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 consists of three rounds. Two rounds of group play consisting of three games each, and a knockout round. Each team is guaranteed to play at least 6 games, including a quarterfinal match in the knockout 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.
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 birth year.
- The suggested level of ability (level of play).
- Links with your team history.
Payment is not necessary at the time you apply. You 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 for the U9-U10 age group. There are 5 levels(divisions) of play for the U11-U13 age group: State/Premier, Platinum, Gold, Silver 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):
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, Platinum, 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 consists 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/Draw
The ranking of teams is based on each team’s record from the last year’s State Cup and their placement in Fall League.
Teams are grouped into pots based on division placement (State/Premier, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze), location (East, North, South, West), and level (Pot 1 highest and Pot 4 lowest). Each team is represented with a ping pong ball labeled with their team name.
NorCal will announce the Group Stage division (State/Premier, Gold/Silver, Bronze/Copper, etc) and location (East, North, South, West) being drawn.
Labeled ping pong balls for the division and location are placed in the four pots.
NorCal will announce the Group letter (A, B, C, etc.) being drawn. First, two teams in Pot 1 will be drawn with one team placed in each Pot 1 position. Next, Pot 2 will be drawn, followed by Pot 3 and Pot 4.
Teams from the same club cannot be drawn together. If this occurs, the drawn team will take the next available open spot for their pot. For example, if a team from Pot 2 is drawn with their club in Group A, the Pot 2 team will take the open spot in Group B.
If any teams are missing from the pot, a redraw will occur for the division and location (not for the entire Group Stage) with the correct teams entered. If every team is drawn from the pot, the draw will be official for the division and location.
The process will start over again with the teams from the next location (East, North, South, West).
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 put enough players on 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 2nd 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 instances where players may be added to the roster, after they have been frozen, are 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. An emergency might include:
- A keeper is severely injured and is out for most for the season.
- A manager added enough players to the roster prior to the freeze date, but had a number of injuries and now do not have enough players to field a team. If approved, a team would only be able to add 1 over the limit for the following: 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 within your club.
- Add players from another non-State Cup 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 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’s and President’s weekends.
- 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 two on Sunday. The second game on Sunday (a Quarterfinal) is the start of the third round for this age group.
- U11-U12 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.
- 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 vary between age group and the division in which teams are playing. All teams are required to play third round games at a NorCal 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’s and President’s weekend.
Both teams playing in the Championship, regardless of the outcome of the game, in every division will receive a team trophy and medals for the players.