General Registration & Season Information
When does the Riptide offer programs?
Our primary season is the Spring with practices beginning in early February, and games from March through mid-May. We also offer Fall Ball programs on weekend afternoons from the middle of September through October. Fall Ball is intended to be a great time to try out the game and/or maintain skills before signing up for our main Spring season. If you are interested in camps or summer/fall travel teams, please click here for boys information and click here for girls information.
When does Spring registration happen?
Registration for Spring season happens in October. All players must register online to play. We hold assessments for our older teams over 2 Sundays in November and assign players to teams based on skills. Brand new players are welcome at every age group from u8 thru u14 (generally 1st grade through 8th grade). Our registrations do fill up quickly and we will place players on the waitlist if team sizes hit our maximums.
How do I get on the mailing list?
Registered players automatically get emails from us. If you are not registered but wish to be informed of upcoming events and announcements Click here to join our mailing list
US LACROSSE MEMBERSHIP
Why do I need a US Lacrosse Membership?
To sign up for our Spring season and other programs you will be required to become a member of US lacrosse which, among other benefits, provides insurance coverage for our programs. Your membership must be valid through the end of the season for which you are signing up.
I am having trouble renewing or creating my US lacrosse Number
You may need to contact US Lacrosse for specific help, but one common error is that parents list their own birthdate in place of a child’s birthdate. Make sure your birthdate is correct. Also, make sure on our Riptide site that parents are listed as “Guardians” or “Parents” rather than “Participants” or “Players”
PRACTICE & GAME SCHEDULES
When do Practices and Games start and how long is the season?
Practices begin early February. Your coach will advise your specific start days and there may be some variation by age group and level of play. Games start in late Feb/early March. Away games may involve travel to Marin, the East Bay, and the South Bay - but generally away games are within a 30-40 min drive We usually have games on Saturday or Sunday (older teams play about 14 games – girls teams are scheduled as 3-team round-robins so 2 games per day). The season wraps up by mid-May with playoffs or flighted tournament.
What is the practice schedule?
Exact practice days and times are determined by permits from SF Rec & Parks. We do not receive permits until late in January and cannot guarantee practice schedules until then. Practices schedules also may be adjusted to fit the specific needs of coaches.
Primary practice fields are Beach Chalet and Polo fields in Golden Gate Park but all locations and times are determined by Rec & Park.
U8 teams practices just once per week (on weekends).
U10 teams practices once per week (or twice if field times become available). Typical time slots are 4-5 pm.
U12 and u14 teams practice twice per week and some A teams may offer a 3rd day. Typical time 5-6:30
Does the practice schedule remain the same throughout the season?
February is still the winter season for Rec & Park and we operate with different permits for that one month. Practice times and locations will change slightly in March as we move from Rec & Parks Winter season to their spring season. Practice days should remain the same, but start times and locations may vary.
MULTI SPORT & ACTIVITY CONFLICTS
My child plays soccer/baseball or has other activities in the spring - can I still play lacrosse?
The main season for lacrosse is the spring - and the expectation is that multi-sport athletes will prioritize lacrosse for the season. Many players manage to play other sports, but our expectation is that players who sign up for the Riptide will attend all practices and games. Coaches understand occasional conflicts arise, but missing a Riptide practice regularly to attend practice for another sport is not acceptable.
My child plays basketball and may have playoffs/championships in February.
We have been able to manage these conflicts over the years. Our early season practices are important so please work with your coaches to attend as much lacrosse as possible.
What are the age groups and age cutoffs?
Age cutoffs and groupings are determined by US Lacrosse and the NCJLA (we do not control these policies). Unlike some sports, lacrosse has 2-year age groupings U14, U12, U10 and U8. This means players move up an age group every other year. The “U” in each age group stands for “under" and the key cut off date for your spring age group is Aug 31 of the prior summer. So to qualify for u14, you must be under 14 on August 31, to qualify for U12, you must be UNDER 12 on August 30, and so on.. If you turn 12 on Aug 31 you must play u14.
My child is old for their grade but wants to play with classmates:
Generally, age groups correlate to grades, but for liability reasons, players are assigned based on birthdate - not grades. Age cutoffs are strictly enforced by the league and a desire to play with friends is not a consideration - no matter how close to the cut off your birthday may be. Some waivers are granted on a very limited basis where safety/size concerns can be demonstrated. The waiver process is controlled by the league - not our club. Waiver petitions are review once per month by a league committee that meets from November thru February. Click here to apply for an age waiver for the Spring. We will review your form and forward to the appropriate league authorities. In the meantime, you must register for the age group that you qualify for based on birthdate.
I have an older 8th grader who misses the u14 cutoff - can they still play?
Yes, older 8th graders who are past the age cut off DO need to apply for waivers - but these are generally granted very easily. If you are interested in a waiver you should immediately sign up for the age group you qualify for and then Click here to apply for an age waiver for the Spring
My child wants to play up an age group
We generally do not allow children to play up. Rare exceptions to this rule are made when children are young for their grade.
My child is in Kindergarten and wants to play
We generally accept players by birthdate rather than grade. If your Kindergartener will turn 6 prior to Aug 31 they will generally be allowed to play in our u8 programs. If your child will turn 6 by Dec 31 you may email the club manager and make a special request to play. Keep in mind your child will be competing against 1st and 2nd graders so we generally discourage starting too early.
ASSESSMENT & TEAM ASSIGNMENT
Why do you assess players?
The league designates several levels of play for different age groups We hold assessments to understand what type of teams we should register with the league and to determine how to place players on teams. We form teams to be competitive within these league-wide structures and to make sure kids are placed at a level where they will thrive. No cuts are made - if your player is registered they will be assigned to a team.
If you have questions about assessments please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the difference between levels
Boys “A” Divisions are offered at u10, u12 and u14 while Girls "A" divisions are offered at u12 and u14. In addition, B levels may be split into tiers with separate groupings for novice “Rookie” teams or more advanced “Veteran” teams. Upper-level teams require advanced lacrosse skills and players must demonstrate higher levels lacrosse skills, athleticism, and commitment in order to participate. The number of players that try out at specific positions also influences the decisions. Players that are selected to play at the highest level within their age group will have to reconfirm their commitment to making all the practices and games before they are placed on the team. There may be a supplemental charge for "A" teams to cover additional league fees and coaching costs.
My child is brand new to lacrosse - do they need to attend assessments?
Most new players will be assigned to a beginner level team and should feel no pressure around assessments. All players are encouraged to attend Week 1 of Assessments - this is a good opportunity for coaches to get to know players. New Players or others not wishing to be considered for an upper level team need not attend Week 2 assessments which will focus on more advanced player placement.
My child wants to be considered for an upper-level team but can not make the second session - what should he/she do?
Do not worry. Session 2 is designed to focus more on advanced players and we will spend less time assessing basic skills. New players need not attend Session 2. If you are an experienced player who can only attend Session 1, have no fear, we will assess you based on that Session 1 and coaches input from prior seasons.
Do you do Assessment for all age groups?
No. We only do assessments in age groups where the league offers an A division of play. This currently means there are NO assessments for u8 boys, u8 girls, and u10 girls.
When do we find out about team assignments?
We will try to let players know about team assignments sometime in December. Occasionally it takes longer if we are are looking for late sign up to fill out rosters so thanks for your patience
Will my child be assigned to a team with a friend or classmate?
We place players first by skill level. For our A teams and upper-level B teams, we do not take schools into consideration. In cases where we have multiple teams at the same level (which includes most of our younger u8/u10 teams) we do try to place children with classmates.
Who will coach my child’s team ?
Many of our coaches are returning from prior years. but coaching assignments typically do not get finalized until later in January. We will make further announcements as soon as feasible and your coaches will be in touch once assigned. If you have questions in the meantime please email
Can I help coach?
We are always looking for coaches who know the game of lacrosse and love working with kids. If you have played at the high school or college level - or if you just have great cat-herding skills, please click here to let us know you are interested in coaching.
How do I order a uniform?
Uniforms will be ordered as part of a Riptide Team Store to be opened in late November/Early December. All U10-U14 players must order a uniform which they may use for multiple seasons. U8 players do not need to order a uniform and will instead be supplied a pinney.
How should my child dress for lacrosse practice?
Basic athletic wear is all that is required: A T-shirt, shorts, and cleats. Dress as you might for a soccer practice guards minus the shin guards. We also highly recommend layers for the early season. Long sleeve “underarmor” style shirts are great and sweatshirts can help. On wet days we highly recommend non-cotton socks.
What equipment does my child need?
Boys need a lacrosse stick, helmet, shoulder pads, gloves, arm pads plus a mouthguard, cleats and athletic supporter.
Girls need a lacrosse stick, lacrosse goggles, mouthguard and cleats.
Where can I purchase equipment?
Lacrosse equipment can be purchased at several local outlets including SlingIt Lacrosse in San Rafael and Sports Basement. Slingit often stocks starter kits and they are lacrosse specialists who can provide good advice on choices.
Good online stores include sportsstop.com and lacrossemonkey.com and Craigslist is also a great place to look for used items.
What sticks do you recommend for boys?
Our coaches highly recommend StringKing sticks for new and returning players. Most store-bought sticks require lots of adjustment and breaking in to get them in ideal condition. String King hand strings their stick so that the pocket is immediately ready for play. String King has a few models but we recommend the COMPLETE and COMPLETE Jr.
The "COMPLETE Jr": sized for a young player, this stick will work through u10. If you are a u8 or 1st year u10 player this is a good choice. If you will be turning 10 in the next year or you are an older player, you should look at a full size "COMPLETE" model .
Important note: avoid “soft mesh” sticks: you will see beginner sticks offered with different types of mesh - you should always select "hard mesh" and avoid "soft mesh" (Soft may help marginally with catching but can be terrible for throwing).
What stick do you recommend for girls?
There are many good choices from leading lacrosse brands for beginner and intermediate player available at the retail outlets above. We like the STX Crux 500 (or new 600) and STX Exult 500 (or new 600). For beginners and intermediates the STX Crux 400 is a good choice.
Mesh pockets are brand new to girls lacrosse as of 2018 and we love the new Mesh From String King. String king started off with just one head for girls but have recently introduced 2 more. We are holding off on which head to recommend but you can also order MESH KIT from String King and have any head from any manufacturer strung with it - SlingIt Lacrosse in San Rafael does stringing for about $35. Mesh is very low maitenence and you will get a much better pocket than most entry level sticks with StringKing mesh.
Advanced players can also explore a custom “Ladder Pocket” from Stylin Strings. You can order a color customized kit here and you can take the kit to SlingIt lacrosse to have your stick strung for a very reasonable fee (+/-$35). This style of the pocket is the used by many college players and offers superior pocket depth, and control.
What are the Expectations of the Players?
It is expected that ALL players make the commitment of two practices a week and attend all of the 10-14 games a season. We ask that the players show up early before games and practices so that they are ready to go at the official start time. Coaches will advise exactly how early they expect players.
We often have to turn away players due to team size limits and the Riptide wants to accept those players that are willing to make the commitment to develop their skills and help their teams. We ask that the boys and girls make lacrosse their #1 sports priority during the Spring.
What is the SF Riptide Policy on Playing Time?
We strive to give players at all of levels plenty of game experience. On B teams our goal is to provide roughly equal playing time for all players though there will be some variance by position. For our A teams, where games are more competitive and we are working to qualify for playoffs, stronger players may get more playing time than others, but our goal is to have kids playing at least half of every game. Please note game time is also impacted by player attitude and attendance at the coaches’ discretion. If a player misses one or more practices per week or a player regularly misses practice, playing time may be reduced.
Are there Scholarships Available?
The Riptide believes that every child who is interested should have the opportunity to play lacrosse regardless of financial circumstances. We will make our best effort to offer financial assistance to players in need and have set aside funds for that purpose. Please fill in our Financial Aid Request form if you would like to request financial assistance.
What Is Your Refund Policy?
Refund policy: Please notify the club manager by email if for any reason your child is unable to play for the spring season. Note, we work hard to create teams based on registrations and dropping out after Dec 1 has significant admin costs as well as implications for other players. Our refund policy pertaining to registration fees are as follows:
If a player drops prior to December 1 a full refund less $50.00 administration fee is provided
If a player drops between December 1 and January 1 then refund is less $150.00
If a player drops after January 1 there will be NO REFUND.
Do you Accept Players Without Any Experience?
YES! The goal of the San Francisco Riptide is to encourage the development of the sport of lacrosse in the city. We accept players at all age levels who are new to the sport although space may be limited due to the size of specific teams. We place experienced players on advanced teams and new players on developmental/recreational teams.
Does Riptide have residency requirement?
The Riptide serves players who reside in San Francisco County. Players outside San Francisco should consult the NCJLA to see what club serves there area. In special circumstances, for example your child attends school in San Francisco County but you reside in a neighboring county, you may request to play with the Riptide. However, please note, that if you reside in a zip code that is the territory of another NCJLA club, the NCJLA and the Riptide discourages transfers between clubs and any transfers will be governed by NJCLA policies and procedures.
What Is The Player Contract?
All players must fully commit to the goals and high standards of the SF Riptide organization, including signing a Player Contract. Players must commit to attending all practices and games, putting their best effort forward, treating teammates, coaches, opponents, and officials with respect, and exhibiting good sportsmanship. Our coaches will review this contract with their respective teams at the first practice and ask each player to acknowledge it by signing.
What is your guest player policy?
Guest play is not allowe at the NCJLA. All Riptide players must be fully registered with the Riptide in order to compete in NCJLA games.