Q - What is the difference between Recreational, Select, and Premier Soccer?

A - There are a few differences between the programs. As a player moves through the different options, the level of competition, the time commitment, and the associated costs increase. Recreational soccer is community based, no tryouts, and has about a three month commitment. While also community based, Select soccer has tryouts, plays more competitive games, has an 8-9 month season, and may travel (once or twice) outside the Puget Sound area. Select soccer is a good fit for the athlete who wants to play soccer at a higher level and still participate in other sports. Premier soccer is the highest level of competition in youth soccer, and draws players from multiple communities within our region. Premier soccer is year round, requires a greater time commitment (players are expected to prioritize soccer over other sports), and sometimes includes out-of-state travel. Eastside FC is MIFC's sister club offering Premier soccer to MI players.

Q - The US Soccer Federation (USSF) changes to "birth year" team formation have me confused. I understand that we are doing away with the name, for example "U8 or U11" and just calling teams by their birth year, i.e. " '06 or '02". Can someone please confirm this? I am used to identifying my child's team by U8 or U11, not by their actual birth year.

A - The USSF Age Chart still uses the "U" designation, so it is not going anywhere. However, in general, teams will not have "U" designations for regular tracking and reporting. Rather, they will be referred to by birth year, e.g. instead of GU15 MIFC Valkyries, it would be the G01 MIFC Valkyries. For tournaments and league play, the "U" designation will still identify the age at which the team is playing and what set of rules will apply.

Q - Who is our parent soccer organization?

A - Eastside Youth Soccer Association is MIFC's parent organization. EYSA has links to other Eastside soccer clubs, including EFC, our local Premier Club. Also has field locations, clinic information, and team standings.

Select FAQ

Q - Can kids play-up on Select?

A - Yes. A player may play up 1 year. For U14 and below, to be eligible to play up, a player must be determined by the evaluators to be in the top 5 players, unless the player is grade appropriate. The top 5 ranking requirement does not start over for the second team. An ineligible player will be removed from the rankings of the evaluators, and the next highest ranked players from the rankings of the evaluators will move up one position in the rankings for purposes of determining the players that are selected based exclusively on the rankings of the evaluators. No more than 5 players may be allowed to play up on any one team. There are no playing up restrictions for players who meet the age criteria for U15 and older.

Q - How do try-outs work?

A - Select teams are formed based on tryouts each year, so players are not "guaranteed" a spot on their prior year's team like in Recreational soccer. And in most years, the "play-up" rules outlined above apply. Due to the USSF change from school year based team formation (Aug-Jul birthdays) to a calendar year team formation approach (Jan-Dec), MIFC and the other clubs in EYSA are relaxing the play-up rules for 2016. A player who is playing up in an effort to make the select team from the prior year need only make the roster in order to qualify. Select coaches typically take a full roster for U11 & 12 (14 players). For U13 and above, coaches typically take 16-18 players. So a player who was on that team in the previous year need only make the roster coming out of tryouts.

Q - Help! My player wants to play up, but the system won't allow me to register them because his/her birthday falls outside the age range for the team.

A - Don't worry, the system is designed this way to flag play ups. You can register your child for an appropriate aged team or tryout. For example, your GU11 child wants to play GU12. Register your player for any GU11 team. Once your player is in our system, please email the MIFC Select Registrar and we will override the age requirement manually and move your player onto the correct roster. If you have a U10 player, who wishes to play up, please email the MIFC Select Registrar directly.

Q - Do you have to be a Mercer Island resident to try out for MIFC Select?

A - Anyone can try out for Select (they don't have to be MI residents). The majority of our players do live on Mercer Island, however, so most of our players get to play with their Mercer Island friends and neighbors.

Q - What if a child misses tryouts or just moved here?

A - If, due to an injury, illness or schedule conflict approved by the MIFC Select Committee, a player does not attend tryouts, the player may have the opportunity to tryout at informal sessions at the discretion of the Select team coach, with the prior approval of the MIFC VP Select Soccer assuming the roster is not full. All players, excluding injured or sick players or schedule approved conflicts, must be present at a minimum of one formal tryout session to be eligible for selection to the team at the conclusion of formal tryouts. Further, if a player moves into the area after scheduled tryouts, the player may have the opportunity to tryout at informal sessions at the discretion of the Select team coach, with the prior approval of the MIFC VP Select Soccer, assuming the roster is not full.

Recreational Soccer FAQ

Q - What does U8 (or U9, U10, etc.) mean?

A - US Soccer Federation (USSF) and Washington Youth Soccer (WYS) requirements state that a player's age for the fall is determined by their age as of January 1st for that year. The "U" stands for "Under" a certain age. For example, for a 7-year-old to participate as an U8 player during the fall of 2016, he/she would have to be "under" 8 years of age by January 1st, 2016.

Q - My child has a summer birthday and would like to play with their classmates, not by their birth year.

A - Washington Youth Soccer is following US Soccer mandated age group requirements for team formation. We are now following the new age chart that follows the player's calendar birth year. Therefore, each age category will have a mix of players from school grades. Mercer Island FC will not be accepting special requests as we will be aligning with the new age requirements.

Q - How will my child be placed on a team?

A - Mercer Island FC follows the Eastside Youth Soccer Association (EYSA) Team Formation Policy. U8 teams and older do not accept buddy requests. U8 teams are formed randomly based on registration date and schools. This year, we will be placing teams together based on their schools. In some cases, we will need to combine schools to fill out teams. Microsoccer teams from last fall are not carried over into U8 teams.

For U8 teams, a maximum of two adults may request to coach on the same team, regardless of the schools that their children attend. Only those two players will be placed on the same team whose 2 parents have agreed to coach together. MIFC is not able to accept requests for a specific Coach or team. U9 teams and older roll over each year with the same players as long as the players have registered within the online registration date and the coach is returning. If the coach isn't returning and a replacement coach isn't found, the team will be disbanded and the players will be distributed to other appropriate teams in the same age category. A player may request to NOT RETURN from their prior year's roster, but will go into the general pool and be placed randomly on a different team.

Q - What if I registered my child after the deadline?

A - We highly recommend that families register their child during the open online registration from April 1st - June 15th each year. This guarantees that your player will return to their same team from the prior year and be placed on a team. Reminder emails, newsletter articles and website updates are all used to remind parents when registration is open. After June 15th, MIFC has to estimate how many teams we will have in each age category and report that to our sister clubs within Eastside Youth Soccer. A player not registered by June 15th may be placed on a wait list and assigned to another team based on roster space.

Q - Can I coach a team and submit my own roster?

A - No, Mercer Island FC does not accept team requests.

Q - Why do you need a copy of my child's birth certificate or passport?

A - Mercer Island FC is required by Washington Youth Soccer to verify each player's age with proof of birth. This can be verified with a passport or a birth certificate.

Q - Can my child play up?

A - Mercer Island FC does not allow players to play-up at the recreational age level. The only case that MIFC will allow play-ups is if a player's team from last year moved up to an older age category due to the older players on the team. In this case, the players will be given the option to be grandfathered into this age category so they can stay together with their team. This only applies if the player is remaining with their same recreational team from the 2015-16 season.