Linden Youth Soccer Association
Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Soccer
Many parents that are new to Travel Soccer have questions about how travel soccer and what they should expect from the experience, so we’ve created this Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQ") page to help explain how it all works.
Why is it called “travel” soccer?
Linden Youth Soccer offers travel soccer teams for ages 6-15. The teams are competitively selected and travel to games throughout the Mid NJ region, therefore making them teams that “travel”.
Who can tryout?
Linden Youth Soccer travel teams are not limited to Linden residents. Players from throughout the area are eligible to try out and play for Linden Youth Soccer travel teams.
When are tryouts?
Each year, tryouts are held in the spring to evaluate and rank all players within each particular age group by ability and, where applicable, by position. Tryouts are held in Linden and are divided by those teams that play on small-sided fields (U-08 through U-11) and those teams that play on full-sided fields (Over U-11).
How do tryouts work?
Tryouts are typically held in early spring and are open to all players of appropriate age and gender, regardless of club affiliation or residence.
How far should I expect to travel for games?
Since most of the LYSA teams are affiliated with Mid-New Jersey Youth Soccer Association ("MNJYSA"), most games are located within one hour of Linden. MNJYSA arranges the games and they make every effort to minimize travel times. Very few games are further than an hour in distance.
Higher level teams play in more competitive leagues, such as MAPS, EDP or JAGS. These leagues are more competitive and may require drives of longer than one hour each way. Many parents coordinate carpools for longer trips or where conflicts arise.
How much soccer are we talking about?
Games: Generally, there are 10 games in the fall (September - November) and 10 games plus playoffs in the spring (March - June). Roughly half of each season’s games are played in Linden. Home games are typically played at Wheeler Park on Sundays, but re-scheduled games (due to weather, etc.) may be on either Saturday or weekday.
Summer: Teams may choose to practice/train during the summer.
Winter: Teams practice indoors (probably only once a week) and are encouraged to participate in indoor soccer leagues. Most Travel teams also participate in Winter Indoor league play at The Center Circle, Soccer Palace, or elsewhere to stay in shape and maintain their skills between the outdoor seasons.
Tournaments: LYSA Travel teams are also expected to participate in tournament play to improve their skills against tougher competition. Most tournaments are located within reasonable driving distance of Linden; however, higher level teams may choose to participate in out-of-state tournaments that may require an overnight stay in a local hotel.
Where and how often do teams practice?
LYSA teams practice at Wheeler Park. If Wheeler Park is not available, they may practice at another location in Linden (Al Kalla Park, Tiger Stadium, etc.). During the winter month’s teams practice in the gym at one of the Linden elementary schools.
Typically, all travel teams practice/train twice during the week when weather, field conditions and field availability permit. Goalies usually have an additional practice/training session during the week. During the winter month’s teams usually practice less.
What sort of commitment is required for parents of the travel team?
Everyone involved in travel soccer recognizes that serious commitment for young players is difficult. However, being on a travel team requires both the child AND THE PARENT understand that this activity is a commitment. Neither the player nor the team can develop to full potential without that commitment.
It is understood that only school, school athletics and religious commitments take precedence over travel team practices and games.
Parents are expected to attend practices to meet the requirements of at least two adults at every activity; however many teams create a rotating schedule where each parent takes a turn attending a practice to make sure their team adheres to this policy.
LYSA is run mostly by volunteers. The only people that are paid are the trainers. Parents may be asked to help out from time to time. Parents are expected and encouraged to help when they can. At some point, you may be asked to attend a S.A.G.E. meeting, help fundraise, or set up a field.
What qualifications do coaches and trainers have?
Travel teams are run by volunteer coaches who usually have a child on the team. All LYSA coaches must possess an F License issued by the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association, but all coaches are encouraged to continue their education to obtain higher-level certification. LYSA employs professional trainers to run at least one practice a week; these trainers are highly certified to coach age-appropriate soccer.
Who runs the travel teams?
LYSA assists the team in its formation and sets up the administrative structure necessary for the team to play in Mid NJ Youth Soccer. Linden Youth Soccer will select a qualified coach or coaches to teach skills, run practices, and coach games. Once players have been selected, the club strongly urges each team to conduct a mandatory annual parent’s organizational meeting to set expectations and guidelines. The coach selects a parent volunteer to manage all the administrative affairs of the team called a team manager. The team manager is responsible for (or delegates responsibility for) managing finances, uniforms, coordinating field preparations weekly, and doing other administrative activities. The coach(es), with the assistance of the team manager, will then run the team on a day-to-day basis within the guidelines of Linden Youth Soccer and Mid NJ Youth Soccer. The coach(es) and team manager report to LYSA’s officers and trustees, who are collectively responsible for directing the club’s travel program.
What is a "Flight"?
Teams are each assigned a "Flight" or division to group teams of similar ability and skill to promote healthy competition and development. The lower the Flight number, the higher the level of competition.
This sounds like 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 their skills (and confidence) improve by leaps and bounds; they make new friends; and the travel environment can be a lot of fun. Winning is not the ultimate goal of Linden Youth Soccer. Player development is the goal, however, players and families love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from the success that flows from dedication to the sport.
Parents need to think about whether their child is ready for the experience. But, if so, the child will learn that success does not come easy; hard work pays off; and winning isn’t everything. These are life lessons that we all must learn and travel soccer is a good way to learn them.
How much does Travel soccer cost?
Travel soccer teams costs run higher than recreation leagues due to the extra expenses that are involved.
Annual Fee: The 2020-2021 cost per player is $700 for the year. Fees are paid once a year and cover the fall and spring season. The annual fees paid cover expenses such as facilities, insurance, trainers, league fees (MNJYS, etc.), and some money towards tournament fees. Payment plans are available if needed.
Uniforms: The 2020-2021 required uniform package is about $100-$250. Players are required to purchase: one pair of LYSA shorts, two LYSA jerseys (one for away and one for home), and a pair of socks. There are additional items that are optional, but may be requested by the coach. Uniforms are purchased to last two to three years but individual components may be replaced during any time, as necessary.
Winter Leagues & Tournaments: If your team decides to participate in winter leagues and/or tournaments, there may be additional fees. However, many teams do fundraising to help reduce these costs.
Can my child play both recreation soccer and travel soccer?
Typically, younger players may want to continue with their recreation soccer teams. As of September 2014, LYSA travel players are not allowed to play recreational soccer. Just because they are getting more time on the field, it does not necessarily make it a good thing. Players can learn bad habits.
Can my child play travel soccer at the same time as other sports?
Yes! If players wish to play other sports in addition to travel soccer they can. Many travel soccer players, particularly at the younger ages, play two sports during the same season, including baseball, football, or basketball. However, players who wish to play at more competitive level should seriously consider their interest in playing other sports during the soccer season as these teams generally expect a stronger level of commitment to soccer due to the higher expectations at that skill level. The coach and the skill level of the players on the team, as well as their relative level of interest will determine the level of competition for each travel team at all levels.