If you're just starting out in our region -- or even if you've been here a while! -- you may hear about "tournaments" and "spring select" and wonder what it's all about.
Area tournaments are held the first weekend of December. Our area includes the regions of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Portola Valley, and of course Menlo Park. The top 16 teams in U12 and U14 across these six regions participate in tournaments. For a number of years, we have hosted the BU12 tournament. Los Altos/Sunnyvale jointly manage the GU12 tournament, while Palo Alto organizes the GU14 tournament, and our BU14 players head for Mountain View. The winners of the area tournament play in a section tournament the following weekend. The section tournament includes teams from all over northern California and beyond, so just participating in that tournament is a major accomplishment.
Team selection for the tournaments is based on overall team records for the fall season. If your child plays in U12/U14, her/his team may be invited to the area tournament. It's a lot of fun, and almost never rains.
Spring select is designed for players in divisions U9 and above who are committed to the sport and want to participate in a competitive league in the spring. The Pacific Coast Spring Soccer League (PCSSL) runs the league, so our region does not set the rules, manage the schedules, or maintain standings. But as long as enough coaches volunteer, any number of teams from Menlo Park can join the league. We typically hold tryouts in the fall, and practices begin in early winter. Games start in March and culminate with a Memorial Day weekend tournament in Davis, California. Teams can also choose to participate in smaller tournaments held in Bay Area cities including Palo Alto, Pacifica, and Concord. Note that these tournaments, unlike the Area tournaments described above, are hosted by individual soccer regions, not by PCSSL or by the Area. About half the regular games are at home; the others are played in peninsula and south bay cities. All regular games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon; tournaments typically consume the better part of a weekend (in the case of Davis, a three-day weekend).