Competitive soccer teams are often referred to as traveling teams because of the distance they travel during the season to play other elite clubs. While house-league teams are open to anyone who registers, travel teams are open to only the area's best players. Travel teams may play their seasons following the house-league schedule or may play instead of house-league. Getting on a team involves performing well at a tryout.
Contact any travel clubs in your immediate area prior to the soccer season to learn when tryouts will be held. Because the soccer season typically begins in May or June, contact each club three months ahead of time to ensure you have adequate time to prepare. Inquire with each team about area restrictions, as where you live may make you ineligible to play for a certain organization.
Work on your conditioning, which is as important to soccer as the fundamentals. You can improve your conditioning by running outside or on a treadmill daily. To mimic the speed changes of soccer, work on both your long-distance running and sprinting. Even if you don't have the best soccer fundamentals, coaches will notice your conditioning if it is above par.
Work on your soccer fundamentals with other players at clinics, camps and leagues. If you can't play outdoors during the winter, sign up for an indoor soccer program that will keep you in shape and keep your skills sharp. Practice game scenarios such as passing, shooting, throw-ins, penalty kicks and footwork.
Attend the travel team's tryout on the designated date and perform the drills as requested by the team's coaching staff. Try not to be nervous or put excess pressure on yourself. If you've prepared for the tryout, you've done all you can to make the team. The decision falls into the hands of the coaching staff. The tryout will involve drills that gauge speed, footwork and ball control, as well as scrimmages to show how you perform in game scenarios. While it may be tempting to try to control the ball and score a goal, remember to adhere to the team concept; coaches are looking for good team players on their squad.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're a teenager and rely on your parents for transportation, talk to them prior to signing up for the tryout. Being on a travel team requires a significant time investment from parents. If they can't provide you with transportation, can you carpool with a peer who's also trying out for the team?
- Photo Credit soccer ball image by Mitchell Knapton from Fotolia.com