*Please read in conjunction with the Clubs Frequently Asked Questions document*
Upper Dublin Soccer Club (the “Club”) helps provide an extensive travel soccer program for children ages 6-19 interested in a higher level of training and competition. The following information provides an overview of the more important aspects of playing in the Travel Soccer/Player Development Program (“Travel/PDP”) at the Club. This document should be read in conjunction with the Frequently Asked Questions Document (“FAQ”) on our Club Website -www.upperdublinsoccerclub.org.
1. PDP VS. TRAVEL: IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
The Player Development Program (PDP) and Travel Soccer at the Club are essentially one and the same with one notable difference: PDP implies that the team has a paid, professional soccer trainer who (1) runs most of the training (practice) sessions, (2) assists in making various decisions regarding these age groups, and (3) helps to teach and to educate our parent coaches (if applicable).
Why mandate PDP for the youngest age groups? In order for all players to start their travel soccer experience off with the development of proper technical skills, the younger age groups (U7 (Spring only), U8 & U9) are Club mandated as being PDP (the age charts with proper birth dates are listed on the Eastern PA Youth Soccer Association’s (“EPYSA”) website – www.epysa.org to help determine your child’s group). That is, in order for there to be solid and consistent emphasis on improving technical skills during the early, formative years of soccer, these age groups will have a paid professional trainer or trainers run their training sessions. The Club has also determined that it is best to have neutral people (the respective trainer or trainers) familiar with these age groups to (1) help make important decisions regarding the respective teams including the selection and tryout process and (2) help teach and educate the parental coaches (if applicable).
What happens after U9? Currently, after U9 (U10 and up), it will be the Club’s decision as to whether or not the individual teams continue the PDP Model, which essentially means continuing to have a paid professional trainer. Given the success of the PDP thus far, it is strongly recommended, anticipated, and expected that teams will continue on with the PDP Model once they move to U10 and up. The Club will evaluate each group on a team by team basis and make a decision that is in the best interest of the children. The Club will base its decision on many factors including, but not limited to, the abilities of the parental coaches, the coaching licensure levels of the respective parental coaches, the annual surveys executed by our families, and the trainer’s evaluation of the respective parental coaches.
Whether a team is designated as PDP or not, all U8 and older teams play “travel” soccer which implies that they begin organized soccer competition and play teams from other soccer clubs, generally from the surrounding areas. (Most, if not all, area leagues do not have formal U7 groups, so they begin at the U8 level)
2. COMMITMENT LEVEL: WHAT ARE WE GETTING INTO?
Most travel soccer teams at the Club, as with other clubs, play soccer for nine to ten months a year.
In the Fall Season, most, if not all Club teams play in an organized soccer league. Fall leagues typically have a ten game season with designated, competitive based divisions within each age group. There are usually at least two practices a week and game play each weekend in the Fall Season. The games are typically on Saturdays and/or Sundays and, on a rare occasion, a weekday. Practice sessions tend to run between one hour and one hour and thirty minutes in length (depending on the age group and other factors). Also, depending on field availability and the number of travel teams in a particular year, the Club tries to schedule practice times to start between 5:15pm – 6:45pm for our youngest age groups. Fall practice sessions usually begin around mid-August and run roughly to Thanksgiving. Usually teams compete in at least one tournament (See Tournament Section herein) during the Fall Season. Most Club travel teams usually play in more than one tournament in the Fall Season.
In the Winter Season, most teams typically train one night a week at an indoor facility and they will participate in an indoor league at a local facility. Playing during the Winter season provides our players with the opportunity to build more team cohesion and increase the number of touches on the ball. Outdoor turf fields are also made available during the winter season.
In the Spring Season, teams typically train at least one or two days a week (this is mostly a team decision, but two days a week are scheduled for our U8 and up PDP teams). Practices for the Spring tend to run from the beginning of April through the middle of June (often, fields are made available in March as well). Many of our travel teams choose to play in a Spring league as well (some teams decide not to play in a spring league and these teams usually train and play in tournaments). Spring leagues usually have a seven game season and the teams usually play games on Sundays starting in the early afternoon. Spring leagues tend to start in early April and run through early June.
***As a member of the Travel/PDP program, your child will be expected to participate in the Fall and Spring Seasons. As such, players making a Travel/PDP team are obligated to fulfill both a participation and financial commitment for the Fall and Spring Seasons. One of the reasons why we hold two practice sessions in the Spring for some of our teams is to provide an extra opportunity for multiple sport athletes to readily attend both, should they wish to do so. Still, if the above mentioned commitment is beyond what you want to invest for a multi-sport athlete then the Club’s Recreational Soccer Program (“Rec Soccer”) offers a solid option for your child.
3. TOURNAMENTS: BUILDING CAMARADERIE THROUGH COMPETITIVE PLAY
A big part of playing travel soccer involves tournament play. Tournaments provide a wonderful opportunity for players to play the game of soccer beyond their normal league play. A tournament provides an enjoyable time for all involved and is a great way to build team camaraderie. This opportunity is good for the development of the children both socially and athletically.
Tournaments tend to take place over all of the major holiday weekends, including but not limited to, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day.
As a soccer player in Travel/PDP at the Club, teams usually participate in at least one tournament a season (two over the entire nine-ten month period). Most teams play in more than one tournament per season.
4. REGISTRATION & TRYOUTS: HOW DO I JOIN?
There is currently a $210.00 registration fee ($25 non-refundable tryout fee plus $185 program fee) paid to the Club to register a child for Travel/PDP. This is a once a year fee paid during the registration period. The fee is subject to change on an annual basis.
The registration fee goes toward, among other things, insurance, uniforms, field equipment, field rental, field maintenance, township fees, certain league membership fees (Club pays the league fee for one season per team annually), certain referee fees (Club pays the league referee fees for the fall season per team annually), and website costs/fees.
One time a year, during March and/or April, and and/or May, the Club will hold tryouts for the various Travel/PDP Teams. These tryouts are for the purpose of making a team for the following seasons – the upcoming Fall season through the following Spring Season of the next year. Other than our U7 groups, a Travel/PDP player has to try out and make the team to be a part of our program. Each age group will typically hold 2-3 days of tryouts. Players will find out if they made the team by the end of May or the beginning of June. The Club has mandated that each age group carry a maximum of two teams per age group unless the Board of Directors decides otherwise. We are restricted by roster sizes by US Soccer’s guidelines. Trainers and/or the Club may decide to roster less than the maximum for certain teams in order to permit more game playing time for players.
5. COSTS: HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY?
It is estimated that the average cost for a typical player going through the nine-ten month Travel/PDP period is around $800.00 (NOT including the registration fee). Fees vary depending on the amount of players involved. This estimate goes toward paying for the professional trainers, registering for one tournament per season and registering for a winter league and a spring league (once again, the registration fee is NOT included in the overall estimate of $800.00). The fees may also vary depending upon the competitive level of the team. More competitive teams tend to participate in more tournaments including State Championship Competition Tournaments thus raising the fees required, however most PDP teams pay less than this estimate period.
6. TEAM HIERARCHY: WHO RUNS THINGS ON THE TEAM?
For our individual PDP Teams, the Professional Trainer is the person who organizes, plans, and executes the practice (training) sessions. The Board of Directors must approve the Professional Trainers.
Usually, each travel team has one or two parent coaches who must be approved by our Board of Directors. For our PDP Teams, the coaches must discuss plans for the games with the trainers and then execute those plans on game day. These trainers make every effort to come and observe two to three games a season in order to give feedback to the players and parent coaches.
Each travel team should have a manager. In many ways, the managerial role is one of the most important components in helping things run smoothly as these individuals are the information gatherers and disseminators. It is the manager who organizes various aspects of the team (paperwork for player passes, paperwork for games, registering for tournaments, etc.) and communicates with the player’s families. Proper communication is a big key to success. Our Travel Director runs regular monthly meetings for both the coaches and managers so the families can be brought up to date on significant events and changes.
Each team should also have an individual in charge of fundraising and social events. Fundraising events for the players, such as, for example, running our snack stands, promote team unity and help to reduce the costs involved with Travel/PDP.
7. SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT POINTS
Travel/PDP involves a nine-ten month commitment from both a participatory and financial perspective. If you feel that this commitment is beyond what you want to invest then Rec Soccer offers a solid option for your child to continue playing soccer.
Annual registration begins in February and currently carries with it a $210.00 fee ($25 non-refundable tryout fee plus $185 program fee). Be sure to visit our website regularly for more up to date information or any changes – www.upperdublinsoccerclub.org.
The estimated per player cost over a nine-ten month time period in the Travel/PDP is approximately $800.00 (this does NOT include the Club registration fee).
Fundraising can significantly reduce the costs involved with Travel/PDP.
8.NEW FOR 2017: PENNSYLVANIA ALLIANCE SELECT ACADEMY
For the first time we offer an elite program called Pennsylvania Alliance Select Academy in spring 2017. Penn Alliance Select teams will comprise of exceptionally committed and talented soccer players from UDSC, HSC, and other nearby clubs. This pilot program is “club friendly” (for the U13 and below age groups) which means that players who participate in Penn Alliance Select may do so as a supplement to their club travel soccer team. In fact, training and games will be scheduled to minimize overlap with the player’s club team schedule. This program is so much more than just enabling access to EDP. This model benefits the player by not only enabling additional high level training and playing time, but also providing the opportunity to play alongside talented and committed players from other nearby clubs. Additionally, this program provides an opportunity for the player who was affected by the birth year changes and is currently playing “a year up” to also play on this select team at the player’s pure age (if desired). Further, this program will provide a positive culture emphasizing a highly competitive technical and tactical soccer development environment with attention to soccer education, speed and agility/fitness training, proper nutrition/diet, psychological training and social responsibility. These categories, where applicable, will be gender specific with two separate Directors of Coaching – one for boys and one for girls. More info at http://pennallianceselect.gotsport.com/