East Bay United Soccer Club & Bay Oaks Soccer
- NOTE: In 2011, Bay Oaks Soccer Club and Rockridge Soccer Club merged to form East Bay United Soccer Club (EBU). Some EBU teams still use the Bay Oaks name. See Rockridge Soccer Club for reviews prior to 2011.
Bay Oaks vs. Montclair Clippers Soccer Teams
Our 8 year old boy will be trying out for a competitive soccer team. We're ambivalent about the cost and time commitment. He wants to play on a competitive team. We would like him to be challenged, as he's getting the idea on his rec team that he can be one of the better players without practicing or much effort.
We'd appreciate any insight on Bay Oaks and the Montclair Clippers: location of practices and games, real costs (Bay Oaks site says $825, $137 uniform, additional costs for end of year party, registration for jamborees and play dates; Clippers has different costs for team w/ professional coach (do you get assigned or can you choose?), $95 uniform). Both have summer camps, but Bay Oaks appear to be half days while Clippers are full-day. (We work, so 1/2 day's not practical, how much does it matter if he doesn't go to the club's summer camp?). Volunteer requirements. Do team parents tend to carpool to games and practices, to alleviate some of the time demands, or do parents want to watch their kids?
Anyway, we'd like to do this without it taking over our lives (too much). Is one or the other of these clubs more likely to do that? Thank you, BPNers
My son has participated in Bay Oaks for one year, after playing rec for 4.5 years. Overall, I am very pleased with the program. I thought we only (only!) paid about $700 for the year, but maybe that is the difference between state and regional levels. Yes, the uniform is pricey, as is paying for tournaments (State Cup is $800+ for team, if I remember correctly, so per player it's not too prohibitive). I think my son's coaches are terrific--low-key and supportive, but I think they are making the boys be better players. There is a big time commitment--2 practices a week, 1.5 hours each time. They've been at different places in Alameda. Home games are at Alameda Point. Yes, parents do watch the games, bring snacks, etc. I think many of the boys on our team have worked out carpools, including us. I know other families who are very happy with the Clippers also, but I don't know anything about them.
If you sign up for one session by a certain date, a second session is free. So we paid for the morning session and got the afternoon session for free--thus we had full-day camp (this is Bay Oaks I'm referring to).
The answer will vary from year-to-year and team-to-team as each club will generally field multiple teams at each age group depending on the turnout at tryouts. There are generally more teams at the younger age groups and fewer at the older age groups as kids drop various sports due to the time commitments.
Both Clubs at this time play in the NorCal League for competitive with a few teams playing in ECNL and the Jack London Youth League for Rec. Depending on skill level of the teams the clubs will determine whether the teams will play at the National Premier (NPL), State or Regional levels in the NorCal. NPL teams generally require the greatest time commitment and travel. Generally, 3 practices per week, year round play 4-6 tournaments. travel can be as far as Fresno. NPL doesn't start until they are older, i.e,. under 14s. State Level teams generally practice 2 times per week, play Fall and Spring with 3-4 tournaments. Teams are generally within a one and 1/2 hour drive. Regional teams practice 2 times per week, play Fall and sometimes Spring with 2-3 tournaments.
Teams are generally within a one hour drive if not shorter. These are ball parks and will vary depending on the opponents that are flighted with your team. Your child will be placed on teams based on his/her performance at tryouts. You can always opt to play in a lower flight team if one exist.
For your specific questions:
- We'd appreciate any insight on Bay Oaks and the Montclair Clippers: location of practices and games:
From my recollection Bay Oaks uses Alameda fields, specifically Point fields for practices. They have at times also used Raimondi Field in Oakland. Montclair has a variety of fields in Oakland. Practices have been generally held at Merritt College, King Estates MS or Shepherds Canyon.
- Real costs (Bay Oaks site says $825, $137 uniform, additional costs for end of year party, registration for jamborees and play dates)
It will vary by club, team and number of jamborees. You could approximate $30 per player per jamboree.
- Clippers has different costs for team w/ professional coach (do you get assigned or can you choose?), $95 uniform).
Depends on the team your child is selected for. More of a team decision to go with a volunteer or professional coach. Per above you can always to choose to play for a less competitive, generally less expensive team if one is fielded at that age group.
- Both have summer camps, but Bay Oaks appear to be half days while Clippers are full-day. (We work, so 1/2 day's not practical, how much does it matter if he doesn't go to the club's summer camp?)
It is generally recommended that players attend the summer camps with their teams. For Montclair Competitive teams at least one summer camp is included with the player fee.
- Volunteer requirements.
Yes! Generally fairly minimal... but HELP is required to keep the clubs and games going for all the kids who want to play!
- Do team parents tend to carpool to games and practices, to alleviate some of the time demands, or do parents want to watch their kids?
Depends on the team and parents.
With all of this being said, your best bet for a great soccer experience is to take your son to multiple club tryouts. Check out the coaches, families and other players. See if you player fits with the coaches plan and philosophy. It makes a difference. Long time soccer mom, both Bay Oaks and Clippers
Re: Class 1 or Class 3 Soccer?
Can anyone tell me what playing for Bay Oaks soccer is like? I have a U9 player. I don't want him to lose his joy in soccer if it is too grueling or competitive among the team members. The training seems great, but I want to be realistic about my own limits--is it all weekend, every weekend? I am wondering if we are better off only trying out for Class 3 soccer. (Sting in Rockridge, in our case, any comments about Sting are also appreciated). Thank you! anon
Hi - I have 2 kids who play for Bay Oaks now after playing rec soccer. My kids LOVE to play soccer and that love has been increased by playing at the higher level and with trained coaches with lots of coaching experience. I have found that for kids that are very skilled, playing at the higher level is more satisfying for them because they get better faster, they're playing with more skilled kids and they're playing against other really skilled kids.
In terms of the practice time commitment, from what I know from all my friends with kids in the class III programs is that it's exactly the same. In Bay Oaks our kids have 2 practices per week (U9 and U11) which is the same as the Sting teams. I'm less sure about the number of games/weekend average for Sting, but for BO we usually play 1 or 2 games per weekend (pretty evenly split). The difference is that the 'away' BO games are very much away - in places like Concord, Fremont, Pleasenton, Manteca, Sacramento, Burlingame, etc. I don't think the class III teams go that far. So we carpool and work it out.
BO at the younger ages plays the fall season from mid-August through mid-December. There's a break in games and practices over the winter until the next try-out in February, although many teams do futsal or Bladium 1x per week but it's pretty casual. In the spring they go back into 2x per week practices and about 1 game per weekend from March - end of May. June and July are off. As the kids get older the schedules shift in the calendar.
What I've heard from parents with experience with both class III and Bay Oaks is that the coaching is the real difference between the two. The BO coaches are really really good - many have years and years of coaching experience, and the club works with them all on a monthly basis to make sure everyone is coaching to the same set of development-focused standards (as opposed to win-at-all-costs coaching which you see in other class I clubs). Better coaching means more skilled soccer players and a more developed sense of the game.
Yes, we spend most every weekend from August to December going to soccer games (I think we've had 2 entirely soccer-free weekends so far this fall) but the kids love it and love their teams and coaches. I would suggest your child try out for both Bay Oaks and a class III team and see what happens.
I have 3 kids who play Bay Oaks and none of them have missed a single school event ever and have missed maybe a total of 4 birthdays over the last 2 years. It's really up to the parents and the child to choose if a school event should come before soccer. The coaches our kids have had with Bay Oaks have never said a word to us when we've chosen to put some other event over soccer. Birthday parties - well, I generally leave that decision up to my kids and they usually decide to play with the team, but the important thing is that it is the child's choice. Again, it's about the parents deciding the priorities.
It is not a year-round league. There are 2 month breaks in the winter and summer. In the winter many kids play soccer once/week but it's very casual. In the summer the kids don't have to do anything at all. Our kids swim, cycle and play tennis when they're not playing soccer, and I know other BO kids who do martial arts, theater, dance and a whole bunch of other physical activities. So doing BO at U9 is not necessarily specializing unless you choose to.
For the pre-teen age groups, the kids only practice twice a week. Our son's team added a 3rd conditioning practice for 6 weeks right in the beginning of the fall season (August - Sept) and our daughter's team added 4 weeks of Sutton Soccer at that same time of year. The rest of the fall practices were only 2x per week and the same in the spring. Once the kids' bodies are more developed, many teams have a 3rd practice that's either conditioning only or Sutton. Conditioning can be running/sprinting or swimming.
The Bay Oaks coaches want the kids to be physically and socially well-balanced, healthy and love soccer. Anon.