the players belong to the academy, not the team or coach. The intention of Red Star Soccer Academy is to form the strongest team possible each year. All player movement and placement decisions are made by the coaching staff. This is the only way to minimize any negative parental influence/politics that are so prevalent in some organizations.

11. I have heard something about each team having a manager. Could you please explain that?
Yes, it is necessary that each team have a "Team Manager". This person usually is a parent volunteer whose role is to help the coach with paperwork/logistics regarding the running of the team. Although duties may vary from team to team depending on that particular coach and manager, the team manager often handles team emails, game day responsibilities, and reports game scores online.

Playing Up

Players will tryout in their age group. If they are currently playing in an age group above, they must tryout in their chronological age group as well as in the current age group in which they are participating.

Once the coaches have assessed the players, they will be assigned to the appropriate team. We will do what is in the best interest of the individual player. In making our decision, we will take a long-term perspective, evaluate the technical, emotional, physical, and social characteristics/needs of the player.

Team Assignment

Players will be placed on teams based on ability and commitment in their particular age group. If there are enough players to construct more than one team, then two or more teams will be formed.

If a player is going to play up an age group, then that player must meet the following criteria:


  • Player should be dominant in his or her own age group.
  • Player should be mentally mature and able to relate to the older teammates.
  • Player should be athletically and physically mature enough for the higher age.
  • Player should be a regular starter and be an impact player on the older team. If the player is going to be a role player or spend much of the time on the bench, there is no point in him or her playing up and risk destroying confidence.
  • The player should be the one who wants to play up, not just the parents.


1. Is competitive soccer played only in the fall?
No. Competitive soccer is a 2-season sport. Each team is formed for an entire year: Fall and spring. In other words, tryouts in the spring of 2010 will create teams for the fall of 2010 AND the spring of 2011. For more details take a look at our
program description.

2. How many games are there during a season?
There are normally 8-15 (depending upon age group and level) regular season games in both the fall and spring seasons. We are committed to making up games that might have been postponed due to inclement weather or poor field conditions. The number of games played may increase with participation in tournaments.

3. How often are practices held?
U8–U12 – Three practices per week (Two Professional Coaching sessions, One optional street soccer “pick-up game” style, goalkeeping, agility/balance/coordination or skills session.)

4. More than 1 competitive practice/week seems excessive. Can’t my child attend just one?
It is expected that players chosen for a competitive team will make the greater commitment to attend all practices and games. We want to raise the technical standard of players and that requires more practice.

5. What if my child cannot attend a practice or a game?

There is definitely much more of a commitment involved in a competitive sport than you may have been used to when participating in a "Rec" sport. Players are expected to attend all games and practices, barring an illness, injury, or some other valid reason. (e.g., trips to the Dentist are expected to be scheduled around practices and games). Of course, the coach and Technical Director should always be notified when a player cannot attend a game or practice. We do offer open practices, where players can make up missed practices by attending the practice of another Red Star team and maintain their technical proficiency.

6. My son/daughter plays "Rec" baseball/softball/lacrosse in the spring and therefore (s)he is interested only in Fall Competitive soccer. Is that o.k.?
Competitive soccer is a Fall AND Spring commitment. However, we do encourage children to play multiple sports and understand at the young ages children want to sample different sports. To accommodate multi-sport players we do offer open practices, where players can make up missed practices by attending the practice of another Red Star team.

7. Financially, what type of commitment is involved in competitive soccer?
Please take a look at our
fee structure, which is updated on a seasonal basis.


8. Does Red Star offer scholarships?
Yes, please take a look at our
scholarship policy.

Game Times

1. When are the games played?
Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, although some may be scheduled for an occasional weeknight evening.

2. How far will we have to travel?
U-12 and below will play mainly play in their local region. However, they will be expected to travel further afield when the team participates in Nor Cal State Cup. U13 and above (no teams yet) - dependent upon your team’s level of competition you might be expected to travel out of state for tournaments and throughout Northern California for competitive league play.

3. How is the schedule established?
The Technical Director and coaching staff will set the competitive schedule. To minimize conflicts, the staff will request from families any known schedule conflicts at the beginning of the season.


1. What is involved in entering a tournament?
Soccer tournaments are held at various times throughout the year. They are an excellent way to raise your level of competition. They are also fun and a great way to meet and compete with players from other parts of California and sometimes out-of-state. The Technical Director and coaching staff will pick the tournaments that fit in to our annual plan. (Typically, tournaments are held on holiday weekends, such as Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Memorial Day).

2. Where are these tournaments held?
Actually, tournaments are held all over the country (even internationally). It is sometimes fun to travel in order to compete against teams which you would not normally meet in regular league season play.

3. Are tournaments 1-day events?
Sometimes, but more often they are 2-day events. Many times, a team will play 2 games on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Occasionally, there are games on Friday night.

4. This sounds like high intensity - is it?
It can be, although for the younger teams, it’s usually just for fun. There are, however, awards given at the end of the tournaments for first & second places and sometimes third for (U11 +). The younger age brackets (U9-U10) are typically all given participation awards for tournaments.


1. How are coaches chosen?
Coaches are hand selected by the Technical Director and approved by the Board of Directors. We will contract only professional coaches who will assist in accomplishing our
Mission in alignment with our player development Philosophy.

2. Are there specific prerequisites needed for becoming a coach?
Yes. All our coaches are required to have a coaching license. Our goal is to have every coach on our staff nationally licensed (US Soccer C/NSCAA National Diploma or higher).

3. If I have concerns regarding my child’s playing time or some other type of concern regarding the coach, how should I handle it?
Unhappy parents must first try to resolve the issue with their coach.  If that doesn’t bring a resolution, parents’ next step is to appeal to the Technical Director. If the TD cannot mediate a resolution, parents can go to the Red Star Board.

4. How many coaches are there for each team?
Typically, each team will have one head coach. However, the staff quickly gets to know all the players in the age group, and work together in the best interest of each individual.


1. Once teams are formed, what is the next step?
All accepted players will be sent an email invitation to register for the competitive program. Registration and payment must be made within 48 hours of the invite, or this will be seen as non-acceptance of the invitation. We will then invite the next player from the wait list.

2. What do I as a parent need to do to register my child?
Parents will be asked to email a couple of documents to the
Red Star Registrar, as follows:

A. A US Club medical release form signed by both parent/guardian and player.
B. A scanned copy of the child’s birth certificate (if Red Star doesn’t already have one).

3. Where can I get all of these forms?
You will be able to access a pre-populated US Club Medical form after registration.

4. Is there anything else I need to know about the registration process?
Only that your child will be "carded". In other words, once the Registrar receives all necessary materials, small player I.D. cards will be typed with your child’s name, team name, and individual I.D. #. The cards will then be laminated and returned to the team managers.

5. What is the purpose of the I.D. card?
These cards are necessary for participation in each game. The manager will keep these cards (the coaches are carded as well) and give them to each of the referees before the start of each game. Each team member is required to line up to have his/her card checked by the ref. (This is the time when the ref. will also check the child’s shin guards and cleats to be sure they are regulation - safety is of the utmost importance).


1. Does each team choose its own uniform?
No. There is a regulation
uniform and training kit for all Red Star players, which you will probably be able to see samples of before ordering. Note: The Adidas Tiro jerseys are a performance cut and tend to run a size small. Once you join Red Star, other optional items will be available to order.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.