If you have a fear that the travel program will pull in your young innocent child and never let them go until they are a worn out band of battle scared teenagers, please read this.
Travel soccer does not require complete year round commitment to nothing but soccer. It does not require a major financial investment. What it does in recent years is develop some very confident young men and ladies; allowed kids to meet kids from other central PA areas, kept kids and parents active together and provided hours of fun, laughter, competition, and camaraderie.
Travel soccer is not for every kid. It is definitely for those kids that have the interest, desire and athletic ability to achieve success in sports. Four levels of travel soccer are available, premier, division 1, division 2 and division 3. Each level requires more commitment and ability. At the highest level, travel soccer involves real travel. Our premier teams must play strong competition to improve. This competition is usually found in tournaments and leagues in the Mid-Atlantic States.
At the division 1 and division 2 levels, travel soccer means travel in the central PA area. League play includes teams in the greater Harrisburg area with good weekend tournaments also found locally within an hours drive. League play includes 50% of the games at the home field. Division 3 almost always involves the fall season only.
Travel soccer is a term established by our governing body, the USYSA. It is differentiated from Intramural/Recreational soccer in that various affiliated clubs play each other in a league with standings and championships. There are over 100 clubs in the central PA area. This provides plenty of opportunity to play competitively without the enormous travel requirement.
Travel soccer teams usually don't practice any more than intramural teams during the fall season. For most teams this is twice a week for an hour and a half. Our higher level premier teams usually play and/or train indoors during the winter and often play in spring leagues, tournaments and State Cup competition. Indoor soccer has become a fun action packed game that most players and parents enjoy tremendously and is a great venue to improve skills. The many facilities in central PA make indoor soccer available to most teams.
LDSA in recent years has had much difficulty in attracting younger players to the travel program. This is particularly evident with Under 9 and 10 boys. This is a critical age when travel program decisions should be made. In deciding what direction you want to go with soccer, please consider the following:
If you feel you are too busy to get your son or daughter more involved, take a closer look at your priorities.
If you still have fears and questions, please call our Coaching Director, President, of Travel VPs. Their contact information is on this website.
More thoughts on Travel
The decision to move from the intramural program to the travel program is presented most often to players entering the under 9, 10 & 11 age groups. LDSA provides a more competitive level of play through the travel program beginning at the under 9 age group for both girls and boys. In the intramural program the age group teams are organized based primarily on location. The travel program organizes age group teams based on skill and interest. Those players that want to play more soccer with players of similar interests and want more advanced training are prime candidates for the travel program. Our travel teams compete against teams in Central Pennsylvania with half of the games at our home field.
Within the travel program two levels of competition are offered, Division 1 and Division 2. To be placed on one of these teams, players are requested to participate in "tryouts" which are conducted by our coaches in March, April and May. (LDSA will attempt to place all players interested in the travel program on a travel team.) At the younger age groups, the travel program does not necessarily mean a significantly greater commitment of time. The under 9 and 10 travel teams offer a relatively low-keyed introduction to the travel program. This will change as you move into the older age groups. Most of our Division 1 travel teams train and play year round. In addition to the fall league, they play indoor soccer during the winter and tournaments throughout the year. The amount of additional playing and training a team undertakes is determined by the coach with input from the team parents.
If you have players in age groups in which a travel program is offered, talk to on of our Coaching Directors. They can help you determine if this is the right program for your player. Contact information can be found under the Administration tab then Club Contacts.