Frequently Asked Questions

USSF U14, U16 and U18 Santa Cruz Breakers Academy Tryouts

How do I attend USSF U14, U16 and U18 Academy Tryouts?

The offcial tryouts are usually held in July.  Academy clubs are not allowed to have official tryouts during the competititve season. However,if you are interested in joining one of our Academy teams during the competitive season, please contact the Breakers Academy club. You will be invited to a training session for evaluation. 

Junior and Pre-Academy Tryouts

How do I attend a Breakers Junior Academy (U8-U11) and Breakers Pre-Academy (U12-U13) Tryout?

A player can be evaluated at anytime throughout the year. However, the official tryouts for these age groups are held between December and February. Check the tryouts announcement for more information.

What should my player wear and bring at tryouts?

Each player should bring a water bottle and a soccer ball with their name on it. All players should wear shin guards. Also, players should wear proper soccer attire. No metal cleats will be allowed and wearing jewelry is highly discouraged.

Who are the evaluators during tryouts?

Only qualified Santa Cruz Breakers Academy coaching staff are involved in evaluating the players during tryouts.

What age should my player tryout for? 

All the players are recommended to tryout for their own age group. In some cases, it makes sense for a player to tryout at an older age group.  A player cannot tryout at a younger age group.  For information regarding Junior Academy and Pre-Academy age groups, see the NorCal Premier age chart.  Academy age groups are based on the calendar year (January 1st-December 31st).

Who will decide if my player will be playing up?

The coaching staff will discuss with the family the recommendation for the player and with the family will make the proper decision in the best interest of the player.

Will my players receive any feedback from the tryout?

Each family will be notified individually by a Santa Cruz Breakers Academy coaching staff member (usually the head coach) within 48 hours of the last scheduled tryouts about your player’s placement in the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy club. You will have the opportunity to ask him questions about your player's evaluation.

Is there a cost associated with the attendance of my player at a Breakers tryouts?

No, tryouts are free.

Where are tryouts being held?

Because players in the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy have been coming from different areas of Santa Cruz County and the central coast, tryouts are usually held at a central location in mid-county such as Cabrillo College. Tryouts are held rain or shine. However, it is your responsibility to double check with a club official before you leave for any last minute change that could occur due to circumstances out of the control of the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy. A parent can also request to have a member of the Santa Cruz Breakers Coaching Staff come evaluate a player during a game.

Teams & Training

How many teams do you have at each age group?

We may form 2 teams at the U8-U11 age groups. From U12 and up, we usually have one team per age group. Occasionally, we have two teams when the numbers and quality allow us to create them and be competitive at the gold and premier levels.

How many players do you usually have on each team?

At the U8-U11 age groups, we can carry 13 players on game day while a team could register a maximum of 18 players. At the U12-U18 levels, we usually register 18 players per team and 18 are allowed to dress on game day. At the U14, U16, U18 Academy level, we usually have 24 players on a roster. Players are designated as Full Time players (FT) which means that they can play only for the Academy, or as Developmental Players (DP) which means that they can also play on a Breakers Academy club team as well as the Academy team.  However, a DP player can only play up to 6 games with the Academy before he becomes a FT player.  Usually we assign our younger players as DPs in order to provide them with additional challenge and growth opportunities while allowing them to receive playing time with their club team as well.

How many seasons do the teams play?

Our Junior Academy (U8-U11) and Pre-Academy (U-12-U13) teams train and play year round.  Our schedule is similar to European Academy schedules, with about a two-week break around the winter holidays and about a 3-week break in the summer. We start in the first week of January (when school starts) and prepare for the spring league (March-June). During this period we also play one or two tournaments and most teams participate in NorCal State Cup. Depending on the age and the level, teams usually take a summer break in June/July. Summer is usually the tournament season and a team can attend up to 3 tournaments at the most until Labor Day weekend. Then, teams compete in the Fall season (September-November) as well as the qualifying rounds of State Cup.

What about the U14, U16, U18 USSF Academy calendar?

Our 3 teams start their pre-season in early August and the first competitive phase begins in September, ending with the Winter Showcase in December. The teams then take a short winter break during the holidays and resume the second competitive phase, of training and games in January. This phase ends with the playoffs and summer showcase in the end of June.

How do I attend USSF U14, U16 and U18 Academy Tryouts?

The offcial tryouts are usually held in July.  Academy clubs are not allowed to have official tryouts during the competititve season. However,if you are interested in joining one of our Academy teams during the competitive season, please contact the Breakers Academy club. You will be invited to a training session for evaluation. 

Can my player guest play with another Santa Cruz Breakers Academy team?

Yes, but only up and not down. However, it needs to be coordinated with the Breakers coaching staff.

Do managers have a say in player movements or coaching decision?

Absolutely not. Only the coach makes coaching decisions.

How much playing time my player will receive?

This is perhaps the most common and sensitive question. At the U12 and below, coaches try to balance the playing time within the roster as much as possible. At the U13 and up the same philosophy applies but it varies depending on the level and competitiveness of the team. However, it is important to focus on the quality of the playing instead of the quantity of the playing time.

How many training sessions does a team have a week?

The younger U8-U10 teams will train 2 times a week.  The Pre-Academy teams train 3 times a week.  The Academy teams train 4 times a week.

What can I do if my player would like to train more?

The Santa Cruz Breakers Academy also offers private individual training and small group training to complement the team training. It is a valuable option for the player who would like to take their game to the next level.

Does the club offer Goalkeeper (GK) Training?

Yes, the club has a GK Director who trains all the GK’s on a regular basis during the week. Families can complement the club training session with extra GK sessions with the Breakers GK Director.

Fees, Fundraising & Scholarships

If my player makes the team, what are the costs?

Competitive soccer is more expensive than the recreational soccer opportunities offered by the local clubs during the fall season due to higher quality trainings, facilities, and events. With the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy players will receive more frequent and higher quality training and game contacts throughout the year with professional coaches. The families have many payment options such as installments and credit card payments. We are proud to say that the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy is one of the least expensive premier soccer clubs that uses professional coaches in Northern California.

Is the Breakers Uniform Kit included in the club fees? 

No. Each player is responsible for purchasing a uniform kit.  Usually uniform kits change every two years. A complete uniform kit includes home and away jersey, shorts, socks, backpack, warm ups and training T–shirts. All Breakers uniforms are high-quality NIKE brand and come with logos, lettering and numbers. The player’s kit cost roughly $ 330.00. We offer both adult and youth sizes.

What are the travel expenses for a competitive team? 

Each individual is responsible for its travel costs to training, games and tournaments. The Santa Cruz Breakers Academy highly recommends that families arrange carpooling as much as possible. Travel expenses will vary from team to team based on the number of tournaments attended and the location of the tournament. Junior Academy teams (U8-U11) and Pre-Academy teams (U12-U13)  usually travel within the Bay Area. Most of the Breakers teams go to a maximum of 4 tournaments a year including Breakers Cup.

Are there hidden costs?

Absolutely not. All families should attend the first parent meeting to clarify any questions related to cost.

Does the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy organize fundraising activities? 

The Santa Cruz Breakers Academy puts effort in several fundraising events throughout the year to offset club costs and offer more financial aid. Teams are strongly encouraged to do their own fundraising as well to offset other expenses associated with running the team successfully.

Does the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy offer financial aid? 

Yes, the U14, U16 and U18 Academy players can apply for scholarships directly through the US Soccer Federation. US Soccer can give financial assistance to qualifying families who wish to play in the Academy.  The application process begins in early August of each year, and the scholarships are usually announced in early September.

Helpful Information

The youth soccer landscape can be difficult to navigate for anyone, especially for new parents. Below are some links that can help you understand the roles and responsibilities of the various organizations to which we belong and with whom we collaborate. 

Only 5 clubs from Northern California have been selected as members of the US Soccer Development Academy.  What is the US Soccer Development Academy?  

Click here to find out more about it,  and click here to view a list of the US Soccer Development clubs in the nation.   Be aware that many clubs call themselves "Academy" but they have no affiliation whatsoever with the US Soccer Development Academy.   Don't be fooled!

What is the US Training Center

What is NorCal Premier?

The league has different levels of competition from the Premier (highest) division to the Nickel (lowest) division.  They also run the NPL for teams that are U14 and above. NorCal Premier division is considered the highest level of competition available at the U13 and below age groups in Northern California.  The highest level of competition available for the U14-U18 age groups is the US Soccer Development Academy. For players not participating in the Academy, the next highest level of competition available is the NPL. Some of these players may have the level to play in the the US Soccer Development Academy as well.

What are PDP and IDP?

This is the NorCal Premier player idenfication program.

What are CYSA and CCSL?  About 90% of the players in our local clubs in Santa Cruz County play at the recreational level. A few other teams in these clubs play in the competitive lower divisions (Silver/Bronze/Copper) of this league.  These clubs include Santa Cruz City Soccer Club, Scotts Valley/SLV Soccer Club, Mid-County Soccer Club, Pajaro Valley Soccer Club (PV also has a few teams that play in NorCal).  The other two non-CYSA clubs in Santa Cruz County are Real Althetico and the SCC Revolution.

What is the difference between the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy and the Santa Cruz Breakers Soccer Club?

Both clubs are part of the Breakers family and work together to provide professional training to motivated and qualified players, in order to help them reach the next level in their development. The Santa Cruz Breakers Academy is in charge of all boys teams and the Santa Cruz Breakers Soccer Club is in charge of all girls teams.


US Soccer
US Soccer Development Academy
Major League Soccer
US Club Soccer
NorCal Premier Soccer League