What is Cincy SC and when are tryouts?

Cincinnati Soccer Club (Cincy SC) is a youth soccer club based in Newtown with over 50 teams and more than 750 players. We provide players and families with a great soccer learning environment, clear parent communications, and a community feel. Our tryouts for Fall-Spring take place near the end of May each year, and you can register now!

What’s the tryout process?

Tryouts shouldn’t be stressful. At Cincy SC, we try to ensure that every player has fun, learns something new, and gets a cool t-shirt with their name on the back. We’ve been told that our tryouts “have a different vibe than others.” Cincy SC tryouts are free, and new players that register get a free tryout t-shirt with their name and favorite number and almost always want to come back the next day. We follow up after tryouts conclude with either an offer to join a team or some suggestions on camps or other supplemental programs if we don’t have a spot.

How is club soccer different than rec soccer?

Club soccer is organized by player birth year, and players try out and generally play on teams with players that were born in the same year as them. Unlike rec soccer, not everyone makes a team, so skill level of the players is typically higher and players want to develop in addition to having fun. All Cincy SC teams are led by professional coaches that are vetted by our directors, maintain several certifications related to safety and soccer knowledge, and both follow and contribute to our coaching philosophy and club curriculum for player development.

What is the commitment?

A club soccer year includes a Fall Season (Aug-Oct) and a Spring Season (Mar-May). In 2023-24, for 2015 and older birth years, most players commit to playing for the full Fall-Spring soccer year, though we do prorate the fees for players that play only part of the year if we know in advance and allow players to train with another Cincy SC team if they have a conflict with their regular training schedule. For 2016 & 2017 players, we treat Fall and Spring as separate seasons and it’s easy to just play one or the other, or both.

The amount of programming varies by age group. Our younger teams (U7-U10) train 2x/week and our older teams (U11+) 3x/week. If you’d like to get an idea of what the schedule would look like, you can take a look at the calendar from the past year for one of our Boys Teams or Girls Teams of the next older birth year. Your upcoming year would look similar.

Travel and time commitment is reasonable – our teams typically play in a local league, some local tournaments, and travel to one out-of-town tournament per season.

What is the cost?

Cincy SC’s fees are a great value compared to other area soccer clubs. Our fees are pretty much all-inclusive, including a professional coach at training and games, uniforms, tournament & league fees, ref fees, field rentals.

Why choose Cincy SC?

There are several other youth soccer clubs in the area, but each year we retain over 80% of our players, and about 90% of the players that we offer accept their spots. We want to have a community feel, not be the biggest, so we have a limit of only 3 teams per age group. We have dozens of 5-star reviews on Google and best-in-class customer satisfaction survey results. And we’re the only club with an awesome Club Song. Cincy SC is the place to be!

What kind of players is Cincy SC looking for?

Our ideal Cincy SC soccer player is coachable, loves soccer, loves coming to training & games, embodies The EPIC Ten, and wants to be challenged and grow. Former Olympians for parents is just a bonus.

Do current Cincy SC players need to register for and attend tryouts?

Yes. Players must register for tryouts to show that they are interested in remaining a member of Cincy SC for the coming year. Attending tryouts each year helps ensure the process is as fair as possible for all players. However, for current Cincy SC players, team placement and offers will be primarily based on how well they’ve performed on the field and lived up to our EPIC Ten over the past year. No player will lose their spot due to injury or family travel plans that prevent them from participating in tryouts.

Are returning players guaranteed a spot with the club?

No, but we will make every effort to keep all Cincy SC players that live up to The EPIC Ten, including practicing on their own and improving as soccer players, and the player and their family being positive members of our community.

Are there any spots for new players?

Yes, but how many varies by age group. New players typically join at our youngest age groups, but there are also more spots when teams move up to a larger field & team size (like 2013s and 2011s who move from 7v7 to 9v9 and 9v9 to 11v11 in 2023-24). Each year, more than 200 new players join the club. We’ll share some specific numbers of players trying out and spots available per gender and age group with parents at tryouts.

What should my player bring to tryouts?

Please bring a properly inflated soccer ball, a water bottle, shin guards, and soccer cleats. If you’ve received your tryout t-shirt already, please wear it, otherwise we should have one for you at check in.

Do I need to attend each day of tryouts?

No, but we strongly encourage new players to attend the first day and as many days as possible to ensure proper placement. We schedule our tryouts to try to provide flexibility for players. We’ll also have supplemental tryouts shortly after our regular tryouts, if we still have spots available.

What if we can’t make the tryout dates?

Still register, but note your conflicts and we may be able to find an alternative. For new players, we may have the option of a supplemental tryout, receiving video of the player, or a private session.

Can I check out the club before tryouts?

Yes. Parents and players are welcome to watch games (all our calendars are public and linked on our Teams pages). Players from outside the club are sometimes invited to attend a training session, but that depends on the age group and timing of the request. If you would like to request to join a training session before tryouts, please register for tryouts first and then reply to the welcome email.

What if I’ll be vacationing in Barbados during tryouts?

If you’re going to be on vacation, reach out and we’ll work with you to find a way to come to a training session before tryouts. Oh, and send us a post card.

What if I’m injured and can’t try out?

Obviously it’s difficult to show our coaches what you can do if your foot’s in a boot or you have a cast on your wrist. However, if you can at least show up, we would still consider you for a spot. We may be able to get feedback from your former coach or teammates, or arrange for a private tryout later after you’ve healed up.

What’s the tryout for goalkeepers?

All aspiring GKs should attend the field player tryout for their age group and spend a little time after getting a GK assessment. Our coaches will help direct them to the right place.

When will I know if I’ve made the team?

Offers will typically be made within 24 hours of the last tryout date for each age group. However, they may be made earlier.

What’s the difference between the Premier, Elite, & Elite 2 team?

Not a lot. We typically put the players that seem to be the strongest or most developed on the Premier team, but both teams are competitive and have a professional coach. The Premier and the Elite teams may train together at times and even share players for some games and tournaments. The Premier team will likely be placed in higher divisions in leagues and tournaments than the Elite team. Every year at tryouts, and sometimes even during the year, players may move between teams if it seems that would be best for their development.

What is an “Academy?”

We consider our youngest age groups (U7 & U8) “academies” or “player pools” because we believe it best supports our player development objective. At training, multiple age groups may train together to achieve the right numbers to have a productive session. For games and tournaments, teams assignments aren’t rigid, giving players the opportunity to possibly play in more games and experience playing with different teammates. It prepares players socially for the coming years when team sizes get bigger and team placement changes, and also helps ensure each team has enough players on game day. Players and parents will get to know players and parents across their age group, as well as players a year older and younger.

What if my player doesn’t make the top team?

In many clubs it is important to make one of the top teams because those are the only teams with quality coaching. At Cincy SC, we have professional, quality coaches at all levels. Additionally, every player has access to the most experienced coaches in the club through age group-based training sessions. We seek to place players in the best situation for their development, which usually means competing against similar levels of opponents, with some opportunities to gain confidence and some opportunities to struggle. All kids develop at different rates, and a 2nd or 3rd team player at a younger level can become the best player in the club at a later time.

There are opportunities for players to move teams during the soccer year, sometimes even before the start of fall season, and other times between fall and spring. Players may be offered guest playing opportunities or chances to train with another team.

We think it’s usually best for players to start on a lower team and prove to coaches and teammates that they deserve a spot on a higher level team. It may not seem fair to other players if a new player is moved ahead of them based on a short tryout, unless that player was able to repeatedly demonstrate that they were clearly better than 10 or 15 other players. It can also provide the motivation for that player to work hard and show the most improvement if they feel like they need to work their way up.

Are players allowed to tryout with other clubs?

Absolutely. Players have the right to choose which club they want to join and the May tryout period is the best time to shop around.

How long do I have to decide if I want to accept a spot with the club?

You can certainly have some time to talk as family about whether to accept a spot or not. Recognize that we may offer more players than we have spots, in which case the first players to accept and pay their deposit will be the ones to keep their spots.

How do I secure my roster spot?

By accepting the offer and paying the annual fee or the roster deposit.

Are teams already pre-selected?

No. However, players who have played for Cincy SC or our coaches in the past will be evaluated on more than just their tryout performance.

Who is coaching in the fall?

In some cases, we can’t announce a coach until a coaching commitment with another club ends. In other cases, we’re still in the process of finding coaches that fit with our core values. Here’s our current list of coaches.

Will my team have a professional or parent coach for the season?

Cincy SC uses only professional coaches and our coaches will be at your training sessions and games. Only the best coaches in the city are being offered coaching opportunities at Cincy SC. Your coach will be directly overseen by Russell Lewis, our Director of Soccer Operations.

Why does Cincy SC use professional head coaches at all age groups?

We believe that the best development occurs when coaches consistently apply our curriculum and training methods throughout a player’s journey through the Cincy SC youth system. In order to effectively implement the curriculum, professional coaches are needed at every age group. This approach also ensures that our evaluation of players is as objective and performance-based as possible.

What will happen after tryouts?

We make offers and form teams! Once you accept and pay the deposit, we’ll add you to communication groups and start inviting you to club and team activities.

We also provide optional summer camps, winter indoor training, a futsal-based training program (PIVO Academy), 4 futsal tournaments in Nov-Feb, and community events like group outings to FCC games.

Can players ever play up an age group?

Yes, when it’s right for the player and there’s a spot available.

When would we recommend someone playing up?

  • When the player would still be in the top third of players even in the older age group.
  • When the player is not suitably challenged in their true age group.
  • When the player is ready physically, technically, tactically, and emotionally to play up.
  • When the older team needs a player, and we think a player can handle playing up.
  • When the player is “old” for their birth year age group (i.e., born early in the calendar year).

What leagues will we play in?

It depends on the age group and the makeup of the team. Options include the Cardinal Premier League (CPL) and the Developmental League (DL) for the younger players, and the Buckeye Premier Youth Soccer League (BPYSL), state leagues (OSSL), or CPL for the older players. The club can’t actually apply for any leagues or tournaments until teams are formed for the year. We try to find a league where our team will have some success, and some struggle. Our leagues also have promotion and relegatation between fall and spring seasons, so teams tend to find their right level.

Can “trapped” U15s play U14 in the fall?

No. When US Soccer switched to the birth year system in 2016, our leagues eliminated the “trapped 8th-grader rule” (a designation that allowed 8th graders that were older than the age cutoff for U14 to play U14 in the fall since most of their peers were in HS). In order for “trapped” U15 players to play in the fall they now need to play U15. We plan to have enough U15 players to form a team, but if were a little short there are other options like U14 guest players joining for games, a hybrid U14/15 team playing in a U15 league and tourneys in the fall, or combining with players from another club for the fall.

Is there a multi-player discount?

Yes! We seek to create a community feel at Cincy SC and having multiple kids from the same family is a great way to work towards that. We offer a 5% discount on each player for those families with multiple kids in the club. (You might want to consider making more babies.)

Is Cincy SC planning to merge with any other clubs?

Not only do we have no plans to merge, we’ve actually turned down merger requests from several clubs in the past few years. Our model is different than other clubs and we don’t want to be a huge club. We want to be a club with a community feel and a great culture. We think merger plans should stay in the corporate boardrooms.

How does the club decide on what tournaments to attend?

In line with our core value of “Community,” Cincy SC attempts to schedule tournaments that several teams in the club can attend. We will enter some tournaments in Cincinnati to minimize the time and cost of travel. We will normally enter one tournament per season that is out of town in someplace like Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville, Oxford, or Nashville. Although this can be a logistical challenge and/or financial burden for some families, we’ve found that the out-of-town tournaments are great bonding experiences for players and families within the club. For our HS-age teams, we will apply for showcases where appropriate.

Does Cincy SC host any tournaments?

Yes. We host several events throughout the year including The EPIC Cup in early April and the Black Friday Stampede, Mistletoe Ball, MLK Freedom, and Presidents’ Day Rush Futsal tournaments. For more information, check out the tournaments section of this website.

What age groups does Cincy SC offer?

We offer SoccerStarters for 2.5-5 year-olds, and Juniors for 5-8 year-olds. Starting at U7 or U8 we form teams and we have 2-3 teams at each age group from U10-U19. We also have adult teams.

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

If you need further information, please contact Brett Dickson or Russell Lewis.