Soccer for Teens & Pre-Teens

Parent Q&A

  • Soccer skills for pre teen

    (3 replies)

    My not-very-athletic sixth grader has missed the soccer boat and is yearning to get on. He is not very good and feels embarrassed at school because he can't play and kids either laugh at him or won't invite him to play. He doesn't want to join a team as he feels like most kids his age have mastered the basics. Is there a friendly, supportive environment in which he can build his skills without being thrown into a competitive environment?

    RE: Soccer skills for pre teen ()

    UC Village has youth beginning soccer classes for kids up to 11 years old. So as a 6th grader, he'll need to be OK with being the oldest kid there. All local soccer clubs have recreational teams that are less competitive but they nevertheless still play against other local teams -- and teams have already been formed for the fall season with practices and games in full swing. An alternative may be for him to look up some "youth beginning soccer skills" videos on Youtube. There are loads from the very basics to more advanced footwork and tips. All he'll need is a soccer ball and he can start working on his basic footwork and shooting skills. Watching actual soccer matches (on TV or online) and playing Fifa video games can also teach him a lot about the soccer and help him (and you) assess whether he's up to joining a rec team in the spring.

    Good luck!

    RE: Soccer skills for pre teen ()

    Hi there! I have a 7th grader, and he used to play soccer for about 4 years. He was never super good at it, never really enjoyed it that much, but mostly did it because friends from his school did it and that made it fun. When he started middle school last year, the soccer became super competitive. That is just not him. So a friend asked him to try running track with him. It has changed his life! I realize that maybe not all kids would take to it like he did, but there are about 100 kids in his school that run, and they all find something in it that they like, all sizes, heights, body types. You can be competitive, or not. But basically you get to run around all afternoon with your friends, and the boys joke around and wrestle a lot, too. I think that some of the smaller schools may have tryouts and limit the amount of kids to just the most serious athletes. This is a shame! Shouldn't we be encouraging all kids who want to get off their screens and run around to develop something that can turn into a lifelong fitness habit?? Even if a school has a tryout cross-country/track program, there are local teams that he could join (my son is part of the Raptors as well as being on his middle school team.) As a parent, I love it because it is pretty simple to get started, you need some good shoes and you just start running. And a good coach will encourage each kid to improve from their own starting point; not to strive to be number one, but to challenge themselves to shave a few seconds off of their own personal record. You are part of a team, and yet it is still very individual. It is great for kids who are just not into the aggressive turn that soccer takes at their ages. Best to you guys!

    RE: Soccer skills for pre teen ()

    What about finding a local high schooler who plays soccer to kick the ball around with your child and provide tips and tricks?

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Indoor soccer for 14 year old

Jan 2015

Help! My 14 year old son was signed up for indoor soccer with ABSC, but he did not get on a team (apparently there are none for his age). We've been waiting since the end of October and only now just found out with only 10 days to go before the season starts. Does anyone know of an indoor soccer team, league, anything where he can play? He even got the expensive shoes for x-mas! vl

There is an indoor futsal league at albany/el cerrito ( and indoor soccer at Bladium ( Both have leagues starting next week for 14 year olds. At both I think you can register as an at large player (not associated with a team). soccer mom

Soccer Team for Experienced U19 Girl

Aug 2013

Hoping someone knows of an East Bay U19 girls soccer team that needs a player. Prefer Oakland, where we live, but Berkeley or Alameda would be OK, too. My daughter has played for various Montclair Soccer Club teams since 3rd grade, including three years on a select team. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication from her former coach, my daughter and I missed registration for the fall seasson, and I've been told MSC's U19 girls teams are full. My daughter is a good player, and wants to play for fun and exercise. Soccer Mom

Regarding a soccer team, if she is the U17 age group (born after July 31, 1996) there may be space on the U17 Piedmont Highlander Girls. soccer mom

Hi- my daughter's U19 soccer team Blue Fury needs 1-2 more players. It is a rec level team and practices at Gilman West Wed and Fri 5:30-7. The coach is Maurice Arroyo. Contact Debbie Young, the ABSC Registrar, Albany Berkeley Soccer Club comp_registrar [at] and ask to play with Blue Fury. Or alternately come find the team practicing on Wed at Gilman West if you want to meet the girls and see the overall quality of play.

The Blue Fury team is U19 recreational, and is in the Albany Berkeley Soccer Club, and they would love more girls. The coach is Maurice Arroyo Contact him and/or the league. Sally

2010 - 2012 Recommendations

Soccer Camp (Sleepaway) for Teen

June 2012

I'm hoping to persuade my 16-yr old daughter to go to a sleepaway camp for a week or two this summer. I'd like recommendations for a soccer camp that emphasizes the fun of playing over preparing for scholarships, Olympic trials and the like. My daughter has played for eight years, so she's not a beginner. If the camp included the possibility of horseback riding, that would be a bonus. But primary goal (no pun intended) is a fun, friendly healthy camp where she can play and learn new skills. Soccer Mom

My kids adore Two Rivers Soccer Camp ! It's about a four hour drive from the East Bay, north of Truckee. They will be headed there soon for their fifth summer. There are regular one week camps and then they have something called Soccer Plus which is two weeks and includes extra activities (horseback riding is one of them). We haven't done Soccer Plus, so can't comment on that part of it, but the camp is fantastic. The coaches and counselors are all nice, helpful, encouraging folks. They come from all over the world and many of the coaches have high level licenses. A lot of the kids are on competitive teams at home, but all skill levels are welcome (my daughter has always played recreational soccer, my son has played on both kinds of teams), no one is disparaged, and everyone learns something. Feel free to contact me if you want more information. Lucy

Competitive Soccer in Lamorinda for U12 boy

Oct 2010

I am looking for some competitive soccer options in the Lamorinda area for a U12 boy. The only one I can find is Lamorinda soccer which has only one team per age group for the whole area. From what I can tell these teams have been together for a while and seem to be full. Any options besides a recreational team???? Thanks for your suggestions anon

There are 2 main ways kids play soccer in Lamorinda. One is through Lamorinda Soccer Club, or LMSC. Website is: The other is OYA (Orinda Youth Association) soccer (Lafayette has their own league as well)and Moraga kids play either with Lafayette or Orinda as they do not have their own. Website:{E2F1F509-52D6-4144-BBBD-97C8E67C909C} Basically OYA is for the kids who enjoy it and want to have fun and improve, and LMSC is for the kids who are more competitive and can play at a pretty high level. HTH! anon

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Soccer team for 12-year old daughter

March 2008

My 12-year old daughter is interested in playing soccer and we were wondering what people thought of the various possibilities in and around Berkeley. There does not seem to have been much recent discussion on the board and we were hoping to hear some up-to-date opinions on the soccer scene for kids. John

My 12-year-old daughter plays with the Mersey Soccer Club , . They hold practices at King Middle School Field on Hopkins in Berkeley. It's very convenient to always practice in the same place (she used to be in another club and every season they had to switch practice fields). Mersey's focus is on teaching good soccer skills to kids of all ages. There are teams for boys and girls from under-6 to under-14. The club hires soccer coaches instead of relying on parent volunteers. Typically the coaches are young and enthusiastic, and most have many years of experience playing on league, high school and college teams.

Practices start on Monday the 17th, with the first spring season games the weekend of March 29th, so this is a good time to register. You can do it directly from the website above. I know there are still spots open on many Mersey teams for the spring. You do not have to have any experience to join. A new girl just joined my daughter's team, and she has never played soccer before.

Soccer is a great game, especially for middle school girls! :) Mersey soccer mom

Your daughter would likely be eligible to play on an Under 14 team (U14) in the fall, depending on her birthday. Not sure what age group she would be in if she were playing this spring.

In Berkeley, many kids play on a team on the Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club (ABSC) . The ABSC is part of the Alameda-Contra Costa League and plays games with teams from El Cerrito, Richmond and San Pablo. Another Berkley team called Mersey also is in the league and plays with these teams. I think Mersey costs a bit more to join, as they have no parent coaches - the hire all the coaches. They are online, too. Some kids also play for a team in the Rockridge club to the south. That club is in a different league (to the south)

There are currently 3 levels of play in the ABSC for the Under 12 and up girls (I think). Division 4 is the recreational level. Division 3 is the first competitive level, and Division 1 is the most competitive level. The league division 1 teams here are called the Mavericks (in case you hear folks mentioning that name, you'll know what they are talking about).

Div 4 sign ups are passed and those teams are beginning practice this week. Call or email the ABSC or another club if you'd like to see if she can still get on a spring team. Div 3 tryouts for the fall season for girls just happened this past weekend (3/15 & 16). Not sure how it works to get on teams after the tryouts. Call and ask the clubs' registrars. Sometimes kids change their minds between now and the fall and space may open up.

Tryouts for the fall for Div 1 Mavericks happend two weekends ago.

Some middle schools have teams. Cal has soccer summer camp offered by the women's team, and has some short clinics from time to time, too. Soccer Mom

Winter soccer league for 13-year-old

Nov 2007

My daughter's recreational soccer season just ended, but she still wants to play! I've been searching desperately for opportunities, but the only one I've found is an hour and a half commute! Does any one know of opportunities close to where we live? We live in Oakley, which is between Brentwood and Antioch. We're east of Oakland. Thank you!

My Daughter's team is currently playing at The Bladium in Alameda. It is fast-paced and a lot of fun. You can get more information at or just Google ''Bladium''. The fall season just started and will end at the end of Jan. The winter season will start right after that. Usually whole teams sign up together but your daughter might be able to join a team that is already registered and needs more players. You can contact Luis at Bladium for more info. He is the person in charge of the soccer there. Please feel free to contact me for more info. Good luck, Shawn

Recreational soccer team for teen

Nov 2007

My daughter did not make the cut for the soccer team at BHS. She used to play (Albany-Berkeley and El Cerrito) but at this point it has been years since she played. I do not know why she suddenly wanted to play again, but my question is: is there a team/league/etc. for kids who are not highly skilled but want to play with others? Gone are the days of intramural sports through the school, apparently. I see adults getting together for fun every weekend in the parks. Any suggestions? what's a teen to do

My daughter was in the same boat yours is when she was a freshman at BHS, and as you've found, there was no more class IV (recreational) soccer through the Albany-Berkeley club at that age. We switched to the Jack London league ( and she joined a Rockridge team. She's now a senior and has been on the same team the whole four years and loves it. The level of playing varies, since there are no tryouts, but it's fun and low-key. I've sometimes wondered if BHS is big enough to support a few intramural soccer teams, the way colleges do. That would make the games and practices closer to home, but short of that, this has been a good alternative and has kept her playing. soccer mom

My condolences. You are right that high school teams and the few older club teams tend to be competitive and exclusionary-- partly because those still playing are self- selected. Here are some other recreational soccer possibilities to look into:
1. Spring Under-16 girls soccer team (Class 4) with Albany- Berkeley Soccer Club (register in January).
2. City of Berkeley adult coed soccer league (may have minimum age of 18 for women)
3. City College PE classes
4. Recreational pick-up games listed at There used to be an all-ages game Sunday mornings at Catalfo, and another all-men game Saturday and Sunday afternoons at San Pablo Park. My husband travels an hour on weekends to an all-ages friendly game he's played in for over 20 years. Perhaps when the Gilman fields are finished, there can be a local one.
5. San Francisco women's league.
good luck

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Soccer for beginner 12 yr old?

April 2005

My daughter has been shy about commpetitive sports in the past and has finnally agreed to try a soccer team. We were told that the spring would be a good time to try to find a team but upon reading past posting, and some of the clubs schedules, I am starting to worry that I waited to long since the try-outs passed already.(not that she would have agreed to a try-out.) I am wondering if there are any teams that would take a begginer this late in the game, maybe without making her try- out. I have been told by her P.E. teacher that she is a gifted athlete, though she is not very confident in her skills. If anybody has any leads on a low key team in the oakland/berkeley area I would greatly appreciate it. Wants to be a soccer mom

You're a bit late for the spring but this is a prime time to register for the fall. Jack London league registration (which covers Rockridge/Montclair & sounds like what you want) can be found at -- go there NOW!. There are no ''tryouts'' for class IV (what we call ''house'' or ''recreational'') teams and that is where your daughter should start. There is plenty of time for class III (e.g., Rockridge String) or class I (JLYSL Bay Oaks) soccer if she proves to have the talent. Have fun the first year.

You need to look for a club with ''Recreational'' level of soccer (also known as Class IV). The recreational level accepts beginners at all age levels, no try-outs! Although sign-ups for spring already occurred in February, you can try Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club (part of the Alameda-Contra Costa Youth Soccer League ( to see if you can find a team. The Jack London Youth Soccer League in Oakland also has recreational teams. If it doesn't work for the spring, don't give up; registration for fall recreational teams takes place in May. Jody

Also recommended:

  • The Bladium in Alameda

    2003 & Earlier

    Beginning soccer for a 12 yr old?

    March 2003

    My 12 year old has been looking longingly at soccer teams, but feeling that she has completely missed the boat. She feels (and I am concerned this might be true) if she didn't start learning soccer as a 6 year old, then it's too late for her. She's really never played any soccer in her life. Are there any BEGINNING soccer classes for older kids? Too late?

    It is never too late to start soccer and I know of a wonderful socer camp that handles beginners beautifully and really makes them feel as if they are not at a loss compared to the more experienced players (the ones who have been playing since they were four)! Super Soccer does camps all over Northern California. I know they are having one right now in Mountain View, every Friday after school. He constantly has camps running in various places, hopefully one is close to you. This would be a great way for her to get involved. Phil Scicluna is the coach. His number is 650-799-5854 and his email address is supersoccerrocksATyahooDOTcom . Our whole family has trained with him and we really enjoy it! I highly recommed it for all ages! Good Luck! Tamina
    It is not too late for your daughter to start soccer and Spring is an excellent time to start. The ''official'' soccer season is fall, Spring soccer is more fun, less competitive and the coaches work on skill building, team building and fun. You didn't say where you live, but most of the area clubs do sponsor Spring soccer. Last year my daughter's team had several new players and by fall they were experienced confident players. I would recommend calling your local club (The Alameda-Contra Costa Soccer website has links to all the area clubs: and call to find out how to register for spring. It would be helpful if she has friends who already play and see if she can play with them. There are usually spaces in Spring as some of the girls who play during the fall play softball in Spring. Good luck. Hallie
    I don't know about girls , but my son's soccer team (10-12 years old this year) in the last 3 years has taken on at least one player/year who had no previous experience. All have quickly mastered the game and are among the team's most valuable players.There are several things that could give your daughter a head start for the fall. 1) See if the league plays spring soccer and if a team is willing to add her for the season. Spring soccer is much less competitive than fall, and would give her a chance to try it out. 2) Sign her up for a spring or summer soccer camp. There is a wide range of skills and ages at most of those camps, and lots of basic skills are taught. (UC rec department has camps, and your community's soccer league could give you some leads as well.) 3) Just get her a ball and let her try out the moves she sees when she watches the sport. (of course my son destroyed our back-yard watering system kicking goals...) Cynthia