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State Cup Information

The NorCal State Cup has become the premier soccer event for youth soccer teams in Northern California.  This unique competition is a combination of both league-style and tournament-style play.

Much like a league, the NorCal State Cup is a series of games that begin in August and last an entire season.  The NorCal State Cup consist of three rounds.  Two rounds of group play consisting of three games each, and a knock-out round.   Each team is guaranteed to play at least 6 games, including a quarterfinal match in the knock-out round.

To have a successful experience in NorCal State Cup(s), there are several things you should pay attention to:

  • proper management of your team
  • team ranking at the beginning of the event
  • effective communication
  • correct roster size

Please read each of the following articles to familiarize yourself with the details of the Cup.

Changes from Last Year

NorCal has made several changes to the NorCal State Cup, based on feedback from the clubs as well as US Soccer’s Player Development Guidelines.  These changes consist of:

US Soccer’s Player Development Guidelines:

  • Teams are formed accordance to Birth year
  • U9-U10 will play 7v7
  • U11-U12 will play 9v9
  • U13 will play 11v11

Birth Year Age Groups:

  • 2008 will play U9
  • 2007 will play U10
  • 2006 will play U11
  • 2005 will play U12
  • 2004 will play U13

Calendar Changes:

  • U9-U10 girls will have their first games of the 2nd round prior to the tournament weekend in October.
  • U11-U12 Gold, Silver and Bronze will play on November 19th and 20th.
  • U12 age groups will play 2 games per day at the NorCal hosted sites

Please check the calendar for specifics.  Click here to access the calendar.

Division Name Changes:

We have changed the Division names to be more in line with what NorCal uses already. These divisions do not coincide with Fall league play, but the same terminology will be Used:

  • State/Premier (Formerly the Red division)
  • Gold (Formerly the White division)
  • Silver (Formerly the Blue division)
  • Bronze (Formerly the Green division)


All eligible teams from clubs in good standing with NorCal Premier Soccer will be accepted.

It is important that you fill out the application completely. The following information is usually requested in the application:

  • Age group for your team – this is based on the upcoming fall season.
  • The suggested level of ability (level of play).
  • Links with your team history.

Payment is not necessary at the time you apply, but will be required to pay, prior to the seeding process, for final acceptance.

Levels of Play

The NorCal State Cup has 4 levels (divisions) of play: State/Premier, Gold, Sliver and Bronze.  The creation of these divisions is based on the number of teams in each age group.

The level of play for the divisions is as follows (in order of level of experience and quality of play):

  • State/Premier
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

The division names are just for reference in the State Cup competition and do not coincide with the League divisions.

Once teams have been placed in divisions (State/Premier, Gold, Silver and Bronze) and the schedule has been created, teams will remain in that division for the remainder of the event.  However, NorCal State Cup consist of three rounds of games, and after each round there will be a re-ranking process.  Moving from the first round to the second round, divisions are divided into an upper and lower division.  In the third round, teams in each upper and lower division are further divided into groups of 8 (possible groups of 4) for the quarterfinals.

Initial Ranking of Teams

Even though we ask for a suggested level of play on the application, the ranking process is much more than a suggestion.  For 2016, the ranking of teams is based on each team’s record from the last years State Cup and their placement in Spring League.  The Ranking Committee also looks at other event placement to assist with the placement of teams.

Our goal is to be as accurate as possible with the ranking, to provide the most competitive and appropriate divisions for the NorCal State Cup.  Even though this is not a perfect system, we do our best to get teams placed in proper divisions.  It is the responsibility of each team and club to communicate during the ranking process to ensure the team is placed appropriately.  We ask and encourage teams to communicate during the ranking process to ensure the ranking is correct for that each individual team.

The ranking process takes approximately one month, from the time registration closes.  During which there will be approximately 3-4 preliminary rankings posted.  All initial rankings are completed prior to the schedules being posted for the 1st round.

The ranking committee has the final say on where teams will be ranked and once the process is complete,  divisions will be finalized for your team for the duration of the event.


Rosters for the NorCal State Cup are frozen prior to the first game.  A roster can carry up to 26 players and NorCal recommends that teams enough players in their roster to deal with unforeseen events that may happen during the season.  Once rosters are frozen, the NorCal State Cup roster together with the player passes become the official roster.  Any player that is not on the NorCal State Cup roster will not be able to play.

All players that are on your roster must be from your Club and have a US Club Player Pass.  A player can only be on one roster per age group that is playing in NorCal State Cup.

NorCal State Cup players are “Cup tied” for the duration of the event.  Once a player plays for a team, the player is “cup tied” to that team in that age group for the remainder of the event.

While rosters are frozen prior to the first game, the U11-U13 State/Premier division rosters do open in December prior to the start of the 3rd round.  At this time, players can be added from divisions of play that have finished.  Only players that have been a member of the club prior to the 1st round ending, can be added.

The only time that players may be added to the roster, after they have been frozen, are for emergency situations.  After the freeze date, all players need to be approved by the NorCal State Cup Committee prior to the players being added to the roster.   Emergency might include:

  •  A keeper is severally injured and is out for most for the season.
  • Added enough players to the roster prior to the freeze date, but had a number of injuries and now do not have enough player to field a team. If approved, would only be able to add 1 over the limit for the follow-11V11 roster could only be at 12, 9v9 roster could only be at 10 and 7v7 players could only be at 8.

Only 18 players for U13, 16 players for U11-U12 and 14 players for U9-U10 may be on the bench and used for any NorCal Cup matches.  By creating a roster size of 26 prior to the rosters being frozen, this will assist your team to have a full roster come game day for unforeseen situations.

Here are some suggestions on adding players to your roster:

  • Add players from a younger age group from your Club.
  • Add players from another non-State Cup(s) team within your Club.
  • Add at least one other goalkeeper from a younger team in your Club.

Rounds of Play

The NorCal State Cup consists of 3 rounds of play.  In each round, your team will play 2-3 games.  After each round, teams will be re-ranked in each division.

First Round games are played in August, September and October.  Please check the Division for exact dates.

  • Home teams are responsible for scheduling the games by communicating with the away team.  This is done through the “chat log” communication tool found on your team’s GotSoccer page.  Teams hosting are responsible to cover the cost of fields and referees.  In most situations, these games are played within your region or an adjoining region with the goal of keeping travel under an hour.

Second Round dates vary between age groups and the Division in which teams are playing.  These games will begin in November, but, at the discretion of the teams, some might be played in October.  Any rain postponement during the 2nd round, would move to the following weekend, except the weekend after Thanksgiving, the weekend in-between Christmas and New Year and President’s weekend.

  • U9-U10 age groups:
    • All second round games are at NorCal hosted sites.  NorCal covers the cost of fields and referees for these games.  All teams will play a total of four games during these weekends – two games on Saturday and also two on Sunday.  The second game on Sunday (a Quarterfinal) is the start of the third round for this age group.
  • U11 age group:
    • The first of the three games will be at a team-hosted site.
    • The second and third games of the second round are played at NorCal hosted sites.
  • U12-U13 age group
    • One of the three games will be at a team-hosted site.
    • The second and third game of the second round will be scheduled at a NorCal hosted site.  These teams have the option to schedule the second and third game at a team-hosted site if both teams agree.

Third Round consists of the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championship.  All teams will have a Quarterfinal match.  Dates very between age group and the Division in which teams are playing.  All teams are required to play third round games at NorCal a hosted site.  Any rain postponement during the third round would move to the following weekend, except the weekend after Thanksgiving, the weekend in-between Christmas and New Year and President’s weekend.

  • Your second game on Sunday is the first game of the third round (Quarterfinal match)
  • The schedule for these games will be posted after the completion of the second round games.


Both teams playing in the final match (regardless of the outcome of the game) in every division will receive a team trophy and medals for the players.