- Why STEPS?
STEPS Lacrosse started in Northern New Jersey in 2002. By 2018, STEPS earned the top ranking for the best girls lacrosse club in the country by US Club Lacrosse. Known nationally for their talented and competitive club teams, STEPS founders Jessica and Charlie Shoulberg also run Lax for the Cure, Live Love Lax, and the Nike G8, three of the most sought-after tournaments in the country. In addition, STEPS manages a number of individual events, most notably the Nike XPO Individual Showcases. While STEPS California will be run locally by Lauren Yee and Erin Burns, this national partnership allows for immediate access to the East Coast’s best tournaments (Lax for the Cure currently has a 180-team waiting list) in addition to a vast recruiting network that is relationship-driven and has been cultivated for more than 15 years.
- What is the difference between Premier Lacrosse & STEPS California? Are they different from my Spring NCJLA team?
While Premier and STEPS California are run by the same staff, Premier is a 6-8 week training program created for advanced players throughout the Bay Area to practice together in a highly competitive environment. Practices include exposure to high intensity drills and guest coaches from throughout the country. While Premier is invitation-only, girls are invited regardless of their club affiliation (or lack thereof). STEPS California is an elite competitive travel club team that will begin practices in May 2020. Tryouts are being held this Fall for grad years 2022-2028. Spring NCJLA teams (i.e. SF Riptide, Ross Valley Grizzlies, Firehawks, Wolfpack, etc.) are youth recreational programs that run only during the spring and are comprised of players from designated zip codes. Your local NCJLA team is a rec town/city team, where as STEPS California is an elite travel club servicing players from San Francisco, Marin, South Bay, North Bay, and East Bay.
- What do you mean when you say “grad year”? What grad year is my daughter?
Club lacrosse programs identify their teams using high school graduation years. STEPS California is offering teams for the following high school graduation years:
2022s – Sophomore
2023s – Freshman
2024s – 8th Grade
2025s – 7th Grade
2026s – 6th Grade
2027s/2028s – 5th Grade & 4th Grade
- Why are tryouts being held now for Summer 2020 start?
Northern California is currently one of the few regions that operates on a January to January calendar year for girls club lacrosse. In an effort to align ourselves with the national timeline, we are hosting our tryouts this Fall to secure teams for tournaments and showcases we have already registered for. To ensure that our event schedule and division placement for the Summer of 2020 is appropriate for our STEPS teams, it is important that we establish rosters as early as possible this Fall. Please note that while STEPS is hosting tryouts this Fall, there are zero playing commitments for anyone who makes a team prior to May of 2020. Trying out or accepting a roster spot with STEPS does not interfere with your daughter’s current club commitment through Jan 2020. In the future, tryouts will take place in July or August.
- Does STEPS California operate year round?
We think of the club season as comprised of two “mini” seasons (Summer & Fall). While we will connect through the year, we want players and families to “focus in” during the mini seasons, while also learning to rest, balance competing life demands, participate in other sports and activities, and learn to train independently during the club offseason. We feel this is the most effective way to maximize lacrosse gains while preventing burnout. To view the full tournament schedule for the Summer of 2020, you can CLICK HERE.
- Why does the 2026 and 2027/2028 Summer Season end earlier than the older STEPS teams?
We believe the focus for our two youngest age groups should be on development and reps. As a result, we are limiting travel distances to more local, competitive tournaments. While we value the competitive club environment, at this stage it should not be all-consuming. The 2026s will wrap up their summer season at the Park City Showdown, June 26th – June 27th. The 2027/2028 team will finish their season at the Lake Tahoe Summit Classic, June 20 – June 21. For younger players interested in continued practice sessions through mid-July, we will offer optional sessions.
- What is the cost of participation?
The membership fees for the Summer of 2020 are as follows:
2025s – $2,000
2026s – $1,900
2027s/2028s – $1,500
After the summer, players will have the ability to “opt-in” to the full year membership for August 2020 – July 2021 without having to go through the tryout process next summer. Any player who feels the STEPS program is not the right “fit” for them upon completion of the summer season will have the opportunity to explore other club options. For any teams that have roster spots available after the summer, we will hold an open practice for prospective players to be evaluated for possible team placement. After the first full membership year concludes in July 2021, STEPS will proceed with an annual tryout process.
The membership fees for the August 2020 – July 2021 season are as follows:
2025s – $3,100
2026s – $2,900
2027s/2028s – $2,500
*Fees are collected in 4 equal payments (November, January, March, & May)
- Does your program offer financial aid?
YES. We are very serious about our commitment to girls and families regardless of their financial means. Since the best tournaments continue to occur predominantly on the East Coast, we recognize the significant travel cost that comes with club participation. Please do not hesitate to reach out so that we can find a solution that works best for your family. We will not ask you a bunch of questions nor require you to provide proof of your financial hardship.
- Who is coaching my daughter’s team?
While coaches have been secured for all teams, some of our coaches have commitments to other teams through January 2020. While this is certainly not the case for all of our coaches, out of respect for coaches currently committed elsewhere, we will not release the names of our coaches until January. All teams will be led by a female head coach. While STEPS appreciates the wonderful male coaches that coach for our club, we are very fortunate to have a number of talented women interested in coaching for the 2020 season. To support the development of our coaches as leaders and to reinforce this empirically supported benefit for girls, we will honor this commitment this season.
- When and where will practices take place?
Practice locations will vary depending on field space, but all locations will be on the West side of the bridge. Fields will first be assigned in San Francisco, followed by the Peninsula and Marin. We will do our best to account for siblings and/or carpools, particularly for those families commuting from the East Bay. As soon as field space is assigned we will communicate practice times and locations. Practices will most likely occur on Sundays. During the summer, we will do our best to offer midweek practices. We are very aware of the significant traffic burden for many of our families and we will do our best to schedule practices during off-peak commuting times. We will work with you if your child is unable to make midweek practices. We will ask that you help support your child’s ability to practice independently with wall-ball and other routines provided by coaches.
- Are there multiple teams per grad year? What is the roster size?
At STEPS California, we’re focused on providing a club lacrosse experience designed for the highly competitive, dedicated player. Currently, we will offer one team per grad year with a roster size of 18-21 players. It is important to us that we never sacrifice quality for quantity. As lacrosse continues to grow in the Bay Area and the number of elite lacrosse players increases, we will re-evaluate the number of teams we offer in each age group.
- Are tournaments mandatory?
While we want to emphasize that tournament attendance is very important, we recognize that conflicts exists for pre-scheduled summer camps, family vacations, or other sports. If your child is offered a roster spot, please be sure to communicate conflicts in advance. While the expectation is to make all tournaments, we support the multi-sport athlete and the balance that comes with activities beyond lacrosse. Please communicate at early as possible if a conflict exists so that we can do our best to ensure that the teams will still be able to compete competitively. Certainly, the expectation to prioritize lacrosse grows as the girls enter high school and recruiting years. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. This will not impact whether your child makes a team.
- Do you provide Travel with the Team?
The short answer is no. Unfortunately, travel with the team is a huge liability issue for any club. Given the number of potential issues that can arise, it is very difficult for clubs to hold insurance policies that cover the range of potential scenarios. As a result, we do not formally offer a travel with the team option. With that being said, we will absolutely work with you to facilitate travel by connecting you with the generous families that have graciously offered to act as hosts for girls requiring travel with the team accommodations.