There are more than 250 youth soccer clubs throughout Washington, providing youth soccer players three general commitment- and performance-level options to choose from when looking for the right fit: recreational, select and premier soccer.
At one end of the spectrum are recreational programs, which start as early as age four, and which are designed for players to have fun in a safe environment, foster friendships, stay physically fit, develop some basic soccer and life skills, and begin to enjoy the game of soccer. Recreational soccer is typically played in the fall, and in our area, is offered through our affiliate members at Eastside Youth Soccer Association.
Select soccer is available to players, beginning at U11 or U12, and offers a higher level of play for approximately nine months of the year. It usually appeals to the player seeking a higher level of competition, but not able or willing to commit to a year-round program. For some, select soccer is the answer for the athlete involved in more than one sport. Generally, the travel, cost and time commitment is less than that of the premier program, but more than recreational. Select soccer, in our area, is offered through our affiliate members at Eastside Youth Soccer Association.
Eastside FC is a premier soccer club, representing the highest level of youth soccer in Washington for players, beginning at ages 8 and 9 through U18/19, involving year-round play, and offering more intensive skills development and higher levels of competition. Premier soccer requires a greater commitment from players, parents and coaches, places a greater emphasis on winning, and, at the older ages, is considered the best path to playing collegiate-level soccer.
Premier soccer has paid coaches, who are typically long-time players of the game and have USSF national “D” soccer coaching licenses or above. More experienced coaching generally translates to a better player experience. At Eastside FC, where we place a strong emphasis on great coaching, three quarters of our coaches have a national “C” license or better. Fully a third have earned an “A” license, which requires them to understand all aspects of the game, including FIFA Laws, strategy and tactics, psychology and team management, physiology,… qualifying them to coach at the highest levels of US youth soccer.
Premier teams practice and play all year long with a few breaks, usually during the end-of-year holidays and sometimes, depending on the team, for a short period during the summer. Teams can expect to play in premier-level tournaments throughout the year, especially in spring and summer, with increasing travel for the older ages.
Premier teams at Eastside FC play in the Regional Club League (RCL) through Washington Youth Soccer, which is affiliated with US Youth Soccer and the US Soccer Federation (USSF). Some also play in the Far West Regional League (FWRL), also affiliated with US Youth Soccer; some play in the Northwest Champions League (NWCL), affiliated with US Club Soccer; and a handful play in the US National League, also affiliated with US Youth Soccer.