How to Register

Registration for the SoCal/Greater LA (LAFTC) region has three main steps.  If you would like more information on League Play, please see the details further below and links in the top menu.

  1. First, two adult mentors will register their team with FIRST at firstinspires.org, whether you are a rookie or returning team. FIRST will ask for a $275 annual fee plus they need to ensure your two great adult mentors pass Youth Protection, which will need to be renewed every three years.
  2. After you have signed up for FIRST for the season, and if you are new and have connected with the LAFTC region at community@firsttechsocal.org, you’ll be assigned a League and will receive an email with directions on how to register with the SoCal/Greater LA (LAFTC) region for your event season. 
  3. To register your team with the SoCal/Greater LA (LAFTC) region, click here. Due to COVID-19, we will run one Qualifying Tournament event per team and reduce the season fee from $300 to $50. Any registration questions can be sent to registration@firsttechsocal.org.  You must be fully registered with FIRST and LAFTC to retain your League spot.

Broader Information for new teams and rookies:

If this is your first season competing, welcome to our group! Your rookie FIRST Tech Challenge robotics season can be particularly exciting and overwhelming but there are many resources available to make the experience worthwhile.

Tournament Structure: 

Due to COVID and the delay in schools and government allowing teams to meet in person, we will be following a remote event Qualifier Tournament (QT). [In ‘normal’ years, we follow in-person League Play events.] To read more about remote play, refer to the FIRST Website here. We are a closed region – only teams registered with SoCal/Greater LA may participate in our region.

At the remote Qualifier Tournament, teams will compete on robot performance (from their homes remotely) and be interviewed by judges (remotely through a ‘zoom-like’ tool). Alliance selection and playoffs cannot occur in remote play. Each team’s performance will be based on their additive 6 scores. Judges will assess teams for each award and announce the performance-based and judge-based award winners and runners ups in an online Awards Ceremony the day of the QT. Please note – this is subject to change depending on what the COVID situation looks like in February. Each QT will advance a specific number of teams to the Los Angeles Championship. The number of advancements will be determined once the number of teams per QT is known and the advancement order will follow the rules outlined in the judging manual. At this time, each team can select one Qualifier Tournament. In order to give teams practice before the official QT event, the region will host remote scrimmages, targeted monthly from November to February, to enable teams to practice and compare scores to other LA teams. 

Here is how it works in more detail: In December registration will open to select your Qualifier Tournament event (there are 4 planned for March). Approximately 2 weeks before your Qualifier, you will receive a welcome letter explaining in more detail how to submit online the engineering portfolio and any other items to be judged (this is in work by FIRST). Seven days before your Qualifier, the scoring system will open and each team will submit 6 scores to the cloud from your garage or safe remote location. On the day of the Qualifying Tournament, or potentially 1 day before, each team will be given a 10 minute interview time and a window of time for a callback / remote pit ‘visit’. Judges will deliberate remotely to select the winners and runner ups. Also, each team (based on cumulative scores) will be ranked from highest to lowest to determine the performance award winners.  An Awards Ceremony will be scheduled for the day of the Qualifying Tournament where we will announce the award winners. Trophies will be mailed to teams.

League Assignments: 

If you are a new team, you will receive an email from us once you register with FIRST assigning you to a SoCal/Greater LA (LAFTC) League. The drafts of the Leagues can be found at http://www.firsttechsocal.org/league-assignments/. The single registration payment to compete in the League System in the LA/SoCal Region usually is $300. At this time, due to COVID-19, the season fee is $50. Note, this is a separate fee from the FIRST registration fee that is paid directly to FIRST. This event registration fee covers one remote Qualifier Tournament. 

Qualifier Registration: 

Each team must register and pay the $50 LAFTC registration fee in order to play.  Mentors from returning teams receive an email inviting them to register. The link to register with LAFTC is here. New teams should reach out to community@firsttechsocal.org for those details. Payment can be by credit card via PayPal, check, or full PO (not just the number).

Where You Can Get Information/Help:

First off (slight pun intended), sign up for our weekly newsletter, Robot Tuesday, here! We feature updates from the Regional Planning Committee, fellow teams/mentors, and different supporting companies and organizations. It is an excellent source for information and resources. It is open to anyone who is interested in keeping up with our region and we strongly recommend that mentors share information with student team members and families.

We also have an active LA FIRST Tech Challenge Facebook page featuring even more updates and photos from events:https://www.facebook.com/Los.Angeles.FIRST.Tech.Challenge. We have an active Mentor Facebook Group for all mentors to share stories, resources, and ideas. Coaches and mentors. Please email community@firsttechsocal.org for an invitation.

Tentative Season Timeline (subject to change):

  • September 13                      LAFTC Virtual Kickoff and Registration Opens
  • November 16-22                 Remote Scrimmage #1
  • December 14-20                 Remote Scrimmage #2
  • December 5                         Kickoff Reboot (Update on any changes from FIRST)
  • January 20                            Last day to register and pay for your Qualifier
  • January 25-31                      Remote Scrimmage #3
  • February 15-21                   Remote Scrimmage #4
  • March 6, 14, 20, 28             Qualifying Tournaments – planning for remote events (7 day window prior to QT to submit scores)
  • April 24                                 Championship – planning for a remote event
  • July TBD                                Worlds – planning for an in-person event in Houston

Connections:

Name email Role
SoCal/LA Planning Committee community@firsttechsocal.org General questions and inquiries; a good starting point for everything
Arabian Prince President, NextCareers
Theresa Klemme TFKlemme@gmail.com Affiliate Partner, Event Manager;
Patrick Brophy pjbrophy@tpaa.org Affiliate Partner, Event Manager, Co-Lead Volunteer Coordinator
Brian Johnson accounting@firsttechsocal.org Treasurer
Eddie Shek eddie_shek@yahoo.com Robot Tuesday Author
Amanda Sullivan asullivan855@gmail.com Event Manager, Head Scorekeeper
Bob Meinhard bmeinhard@outlook.com Head Regional Judge Advisor,  Mentor Resources
Erin Rehard webmaster@firsttechsocal.org Regional Website
Cindy Chung-Prestwood cindyprestwood@gmail.com Head Judge Advisor Assistant, Co-Lead Volunteer Coordinator
Erin Rehard registration@firsttechsocal.org Head Registration

Please know that if you have any questions or concerns, we are here to support you and your students throughout all your endeavors. Feel free to reach out at any time. We wish you the best in these upcoming months and look forward to meeting you soon!

Best,

SoCal / Greater LA FIRST Tech Challenge (LAFTC) Planning Committee