Calvert Soccer Assn

Travel FAQs

What is travel soccer?

Travel soccer is competitive soccer played against teams from other towns or communities in a regional area (Baltimore/Washington). Travel soccer is designed for players and parents who are willing to make a higher level of commitment in time, effort, training and competition. Players who have shown an interest and ability greater than most recreational players can benefit from moving to travel soccer. Most high school teams are made up of travel soccer players or most starters are the products of travel programs.

How is travel soccer different from recreational soccer?

There are three basic levels of soccer: recreational, travel, and premier. Each level provides an increased level of commitment and cost. CSA offers recreational and travel soccer programs and recommends parents let their child decide the level that suits them. Most young children benefit from playing with their friends and classmates in their own community, at least until they have developed their skills in the correct environment or are ready for a larger commitment level. CSA strives to form as many teams as possible at the younger ages to give children a chance to experience travel soccer.

What leagues do the travel teams play in?

There are various travel leagues throughout the region that offer competition at different levels. The majority of our young teams (U9-U11) play in the National Capital Soccer League (NCSL). These leagues offer a regional structure and good competition but the focus is not on standings but more on supporting player development. Some of our teams that wish to play at the highest local level will compete in the Eastern Development Program (EDP) league. The EDP league is a regional league meaning teams can expect to play other teams that are located in MD, VA, PA, NJ, and DE.

How much time will my child be expected to devote to soccer?

CSA holds open tryouts for the travel teams to all members of our community at the end of the Spring season usually in late May (see calvertsoccer.org for travel team tryouts). Travel teams play a Fall outdoor season, Winter indoor season, and Spring outdoor season. Each team practices 2 nights/week for the fall and spring seasons and 1 night/week during the winter season. In addition to the regularly scheduled practices, CSA offers technical training, speed & agility, and goalkeeping academy to all of our travel players. Games are played on the weekends, generally 1 game/day on Saturdays and/or Sundays depending on the league. Travel teams do play in some tournaments also held on weekends throughout the year. The young teams participate in 1-2 tournaments and the older more competitive teams may participate in 2-8 throughout the season depending on their level of play.

Where do we "travel" to?

Practices are held on local facilities generally centrally located within the county depending on field availability. Seasonal play for each team consists of 8-10 games with half of those being away and the other half being home games. Travel for away games varies for each league but generally consists of a 30-75 minute commute within the Baltimore/Washington/Northern VA region. Younger teams may participate in local tournaments whereas older teams combine local tournaments with regional tournaments that sometimes (1-3 per year) require a hotel stay.

What if my child plays another sport?

Travel soccer is not for everyone. A substantial time commitment is required. That being said, many of our players are able to juggle a schedule that includes baseball, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, etc. Our coaches are expected to offer some consideration during the winter training season for conflicts. No one expects a child that is 8-12 years old to focus on just one sport or activity. Older children often play high school sports and the season starts later to accommodate high school game conflicts.

What is the difference between an "A" and "B" team?

Not much! Seriously, we have so many children who want to play travel soccer in CSA that we are often able to form two teams in an age group. For purposes of development focus, at U9 or 10, there is minimal separation of players by ability and we assign players to teams to make them as equal as possible. We have the age-group pool all practice together at times. Soccer development is better served at the youngest ages by focusing on technical development. At U11 and older, children start to make decisions as to what sports and level of commitment they are willing to make. When we form teams, the club's goal is that ability levels are appropriate throughout the team. This results in a better training environment for touches on the ball. We usually place teams in different divisions to allow appropriate competition. Many times one team is made up of players who have played for several years and the second team may be the newer players. This is done yearly and players move between the teams over time based upon development. Sometimes the top 2 or 3 players on a "B" team improve more than the last 2 or 3 on an "A" team and will win a spot on that team the next year. Ideally, there could be movement of players between the teams each year based upon physical growth, soccer skill growth, personal interests, personal commitment to the sport and other factors. The expected commitment level should be the same at either level.

How much will my child play?

There are no rules on playing time for travel teams but CSA expects that every child who plays on a team will play 50% at ages 9-12. Sometimes this is difficult to assess and control at each game but, should be equalized over the season. Additionally, each child should play a variety of positions on the field. If your child is only playing one position or not enough, you have an obligation to ask the coach why or contact the Director of Coaching. The best defender at 10 years old could be the best forward at 15 and the best player at 10 is many times not the best at 15 due to growth and development differences. Coaches are encouraged to train the total player and not focus all of their attention on winning. After age 12, more specialization will begin although the coaches are encouraged to play the kids at more than one position. You will see the players themselves starting to determine where they feel the most comfortable by 14.

How are coaches selected?

Each year we try to find the best possible coaching candidates while maintaining a reasonably priced program. All of our coaches, parent or otherwise, have played soccer in high school and/or college and/or have demonstrated sufficient experience in working with children in sports or both. CSA requires all of our coaches to pass a criminal background investigation to ensure the safety of your children. CSA also requires each coach to attend and obtain a coaching license through the USYSA programs. They have all obtained at least an "E" license, most now have "D" and some obtained a higher level. Each requires a substantial commitment of time and training. Coaches are encouraged to continue their education and obtain higher-level licenses and many coaches use trainers from the local college teams, high schools and former professional soccer players to assist. Each year we assess performance and coaches must apply yearly for a team.
10. What are the Parent responsibilities? CSA expects each parent to be supportive of their child and the club by getting your child to practice and games on time, helping them to be regular in attendance at all or most activities, showing consideration to the coach and team by giving notice of absence as early as possible, and paying your fees to the club and team timely.

What are the estimated costs?

A typical team has a yearly (August thru early June) budget that is divided equally among all of the team members. Since each team varies in the desired level of competition, league they are participating in, number of tournaments, training regimen, etc., the cost for each team can also vary from $800-$2,500 per player. However, the cost for a typical U9 or U10 travel player is between $700-$1500 for the year and includes:

· Registration includes - league fees, insurance, referees, administrative costs, equipment, etc.

· Professional coach

· Fall practices 2 sessions/week

· Fall outdoor league

· Fall tournament

· Technical training

· Goalkeeper Academy

· Winter Indoor training 1 session/week

· Winter Indoor Soccer League

· Spring tournament

· Spring practices 2 sessions/week

· Spring outdoor league

* UNIFORM if needed is an additional $200+ (current uniforms are good for at least another 2-3 years)

A deposit is required to confirm acceptance of an offer during tryouts and the remaining balance is collected prior to Fall season beginning.

When are tryouts?

The tryout schedule and registration link for CSA travel teams can be found on our website www.calvertsoccer.org. There is no cost to attend tryouts so please attend and our club coaches can advise if your child is ready for travel soccer. Also feel free to email our Director of Coaching at doc@calvertsoccer.org if you have additional questions regarding the travel soccer program. We look forward to providing your child with growth and development opportunities.