The soccer field is where most young children begin their athletic careers. Soccer is a fabulous first team sport to learn, as it develops strong hand-eye coordination, teaches cooperative teamwork, and introduces healthy competition. Soccer is preferred to alternative team sports like baseball and football due to its easy learning curve and relatively safe nature. That said, as children age and their skills develop, the sport takes on an exciting and competitive edge. Soccer becomes life as recreational coaches find themselves registering for out-of-town tournaments. Traveling with a team comes with its own set of challenges that can throw even the most organized coaches for a loop. Read on to learn how you can streamline the process of traveling with your recreational soccer team and have fun while doing it!
Establish a Point Person
As teams begin to dabble with traveling, they should consider electing a point person to communicate with parents regarding trip details. Typically the coach delegates this job to a parent or guardian of a team member who has extra time to dedicate to planning and research.
Initially, it is essential to determine the specific responsibilities of the point person. Will he or she be accepting parent input or making decisions alone? Will the travel representative take care of everything from researching car insurance quotes to setting curfews, or will he or she request involvement from other parents? Once you decide what process works best for your squad, organization and communication should be relatively simple and straightforward.
Build a Budget
To commit to a schedule of out-of-town games and tournaments, parents must be aware of the costs doing so will incur. Soccer trips tend to become incredibly expensive considering the need for travel, accommodations, food, tournament fees, and more. Providing this detailed information to parents eliminates the potential for hidden costs and helps keep the team budget on track.
When presenting a budget, it’s a good idea to allow parents an option to pay incrementally rather than in one upfront lump sum. This arrangement eases financial strain and helps families to plan accordingly. Further, if costs begin to spiral out of control, consider a team fundraising event. Activities like car washes and bake sales are terrific team-building events that can subsidize out-of-town travel.
Most recreational soccer teams travel to drivable destinations. That said, there are many ways for your team to get from point A to point B. One method is to poll parents and determine who is available to drive and how many passengers they can accommodate. From that point, divide the players accordingly.
Renting a couple of multi-passenger vans is another practical option; it keeps teammates together while alleviating the need for multiple driving parents. All major rental car companies have vehicles available to accommodate any number of team members along with their soccer cleats and gear!
Finally, your team can opt to charter a bus. Charter bus pros include team bonding opportunities, no required parent drivers, and plenty of space for comfort and lounging. While potentially pricey, a bus charter is an incredibly luxurious, enjoyable way to travel. It might be worth some extra fundraising to give this option a try once or twice.
Find a Hotel
Hotel arrangements vary based on the ages of the athletes. Younger players will reside with their families, while older soccer stars will likely room with teammates. Either way, be sure to accurately estimate the number of rooms needed and the budget restrictions before filtering your hotel search.
Aside from rooms, several amenities make team travel more enjoyable. Ensure the hotel provides restaurants, pools, laundry facilities, and other conveniences that your team might require. Finally, make the hotel aware that you’re booking rooms for a soccer tournament; many hotels will provide a discounted rate for groups of larger numbers.
Organizing a trip for a youth soccer team and their families is a task in and of itself. Setting schedules, rules, and boundaries ahead of time helps keep families on track and players on time!
First, provide families with daily schedules, including times, before the event ensues. This habit will eliminate any back-and-forth questioning that could lead to misunderstandings. Next, make a list of essential items that each player must bring. Cleats, uniforms, water bottles, and shin guards are requisite items soccer players need to perform! Finally, set a curfew. Ensuring players are in their rooms at bedtime will guarantee fresh, energetic athletes for tomorrow’s games!
Team travel is an incredibly special experience for coaches, players, and families. With a bit of upfront planning and careful preparation, you can be well on your way to making memories with your soccer team to last a lifetime.