Beginning usually when a young soccer player reaches the age of about 10, they have the opportunity to start trying out for travel soccer leagues, usually titled challenge, premier, or classic. These leagues come with a serious dedication and usually a pretty high price for potential players, not to mention the difficulties in making the cut at tryouts. With weekends that must be totally devoted to the sport and with a higher degree of challenges, is joining a travel soccer team really worth all the hassle?
The answer depends on the player and one key element: How important is soccer to you? This is a very serious question to ask because travel soccer teams require a lot of devotion. Teams generally practice 2-3 times each week, which is a lot more than your average recreational team. But the real test comes with all the traveling on Saturday. These teams generally travel all over their state or region of the country, often requiring up to 4 hours of driving in one direction! Additionally, teams generally will have two games on a Saturday, meaning that one day of every weekend will be entirely devoted to soccer.
Perhaps the young player has this dedication, but you also have to think about the sacrifices to the family. Do mom or dad have to work on Saturday? Is there a sibling that may not feel like getting thrown into the car every weekend for big sister’s soccer trip? Players need to consider the level of dedication within their family.
Another major concern for travel soccer teams is the high costs. Generally there is a cost of approximately $500 to join the team. Factor in gas for the trips and occasional hotel stays during tournaments, and your total costs could be well over $1000 per season.
However, the benefits of playing on a travel soccer team are tremendous. Players and coaches are the best in the area, and you will get great soccer training. Additionally, for older players looking to secure college scholarships, major travel soccer tournaments are usually where the scouts look for their new players. If you love the sport and want to make it a major part of your life, then travel soccer is really the only way to go.
Travel soccer teams also are a great way for young soccer players to make friends and become a part of the soccer community. With long trips, and carpooling, they will often spend a great deal of time together.
Additionally, if you really want to join a travel soccer team but do not have the means or family support to do so, realize that there are options. These teams generally have funds to help lesser affluent players join, and there can usually be assistance from other families for traveling to games through carpooling. If there is a will to play the game, then you will find a way!
Travel soccer is a big choice that soccer players have to make and determines how serious they take the game. Few players will ever develop into professional soccer players, but through a travel soccer team, you will get every opportunity and aid on your quest to fulfilling that dream.