Parents / FAQ

January 29th, 2012

Travel / Development Soccer Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called travel or select soccer?
The teams are all competitively selected (therefore “select”) and travel to games throughout the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area and southeastern Pennsylvania (therefore “travel”).

What is a Development Team?
HVAA development teams are those that continue play beyond the fall season and play soccer most of the year. In 2010 there will be 12 travel soccer teams but not all will play  after the fall season. The HVAA web site is the best source for that information. This web site has been designed for the Thunder soccer team.

Who can tryout for an HVAA travel team?
HVAA’s primary service area is Huntingdon Valley, Rydal, Meadowbrook and Bryn Athyn – the zip codes of 19006, 19046 and 19009.  However, at U14 up to 5 players from outside the primary area may tryout and play for the Thunder. Tryouts are held annually in the spring for the next fall season. All players must tryout annually. ________________________________________________________________

Against whom do these teams play?
Most of HVAA’s travel teams compete against area and regional teams sponsored by other local soccer clubs within the Inter-County Soccer League (ICSL) and the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association.

What sort of commitment is required for parents and players of a developmental soccer travel team?
Everyone involved in travel soccer recognizes that serious commitment for young players is difficult. However, being on a developmental soccer travel team requires that both the player and the parent understand that this activity is a commitment.  Neither the player nor the team can develop to their full potential without that commitment. A team is reliant on the individual commitment of players.

For players on a developmental travel team,  it is the primary club sport commitment in the fall for the child and in general only religious commitments and school commitments take precedence over team practices and games. Winter indoor soccer is more informal and during that  season some children may choose to participate in other club  sports but still will be expected at games if they participate in the winter season.  In the spring, state cup play requires a team commitment as only players on the roster can participate but other spring play can include guests. Those players who choose to continue to participate with the team in the winter and spring are more committed to improving their game and therefore are more likely to do better at annual tryouts.  Parents are asked to be available for team volunteer positions or committees.  Travel soccer teams that play only the fall season may have less stringent requirements but nonetheless rely on player commitment to the team in order for the team to be at its best.

How much soccer do we mean?
Beginning approximately two weeks prior to the season and continuing throughout the season, travel players generally attend twice-weekly practices and one game per weekend.  There are approximately 10 weekend games during the fall. The travel games in the fall are typically played on Saturday, but rescheduled games (usually due to field conditions) may be any day of the week although typically on a weekend. In addition, teams may compete in several local or regional tournaments each fall.

In the winter, the team will participate in indoor soccer leagues and in the spring a seven-week outdoor league and state cup competition.  During the summer the team may hold informal practices once a week as the kids usually  like to get together for some fun and players are strongly encouraged to attend clinics and soccer camps of their preference.

Is travel “too much” soccer?
Travel soccer is not for every child or every family – but what players and families who make the commitment find is that they dramatically improve their skills and confidence, they make new friends and they definitely have a lot of fun.  Winning is not the ultimate goal of the travel program; player development is.  However, players and families alike enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from dedication and commitment to the game.

Parents need to consider whether their child is ready for the experience.  If the answer is yes, the player will learn that success does not come easy, that hard work and commitment pay off and that winning is not everything.  These are common life-lessons and travel soccer is a good way to learn them.

How far do we have to travel?
Travel teams will play in games schedule by leagues on fields throughout the metro area.  However, the leagues make every effort to minimize travel times.  Last fall, 30 to 45 minutes of travel time was the farthest teams traveled. As teams get older or move up into the more competitive divisions within each league, more travel may be necessary. The Thunder team is committed to keeping travel as reasonable as possible.

Who runs the travel teams?
HVAA assists the teams in their formation and sets up the administrative structure necessary for play in the ICSL and through EPYSA.  HVAA selects qualified coaches to teach skills and tactics, to run practices and to coach the games.

Parents may work with the coach to select a volunteer manager to handle the administrative aspects for each team.  The manager is responsible for, or delegates responsibility for:  ordering uniform replacements, coordinating weekly game travel instructions, assisting with registering the team with  leagues and doing other administrative activities. Other parent roles or committees may include fundraising, field prep or clean-up or coordinating rides for players.

The coach, with the assistance of the manger, will then run the team on a day-to-day basis within the guidelines of HVAA, EPYSA, ICSL  and any other travel league in which the team is playing.  Each coach works with the HVAA Travel Committee and is responsible to the HVAA board collectively as the board is responsible for directing the mission of the 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

What are the costs to be on a travel soccer team?
Costs for these high-quality team operations are significant but less than those of similar organizations.  While other soccer clubs have paid coaching or training staff for top teams, HVAA is fortunate to have experienced coaches and trainers who volunteer an enormous amount of time to train and manage teams. Some development team coaches volunteer over 400 hours per year or approximately the equivalent of 10 full-time weeks of work.

Fees to play travel soccer are separated into three components: HVAA registration fee, HVAA travel sports fee and team fees. Below is a more detailed breakdown of what each player receives for their registration and team fees.

The fall season registration is done through HVAA online and all fees for fall play will be dispersed by HVAA as required. The travel sports fee will be collected upon making the team and winter and spring league player fees are the sole responsibility of the team.

  • Registration fee: fee to cover HVAA expenses including facilities,  league fees, referee fees and basic equipment is $105 for the 2009-10 year payable once per year during registration for Travel soccer
  • A travel sports fee of $50 is required for the 2009-10 year and is paid at the time of being invited to join the team. Home and away uniforms are purchased with the intent to last at least two years but individual components may be replaced during that time.
  • Team fees: fee to cover each player’s share of other league registration fees, tournament fees, practice facility fees, training fees and travel costs, if applicable. Fees over the year may range between $400-$600 depending on the level of training, facilities and the number of tournaments. Team fees are paid to a separate team account, not to HVAA.

Some idea of team expenditures and/or player fees experienced by teams this year:

  • Fall season / HVAA registration fee of $105 per player
  • HVAA travel sports fee of $50 per player
  • Team fee of $25 per month for 10 months (Aug – May) for most tournament fees,  spring league fees, ref fees, specialized  training, team equipment “ match balls, pinnies, medical supplies, mini goals etc.
  • Winter league $80 per player per session (2 per season)

Taking last year’s costs into consideration, it is anticipated that it will cost about $650 – $800 to play for a three-season 2010-2011 soccer development travel team. The cost of development soccer teams may be paid to the team in installments if necessary after the initial registration is paid to HVAA. Players are responsible for their own soccer shoes, shin guards and other personal use items.

Are grants / scholarships available?
Partial grants may be available from the team or through HVAA for those who would not be able to participate without one.  Information regarding the grant program is available through the team coach and participation in the program will remain as confidential as possible.

Whom do I contact for more information?
For more information on the Travel / Development Soccer program, or if you have questions, please contact the coach.

For a first-hand account of the value and quality of our Travel soccer program and how much the players enjoy the hard work and challenging play, please be sure to ask any parents of current players or the players themselves.

Finally, please come watch a game to better understand the level of play of the team to see if your daughter might have the skills and commitment needed to successfully tryout for the team.

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