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Berlin Youth Soccer Association

Berlin Youth Soccer Association

Travel Program Overview

What is Travel Soccer?

The BYSA travel soccer program is designed to create opportunities for the soccer player wanting to be the best they can be. Travel soccer offers a higher level of competition both in practice and in games. But most importantly it is to have FUN playing soccer. 

Try-outs

Each year in June, we have Travel Try-outs. If you are selected for the team, you will be on the team for the upcoming Fall and following Spring. In order to attend Try-outs, you must be registered with BYSA. It is best to attend both try-outs. You must attend at least one tryout in order to be selected for the team. Sometimes in the Spring when a team is short of players, a Spring supplemental Try-out is held to select additional players. 

Higher Level of Competition

Travel is for the players that enjoy competition. There are tryouts - only the best of each age group make the team. These players train with and against each other. They play the best players from other towns. They have to practice and play harder. 

One question you may ask, is it the right level of competition? The answer is “YES”. The Central/North Central Districts provide travel leagues at varying levels of ability. In order to maintain competitive balance every season they move teams to different divisions based on their prior performance. 

Is my child ready to play travel? The player is ready if they have played recreation soccer and done well. They know they can do it, because they have already done it. They know they are ready for more competition and they want it. When you watch them, you will know it too. 

Better and More Training 

Occasionally, a player will get lucky and get a recreation soccer coach who has played High School, College, or Professional soccer. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen enough. It’s often a volunteer parent who is learning soccer along with their children. Their level of soccer knowledge is generally dependent on whether it’s their first or second child. The Travel coaches, as a whole, have had more soccer experience, taken training courses, and have the time to spend learning and teaching soccer. Many are also certified referees so they have a more complete understanding of the game. In some cases they may be those same volunteer parents who have made a concerted effort to learn how to coach soccer at a higher level. 

To supplement travel coaches training sessions, a coach may hire outside trainers for training sessions. This provides enhanced training for players to learn more complex skills and tactics. 

FUN 

The one thing that is true for all players, is that they are playing soccer because it’s FUN. When it’s not FUN, they will find something else to do (and they should, regardless of what activity they’re doing). They may be playing because they enjoy the sport or it may be because all their friends are doing it. But, regardless of the reason, they are doing it because it’s FUN. 

Some players have found Travel more FUN than Recreation. A few reasons we have heard: “Rec is too easy.” “It makes me a better player.” “In Travel, my teammates are as good as I am.” “We travel to different places to play.” “I’m playing for Berlin.” “My friends are playing Travel.” “I get to play for the State Championship.” 

For some players, Travel isn’t more fun. Those players should continue to play in the recreation program. If a player tries Travel and it doesn’t work for them, they simply move back to recreation and have fun. A number of players have done this. 

Playing Time 

BYSA encourages coaches to play everyone. How much each player plays varies for a number of reasons: 

  • Age: Leagues don’t keep standings until age 11. Tournaments don’t have winners until age 11 (everyone gets a participation award) There isn’t a State Cup until age 11. Therefore, for most teams, playing time is much more balanced at ages 9 and 10. 
  • Competitiveness of the particular game: As players get older, and league and tournament records are kept to determine champions, league and tournament games will have less balanced playing time as coaches try to make adjustments to “win” games. For non-league games, coaches will try to adjust playing time for balanced play. 
  • Players individual drive: Playing time may vary based on each players attitude and participation during practices and on the field during games. Players develop physically and mentally at different rates, but in Travel the players are all in the same age group which helps balance skill levels. 

This will vary with the philosophy of the coaches and parents. For most of our Travel teams, everyone will play a lot and you won’t see a lot of difference from game to game. Usually, the players will be fairly equal on the team, and their competition generally equal to the skill level of the team.

Traveling – how much and how far? 

How Much?

  • Half of your games are in Berlin (one or two a week).
  • All your practices are in Berlin (usually two a week). That means 75% of the time, you’ll be bringing your child to soccer in Berlin. 

How far? 

  • Normally: It changes every year, depending on the composition of your league and whether the “faraway” team is home or away. Most typical teams are Wethersfield, Plainville, Glastonbury, West Hartford, Newington, Avon, Farmington, Simsbury, Cromwell, Manchester. 
  • Occasionally: Berlin is at the southern end of the District League it’s in. So, Middletown is the furthest South, East Hampton is the furthest East, Canton is the furthest West, and Enfield. 
  • Tournaments: Each team usually goes to one or two tournaments a season. Unless a team is very competitive, they are in-state, with the above towns being the most common places. 
  • Cup: If your team enters the CT Cup, you can play anywhere in the state, because it is a random draw. But, once again, it’s half home and half away. Also, it is a single elimination tournament, with one game a weekend. 
  • Car-pooling: Team spirit develops very quickly, both among the players and the parents. Any time a player needs a ride, there are usually 5 or more parents ready and willing to give that player a ride, whether it be a practice or a game. Car-pooling is common, usually based on local neighborhoods. There are usually several small groups of parents that do this - setting-up a schedule to take turns bringing the players and picking them up. Cost Besides the normal BYSA registration, there are additional fees for Travel Soccer, due to additional costs incurred. There is a second BYSA fee to cover extra uniform costs, the higher costs of referees (3 instead of 1, and more experience), and additional league fees (CT Cup, insurance, etc.). This cost is variable. Also, there will be a team fee if your team does a tournament. Any more questions? Just call your BYSA Travel Supervisor or the BYSA Club President.
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