Bringing Soccer to Pinellas County Families Since 1970

Comparing Competitive Soccer to Recreational Soccer

Ever wonder what the difference is between Competitive and Recreational soccer? This article tells you the basic differences between the two.

Competitive Soccer is also known as "Club Soccer" and "Travel Soccer" in other states, but is one of the same. This is meant for the aspiring player who wants to take soccer to the next level including college and beyond.

These are some of the areas you will see the difference between Recreational and Competitive soccer.


  • Competitive teams train a minimum of 2 times per week and, in some cases, 3 times per week for 1.5 – 2 hours each time. A strong slant is put on the technical ability of the player and also tactical awareness (this starts around age 13).
  • Recreational teams typically train 1-2 times per week for 1 – 1.5 hours each time – varies greatly depending on age.
  • Both groups learn teamwork and how to translate that to the field of play. Training typically includes information, skill training and fun!


  • Competitive coaches are normally licensed and have played at a high level of soccer. Coaches receive fees for their services, which vary depending on licensure and experience. Coaches normally serve a period of 3 years with any given team, unless a just reason can be given for an extended period.
  • Recreational coaches are typically parents who play or have played soccer. This level of service fulfills the parental volunteer requirement for their child/children.

Commitment Level and Attendance

  • Competitive players agree to a much higher commitment level and are required to attend all scheduled training sessions, games and tournaments. Lack of attendance may reduce game playing time.
  • Recreational players are expected to attend all scheduled practice sessions, games and the included GYSA tournament at the end of the season. Lack of attendance at practice may reduce game playing time.


  • Competitive players’ parents sign a contract for the season agreeing to both expectations and financial commitments.
  • Recreational players’ parents agree to expectations and financial commitments when signing up online.


Competitive soccer is more expensive than Recreational soccer.


  • Competitive game travel is normally within 60 minutes of Puryear Park and requires approximately 50% of games to be away games. Tournament travel can be further, depending on where the tournament location is.
  • Usually, all recreational games are played at Puryear Park. Occasionally, teams will play a team nearby once or twice per season. The one recreational tournament included in a season is typically no more than 45 minutes away.


  • Normally, Competitive teams will attend 2 to 3 tournaments per season with either an FYSA Region C or State Cup end of regular game season tournament. All tournament fees are funded by the parents (often accomplished with fundraising).
  • Recreational teams play in one end of season tournament typically. There are options for additional tournaments.


  • Competitive players are required to wear training uniform to all training sessions and are required to purchase and wear both home and away game uniforms.
  • Recreational players receive the one game uniform they need from the Club. Practice attire is any appropriate soccer clothing (cleats, shin guards, socks, athletic shorts, t-shirt).

Game Schedules

  • Junior Season, ages 8-14, normally starts at the end of October and finishes in February or March.
  • Senior season, ages 15-18, starts in August and pauses in October (for school soccer season) then resumes in February until April.

Recreational season is similar to the competitive Junior season – normally starts the end of October and finishes in February or March.

League and Affiliations


US Club Soccer

West Ham United






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3 Daughters Brewing

After School Kicks

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