1. What is travel soccer?
Travel soccer is designed for players and parents who are willing to make a higher level of commitment in time, effort, training and competition. Travel soccer is competitive soccer played against teams from other towns or communities. Games are played in the Western PA area as a member of the PA West Soccer Association. Players who have shown an interest and ability greater than most recreational players can benefit from moving to travel soccer.
2. How is travel soccer different from recreational (in-house league) soccer?
There are three basic levels of soccer: Recreational (in-house), Travel and Club. Each level provides an increased level of commitment and cost. Most young children benefit from playing with their friends and classmates in their own community, at least until they are older, have developed their skills in the correct environment or are ready to commit to one sport. The PTSA is fortunate to field enough teams in the younger age groups to support a thriving recreational program. However, beginning at U10, we reccommend all players seeking to further their soccer development to tryout for the travel program.
3. How much time will my child be expected to devote to soccer?
Travel Soccer typically has one team practice and one optional PDO Training session per week. While the PDO Training is optional, it comes highly reccommended since it features paid professional coaches from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and/or the Peters Township High School Staff. The official Travel season consists of both Fall (Sep - Nov) and Spring (Late Mar - May) sessions. Travel games are typically on Sunday afternoons and they are typically about eight games per Fall and Spring seasons. Some teams also play indoor leagues during the winter months but this is typically optional for players.
4. Where do we travel to?
Games are typically played around the Pittsburgh area but with an occasional game in Wheeling or Morgantown. An example of teams we usually face are St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon, Montour, Wheeling, Canon Mac, etc. However, each teams opponents will be determined by their exact tier / division in PA West's system.
5. What if my child plays another sport?
Travel soccer is a substantial time commitment but many of our players are able to juggle a schedule that includes baseball, basketball, swimming, dance, etc. Our coaches are expected to offer some consideration for conflicts as no one expects a child that is 8-12 years old to focus on just one sport or activity. Spring and Fall is our in-season time and playing time may be decreased if attendance is not regular. We suggest you speak to the coach or travel commissioner about level of commitment for your specific team. Commitment is important to teach to children and we expect the parents to be involved in maintaining this character trait.
6. 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 Peters Township that we are often able to form at least two teams in each age group. For purposes of development, the travel commissioner has discretion on how the teams are arranged. There are A, B & even C teams however, we would like to make note that many parents with previous soccer experience prefer their child that is a borderline A-B player to be placed on the B team (ask your coach or travel commissioner why). 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 director will assure that the ability levels are appropriate throughout the team. This results in a better training environment for touches on the ball (please contact the travel commissioner for more information on the philosophy of grouping ability). We usually place teams in different PA West 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 may move between the teams over time based upon development. PTSA "B" teams are often stronger than some clubs “A” teams. Sometimes the top 2 or 3 players on a “B” team improve more than the others 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 committment to the sport and other factors. The expected commitment level should be the same at either level.
7. When are the Tryouts? When will I find out?
Tryouts are typically in late May and the dates and times will be posted on the PTSA Website. After the Tryout dates, we will try to have the teams selected and players notified in Mid to late July.
8. How much will my child play?
As this is a more competitive team, playing time may not be equal during some games. 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 and/or contact the Travel Commissioner. 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.
9. How are coaches selected?
The Travel Commissioner and PTSA Board make the selections based upon the application and observation of the individual. Each year we try to find the best possible coaching candidates from those who applied. Please refer to the "Become a Coach" link on the homepage for more information.
10. What are the Parent responsibilities?
The PTSA 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, paying your fees to the club and team timely, and by volunteering your time to help with the PTSA tournaments and fundraisers when possible. Once a child commits to a travel team, we hope the parent will help to assure that the commitment is honored for the season.
11. What are the estimated costs?
A typical team has a yearly per player cost of $200 plus travel. Uniforms are generally purchased every two years and run approximately $80 for the total kit. If the team / player also decides to play indoor soccer and/or additional tournaments, that cost will be in addition and will first be discussed by the coach.
Items that are included with these fees: