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Travel soccer is somewhat more competitive and requires a somewhat greater commitment level than Recreation League. Travel teams are chosen through the use of tryouts each spring and they stay together throughout the year. Although new players are added to the team each year through the tryout process and other players are dropped, the teams generally stay together for a number of years.
Half of the games are played at GCVSA and half at the other teams' fields. All teams play a fall schedule similar, although slightly longer than Recreation League because of playoffs. Most travel teams do some amount of indoor soccer in the winter, but most coaches recognize that other sports that are in season, i.e. basketball, hockey, etc have precedence over soccer outside the fall. Most teams also play in a number (3-6) of tournaments (1 or 2 day events) also usually within a 1-2 hour drive.
Tryouts are held for each age group each spring, generally from late-April to mid-May. The best players are chosen for the first team in each age group, the next best players for the second team, etc. The club philosophy is to try to create as many teams as we can to keep as many kids playing as possible.
The age groups are designated U9, U10, U11, etc, meaning under 9, under 10, under 11, etc. EPYSA has mandated that teams will use the birthyear for determining the age group. Exact years and U groups are listed on the tryouts schedule.
GCVSA Girls Travel participate in the PAGS soccer league while GCVSA Boys Travel participate in the DELCO soccer league. PAGS and DELCO have multiple divisions based on competition level for each age group. A team will travel roughly up to an hour’s drive for games, depending on which teams are in its division. Most teams choose to play in tournaments during the year. Tournaments are chosen for a variety of reasons, including skill level or location. Participation in a tournament is not mandatory but it does give a player a chance to play several games in a couple days as well as "bonding" with his or her team.
The intensity level of the teams is generally determined jointly by the coaches and the parents, with the top teams in each age group usually spending somewhat more time and effort than the others. Most teams practice 2 times a week during the later part of the summer and 1-2 times per week in the fall during the season. Many teams also play or practice one weeknight in the winter. A smaller number of teams actively practice one or more times per week in the spring. Many teams also do a week long camp during the summer.
Again, this is somewhat dependent on the level of commitment of the team. However, typical expenses include a yearly registration fee, a new uniform generally every 2-3 years and trainer fees. All teams pay half of the referee fees for each regular season game and most teams play in 2-4 tournaments throughout the year.
That depends on the commitment level of both the child and the parent. Many children begin to play at U9, but a significant number do not start until U10 or U11. Most of the more serious players are playing travel soccer by U11.
At U9 and U10, the teams play 8 players at a time, so a team typically takes 11-12 players. At U11 and beyond, the teams play the normal 11 a side, so generally take 14-17 players per team.
GCVSA uses a combination of paid trainers and parent coaches. The ideal coach knows soccer, relates well to children, is well organized, completely fair, and totally unflappable. While we have many excellent coaches, we are always looking for more, particularly at the younger levels. If you are interested or have a suggestion, please contact us.