What Is SF Pickup?

SF Pickup is designed for adult men and women who want to play soccer  in the City. It’s not a league. It’s merely a space for individuals and friends to get together and play soccer. It’s for busy people that don’t have time to join a league, for people that already play in a league but want to play more and also for the pickup enthusiasts of the Bay Area.

SF Pickup gives you the opportunity to play soccer without any long-term fees or commitments. You get invited to a session, RSVP, pay a small fee and play. No uniforms, no refs, no strict rules, no worrying about standings – just playing and having fun – something that is often lacking in soccer in the United States.

Why Do I Have to Pay? I Thought Pickup Was Free

In a perfect world, pickup is free and quality games are plentiful. However, as it stands, it’s hard to find a consistent, quality pickup game in San Francisco that doesn’t get over-crowded quickly and/or ruined by arguments or field space problems. Your money pays for insurance, field and court permits, equipment and the game assistants. Most people agree the fee is totally worth it and quite minimal – especially compared to a league fee.

Rotating Format

The format of SF Pickup is based on a game that’s played all over the world to keep each game fun, competitive and  interesting. Here’s how it works:

Four teams are formed.

Team 1 and 2 start playing.  Remaining teams (3 and 4) wait on the sideline.
First team to score 2 goals stays on the court, losing team waits on the sideline.  Team 3 comes on.
The “on deck” teams must wait together closest to the half court line, ready to come on as changes can happen quickly.

The “Ifs”

If one team is winning after 8 minutes, they stay on and the losing team goes off.
If no team scores after 8 minutes, teams 1 and 2 go off and wait on the sideline and team 3 and 4 come on.
If it’s tied after eight minutes, both teams come off
If one team wins three games in a row, they come off.
If two teams are eligible to come on – rock, paper, scissors is the decision game of choice – winner goes on, loser is on deck.

The more you win, the more you play. The cycle repeats itself for the evening. There’s no referee but there’s a game assistant to help resolve disputes, keep time and make sure things run smoothly. Even if one team’s stacked with a lot of good players, they’ll inevitably get tired and lose. So, everyone gets a relatively equal amount of playing time each night and nobody waits long to play.


SF Pickup is not a league. It was designed to accommodate busy people that want to play quality soccer when they want, without much planning.

Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive weekly e-mails with the date, time and location of a pickup game. There will be a link to register for the game. You must register for the game to play due to liability issues.

The first 25 people to respond to the invitation will be accepted and receive a confirmation e-mail. When the game is full, the response button will be locked and no one else will be able to join the game. This keeps the numbers down – which means more touches on the ball for you. There will always be two sessions per night. You may register for both. You don’t need to bring anything to the games. Just give us your name when you get there and you’re good to go.


Players: Men and Women, 16 and up (18 and under must have parent sign waiver)

Ball: Regulation FIFA Futsal

Surface: Indoor and outdoor basketball courts (flat soled shoes); turf (turf shoes or soccer cleats)

Goals: Sometimes small without goalkeepers; sometimes big with goalkeepers.

Number of Players per team: 4-6

Number of teams: 2 minimum; 4 maximum

Length of Games: 8 minutes or 2 goals, whichever comes first.

Length of Sessions: Sessions are 1 hour long and start promptly. Arrive 10 minutes early.

Referees: No referees. Players control game as a group. All decisions by game assistant are final.

Boundaries: Normal painted basketball. All restarts are kick-ins, no throw-ins, Corners are on.

Restarts:  All 4 seconds to restart or change possession. All restarts are indirect.

Fouls: All slide tackles are fouls. All hand balls are fouls. All fouls are indirect.

Offsides: No Offsides

Game Assistant:

The game assistant is not a referee. This is pickup soccer. The game assistant’s job is to maintain the flow of the games by keeping time, keeping score and directing teams on and off the court.   Players must resolve disputes amongst themselves, however the game assistant has final say in any dispute. Remember that you only have 8 minutes to play, so arguing over trivial matters such as possession works against you.


SF Pickup Soccer has a “0 tolerance policy” for fighting.  Anyone caught fighting by the game assistant will be expelled from the game and banned from SF Pickup Soccer.  Anyone caught instigating a fight, endangering other players or disrespecting the game assistant or other players will be given a warning for said infractions. Any further infractions after the warning will result in the player being banned from SF Pickup Soccer. These games are about having fun – although we encourage a competitive drive – fighting and arguing ruins the atmosphere that we are trying to cultivate at SF Pickup Soccer.