Washington Soccer Club
What is Travel Soccer?
Travel soccer is a highly competitive, and highly organized, level of soccer in which youth teams representing individual soccer clubs play home games on their local fields and travel to away games with teams from other clubs.
In what leagues do WSC travel teams participate?
The three travel leagues in which WSC teams participate are the National Capital Soccer League (NCSL), the Washington Area Girls Soccer League (WAGS), and the Old Dominion Soccer League (ODSL). NCSL is an all boys league; WAGS is an all girls league; and, ODSL has both boys and girls teams. These leagues are made up of more than 60 independent soccer clubs in the District, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.
At what age does travel soccer begin?
Travel soccer formally begins with the Under-9 age-group and continues to the Under-19 age group. However, teams of potential travel players may sometimes be formed of Under-8 players, who train together and may play in one of the area’s developmental leagues. Importantly, playing on one of these developmental teams does not guarantee a player will be selected for an Under-9 travel team when it is formed.
How do recreational soccer and travel soccer differ?
Unlike travel soccer, recreational soccer involves competition among teams that are members of the same club. Additionally, any child who wants to play recreational soccer is guaranteed a position on a team in his or her age group and must play at least half of every game. Neither of these elements is present in travel soccer. All potential travel players must go through a rigorous tryout process before being selected for a travel team and, once selected, there is no guarantee of a fixed amount of playing time per game.[For development purposes, teams playing in the three youngest age-groups (U9-U11) attempt to ensure that all players participate in each game.]
Because travel teams are theoretically able to select their players from among all players in or outside the club who are age-eligible, the skill level of a travel team is usually substantially higher than that of a recreational team in the same age-group.Another major difference is the time commitment required of the players and, by extension, their parents. Recreational teams normally practice once a week and play at the same location each Saturday. In contrast, Travel teams practice a minimum of twice a week, may play home games on different fields within the District, and may have to travel up to 75 miles to play an away game. When Recreational teams participate in tournaments, the tournaments tend to be within an hour’s drive.However, it is not unusual for travel teams to play in tournaments more than a hundred miles away – requiring entire weekends devoted to soccer in places requiring overnight stays.
What level of commitment is required to play travel soccer?
Travel soccer requires a serious and continuing commitment in time and effort by both players and parents. Players selected for a travel team are expected to make attendance and full participation at all practices and games a priority. As stated above, this means attending two or more practices a week and a game on the weekend during the fall and spring seasons. In addition to regular season games and tournaments, players on a particular team may also be required or encouraged to train together on a regular basis during the off-seasons. School requirements, illness/injury, family emergencies, and religious observances should be the only reasons a travel player does not attend a practice or a game.
Since travel soccer does require a major commitment of time by players and players, both should be certain they are willing to accept and adhere to the level of participation that will be expected should the player be offered a position on a team.
What is the process for selecting travel players?
Travel players are selected after minimum of two open tryout sessions, conducted on separate days, in which any player eligible by age to play with the team may participate.The tryouts, conducted by the team coach, will consist of various individual and group drills and play to enable the coach to assess a player’s skills, attitude, and overall potential.
How often are tryouts held?
Open tryouts, during which all positions on the team are considered vacant, are required to be held between the mid-point of the Spring season and the beginning of the next Fall season.A tryout to fill a vacancy may be held at any time during the Seasonal Yeari.e. August 1-July 31 with the concurrence of the Travel Director of Coaching.
How soon after tryouts will players be notified of a decision?
All players selected for a travel team will have their names posted on the WSC website no later than seven days after completion of the last scheduled tryout.
What is the “blank roster” concept?
At the end of each Seasonal Year (August1-July 31), a team’s roster becomes void. Until the team fills out a new roster and has it approved by an official league registrar, it has no players. There is a ‘blank roster”. WSC does not guarantee a player’s position on a team from one Seasonal Year to the next. Therefore, the players’ names that go on the new roster will consist only of players chosen at recent open tryouts. This means that some players on the previous year’s roster may not be on the new roster.
Can players be involuntarily dropped from WSC travel teams?
Players cannot be involuntarily dropped from a WSC travel team during a seasonal year (August 1-July31) for any reason other than discipline. In cases where a “discipline drop” is sought by a coach, the issue must be presented before the WSC Rules & Discipline Committee, which will make the final determination. A player may voluntarily leave a team at any time.
Are there boys and girls travel teams in WSC?
Yes, WSC fields both girls and boys travel teams. By national direction and definition, a girls team consists only of girls. All other teams are boys teams.
Can girls play on boys teams?
Yes, so long as they participate in scheduled tryouts and are selected by the coach.
When are games played?
NCSL and WAGS games are normally played on Sundays, while ODSL games are played on Saturdays.From time-to-time, an NCSL or WAGS game may be either originally scheduled on a Saturday or re-scheduled to a Saturday if a game has been previously rained-out.
How do travel teams operate internally?
Other than the players, there are three key participants in the operation of a travel team: 1) the coach; 2) the team manager; and, 3) the parents. Each has distinct and important responsibilities.
In addition to training the players and managing game strategy, the coach of a travel team has the responsibility to:
- Select the team’s players on the basis of open tryouts
- Schedule and conduct practices
- Determine a player’s field position(s)
- Decide on the playing time for each player
- Appropriately discipline players when deemed necessary
- Suggest tournaments that will challenge the players
The Team Manager
The team manager, normally chosen by the team parents from among their number, is responsible for ensuring all administrative requirements of the team are met.These include, but are not limited to:
- Collecting the necessary information and registering the team for league play
- Maintaining the formal team roster and player cards
- Collecting all fees and forwarding them , with documentation, to the Club
- Preparing the game card for each game
- Submitting tournament applications
- Selecting the Team Sportsmanship Assistant (TSA)
- Serving as a liaison between the coach and parents
- Serving as the liaison between the team and the appropriate Travel Commissioner
The responsibilities of the parents of a travel player are to:
- Ensure the player is on-time for all practices and games
- Support the entire team at games
- Assist the Team Manager when needed
- Display good sportsmanship at all times.
What does it cost to play travel soccer?
When compared to the costs to play recreational soccer, the costs of travel soccer can appear quite substantial. Basic costs for a travel team include seasonal league, state, and WSC fees. There may also be fees for play in a winter league and/or for summer camp. Further, there are periodic uniform, equipment, and tournament expenses i.e. entry fees and related travel and housing costs.Finally, if the team has a paid coach, there is the cost of the coach’s compensation. Because WSC travel teams present a variety of profiles in each of these expense areas, annual costs vary considerably among them.However, it is likely that the total costs for each player on a team would range from $750 to $2,000 per Seasonal Year.
Are scholarships available?
Yes, limited scholarship funds are available to assist players on WSC Teams who are unable to pay the full costs of travel soccer. However, the amount of funds available each Seasonal Year will depend upon the donations received from WSC parents and outside contributors. All teams are encouraged to conduct fundraising activities to help defray their costs.