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Recreation ("Rec") or Competitive Soccer?

How do I know when to make the transition, and how do the programs differ?

These are common questions that many soccer families inevitably face, and the fear of the unknown (traveling) can be daunting.

Here are the facts and a few tips to help you determine if your player, and your family, are ready to move from Rec to Traveling:

Just the facts:

  • MU offers Summer Recreational ("Rec") play as an option for players from age 4 through 14, with first come, first served registration for players in that age range. This option sells out every summer and is max'ed out at 1200 kids.
  • MU offers Competitive Soccer as an option to players ages 8U through 19U. Starting in July, players can register for tryouts (8U-11U mid July, 12U+ late July) and an opportunity to play on a traveling team for the following year (fall league and winter training, and spring/summer league).

Which to play? It depends…

The summer "Rec" program is aimed at offering an experience that includes lots of game play, with light instruction, during the months of June and July, at a very reasonable cost. It’s a good introduction to the sport for the younger players and offers soccer in a concentrated, fun, and casual playing environment. MU's Rec coaches are current MU competitive players and parent volunteers. This gives the MU member families and alumni players a chance to get directly involved in sharing their love of the game with a new generation. Some of our older Rec players also enjoy being able to play the game they love with friends, on a set schedule, in a single neighborhood location (Pearl Park), which leaves more time for other summer activities with friends. MU Rec players do have additional training opportunities by way of the MU summer camps, as well as select winter Rec programs for younger players.

Now, if your young player is looking for a more competitive and structured soccer environment to advance their skills, or if your child takes their soccer ball everywhere and just can’t seem to get enough soccer, that’s a good sign they’re ready to transition to MU's competitive program. The program involves a short Fall season and a Spring/Summer season with a winter training program in between.  Accordingly, the cost of participating in the competitive program is greater, due in-part to the committed team of professional MU coaches and trainers assigned to guide players through their development. The locations for games and training will vary depending on the team assignment, and can include the greater metro area. This, along with the increased cost comprises the greatest difference between the two programs. There is a much greater emphasis on technical skills development in competitive, which best translates into later opportunities to play competitive soccer in high school and beyond. Many MU players go on to star at the state, regional, and even national level.

If you wish to learn more about these MU programs, please feel free to contact us via the club website. Be it Rec or Competitive, we hope to see you on the pitch this summer!

Darley  (Class AA, Minneapolis Washburn) and Conor (Class A, Academy of Holy Angels) took home the trophy awarded to the top boys high school player in each division!


Class AA: Ella Endo, Minneapolis Washburn; Lola Baldwin, Minneapolis Southwest;

Class A: Maggie Haller, De La Salle; Mia Van Der Heide, Holy Angels.


Class AA: Jameson Charles, Minneapolis Washburn; Darley Florvil, Minneapolis Washburn; Sanat Iyer, Eastview; Hank Stechmann, Edina; ; Dylan Olson, Minnetonka; Max Hand, St. Paul Central.

Class A: Carlos Nicolas, Minneapolis Roosevelt; Howard Henderson, Blake; Will Mortenson, Blake; Dennis Mensah, Bloomington Kennedy; Ralph Smits, Breck; Walsh Kern, Breck; Yahya Bashir, Columbia Heights; Porter Ball, Holy Angels; Conor O'Rourke, Holy Angels; Miguel Leon, Richfield; Liam Vance, Totino-Grace; Steevenson Lamarre, Totino-Grace.

John "Sly" Sylvester

Dear Minneapolis United Family,

On 6/16/17 MU lost John Sylvester after a long struggle with ALS.  John, “Sly” to his friends, was appointed as the club’s first Girls Director of Coaching in 2008 and continued to coach until last year.  John worked with MU kids for more than 14 years.  

To compound this tragedy, at the time of John’s death his wife, Tessie, mother of his 5 and 6-year old sons Gus and Freddy, was diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer.  Tessie is 36 years old.  Please consider donating to John’s family and sharing the link below with your social network and faith community.

John was a fundamental building block of the club.  He loved the game and all the kids whose lives he touched as a director, trainer, and coach.  From him, we learned how to be better athletes…and better human beings.  We will miss you, friend.

Brian Brom  /  President  /  Minneapolis United Soccer Club  /