Open tryouts are conducted each September and are open to ages U8-19 and players are placed based upon past experience on teams and tryout performance. Teams will be formed based upon the final decision of the Director of Coaching and Board of Directors.
Q & A about Travel Soccer
1. What is travel soccer?
Answer: Travel soccer is competitive soccer played against teams from other towns or communities. Games are played in the Western NY area as a member of the Buffalo and Western NY Junior Soccer League. Travel soccer is designed for players and parents who are willing to make a higher level of commitment in time, effort, training and competition. Players who have shown an interest and ability greater than most recreational players can benefit from moving to travel soccer. Most high school teams are made up of travel soccer players or most starters are the products of travel programs. If an ability or desire to play beyond high school exists, the player certainly must play travel and should explore ODP participation. Some of our teams that wish to play at the highest local level, will compete in the Thruway League.
2. How is travel soccer different from recreational (house league) soccer?
Answer: There are three basic levels of soccer: recreational (house), travel, premier. Each level provides an increased level of commitment and cost. Amherst Soccer recommends parents let their child decide the level that suits them. Most young children benefit from playing with their friends and classmates in their own community, at least until they are older or ready to commit to one sport. Amherst strives to form as many teams as possible at the younger ages to give children a chance to experience travel soccer. Many premier teams are formed with players from throughout the region. Premier soccer league play is not available before age 12. Our club Director can advise if your child is ready for premier soccer.
3. How much time will my child be expected to devote to soccer?
Answer: Open to any resident of the Amherst, Williamsville or Sweet Home School Districts, teams are formed in October. Indoor practice will begin in November. Each Amherst team is scheduled 2 sessions per week in the North Amherst Rec Center or Village Glen for practice. Some older groups are scheduled 1 session per week until April. Most teams also participate in indoor soccer leagues that play once per week from January to April. Outdoor practices start in the spring, weather permitting. Coaches at different levels have varying numbers of practice per week. Early in the season 2 per week is the minimum. Outdoor league games run once per week May to August on weeknights. Expect to play in several weekend tournaments including the Amherst International Memorial (AIM) Day weekend tournament. Sometimes an overnight trip to play a tournament is included. The commitment is expected to be honored through the entire season.
4. Where do we “travel” to?
Answer: Games are played around Western New York on weeknights. Most towns have clubs. Divisions of seven or eight teams are formed and home and away games are played. Examples of towns include, Clarence, Tonawanda, Hamburg, Orchard Park , Lancaster, Lockport, Lewiston, Wilson, Kenmore, West Seneca , etc. Tournaments are played on Saturdays AND Sundays around the area and in the Rochester area. Sometimes overnight trips are made to Erie, Cleveland or Binghamton. Should your child join a team that is entering the Thruway League, you will play league games against teams from Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Binghamton, instead of local town teams (although the travel distance is farther for games, the number of games is fewer and season shorter).
5. What if my child plays another sport?
Answer: Travel soccer is not for everyone. A substantial time commitment is required. That being said, many of our players are able to juggle a schedule that includes baseball, basketball, swimming, dance, etc. Our coaches are expected to offer some consideration during the winter training season for conflicts. No one expects a child that is 8-12 years old to focus on just one sport or activity. Older children often play high school sports and the season starts later in May to accommodate game conflicts. Once the outdoor season begins, soccer should become your first priority. If you are 13 and a travel baseball player, you would not be able to commit to travel soccer. Just because someone wants to play a spring high school sport does not relieve them of their commitment to the soccer team. Spring is our in-season time and playing time will be decreased if attendance is not regular. I would suggest you speak to the coach about level of commitment. There will be a pre-season meeting to explain expectations. Every child who plays travel is expected to commit to a minimum of 75% of all team activities during the year, not just games. Do not expect to receive much playing time if you show up for games and not practices.
6. What is the difference between an “A” and “B” team?
Answer: Not much! Seriously, we have so many children who want to play travel soccer in Amherst that we are often able to form two teams in an age group. For purposes of development, at U9 or 10 or 11, we will no longer separate players by ability and just randomly assign players to teams or make them as equal as possible. We have the age-group pool all practice together all year if possible. Soccer development is better served at the youngest ages by focusing on technical development. At U12 and older, children start to make decisions as to what sports and level of commitment they are willing to make. When we form “A” and “B” teams, we usually place them in different divisions to allow appropriate competition. Many times the “A” team is made up of players who have played for several years and the “B” team may be the newer players. This is done yearly and players may move between the teams over time based upon development. Amherst “B” teams are stronger than many other clubs “A” teams. Sometimes the top 2 or 3 players on a “B” team improve more than the last 2 or 3 on an “A” team and will win a spot on that team the next year. The expected commitment level will be the same at either level.
7. What if my child doesn’t make the team? When will I find out?
Answer: We will try to have all coaches make contact with you within 14 days of the selection process. This year, we may post the rosters on the web as soon as the Director approves them. Sometimes there are issues with getting responses to an offer on the A team and this slows the process. If your child does not make a team initially, you still may receive a call as we work our way through the players (i.e.: some players may turn down an offer on a team). After each process, we will try to make contact within 14 days. Our goal is to form two teams at every level. If we need to find a place to play for any child willing and able to make the commitment expected and have the numbers to form a team, they may be placed on a mixed age-group team and not necessarily with their friends.
8. How much will my child play?
Answer: The League and Amherst Soccer have a rule that “every child who plays on a team and is regular in attendance and effort will play 50% of the game at age 9-12”. Additionally, each child should play a variety of positions on the field. If your child is only playing one position or not enough, you have an obligation to ask the coach why. The best defender at 10 years old could be the best forward at 15 and the best player at 10 is many times not the best at 15 due to growth and development differences. Coaches are encouraged to train the total player and not focus all of their attention on winning. After age 12, more specialization will begin although the coaches are encouraged to play the kids at more than one position. You will see the players themselves starting to determine where they feel the most comfortable by 14. ASA has changed coaches in the past for failure to adhere to the 50% rule. Older players will receive more or less playing time based upon the discretion of the coach. Factors that effect time include: attendance, attitude, effort, and ability. ASA coaches at U14-19 make every effort to be fair to all players.
9. How are coaches selected?
Answer: The Director of Coaching makes the selections based upon the application and observation of the individual. Each year we try to find the best possible coaching candidates while maintaining a reasonably priced program. All of our coaches, parent or otherwise, have played soccer in high school and/or college and/or have demonstrated sufficient experience in working with children in sports or both. ASA also requires each coach to attend and obtain a coaching license through the USYSA programs. They have all obtained at least an “E” license, most now have “D” and some obtained “C” level. Each requires a substantial commitment of time and training. Coaches are encouraged to continue their education and obtain higher-level licenses and many coaches use trainers from the local college teams, high schools and former professional soccer players to assist. The past several years, ASA has secured the services of many college-aged or recent graduate soccer players. Each year we assess performance and coaches must apply yearly for a team. We will rotate coaches to different teams. It is not in the child’s best interest to have the same coach throughout their soccer experience. Over time, children do not learn from hearing the same voice, the same approach. Many parent coaches wish to stay with their child’s team through the whole experience and we are finding that is not always the best thing to do.
10. What is ODP soccer?
Answer: Olympic Development Program- is a training program run by the state associations for the players who desire a high level of training and competition and access to a variety of excellent coaching. This is the recommended activity for players who wish to play in college or have a sincere passion for the game. There is higher visibility with college scouts and contacts through this program than there is with premier soccer. For more information, access www.nyswysa.org. Training starts during the fall and runs throughout the year. ODP activities require travel and additional cost. Several Amherst Soccer coaches are on the ODP coaching staff. We recommend ODP for the opportunity to play with some of the best players in the state and work with accomplished coaches. Talk to our Director if interested
11. What is Premier soccer?
Answer: For children who show exceptional soccer development and passion for the sport. Several clubs in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse try to recruit the better players to come to play for them. They will accept anyone from any town and do not have the restrictions placed upon local town clubs. Sometimes, but not always, at certain age groups, they are successful in convincing many of the best players to come to their club. These teams usually play in a higher level league, travel more, and visit more out of town tournaments. Many of the ASA coaches have been involved in both club and premier and ODP soccer with their children in the past or have coached at various levels. Ask to speak to someone for opinions and talk to other parents of older children who have experienced the premier programs before committing over $2000 and much more time to youth soccer. Ask the premier programs for names and where their kids ended up in college, and how much scholarship money they got, before assuming that is the end result. Use our resources and speak to our Director about various recruitments and clubs. He will be honest. ASA does not try to hold back any player from seeking their highest level of play and encourages moving to premier for many.
12. What are the Parent responsibilities?
Answer: ASA expects each parent to be supportive of their child and the club by getting your child to practice and games on time, helping them to be regular in attendance at all or most activities, scheduling vacations after the season ends, showing consideration to the coach and team by giving notice of absence as early as possible, paying your fees to the club and team timely, and by volunteering your time to help with the Amherst International Memorial Day Tournament (our only fundraiser) and any other small requests we may have to accomplish our task. Remember, we expect attendance at 75% or more of all team activities- practices, games and social events. Once a child commits to a travel team, we hope the parent will help to assure that the commitment is honored for the season.
13. What are the estimated costs?
Answer: A typical team has a yearly (November thru July) total per player cost of about $500. This can be affected by various discretionary items, such as tournaments, warmups, bags, etc. A sample for a U10 team is below. This is per player (14 total). Larger rosters for older teams will show different amounts.
- ASA registration $280 includes league fees, insurance, referees, administrative costs, equipment, etc
- Uniform (if you did not play last year) $75
- 22 weeks of indoor training (30-40 sessions)
- Indoor League $70 Played at Epic, Sportsplex or Sahlens at coach’s discretion
- Warmup/Hoodie/Sweats $30-90 Optional per coach and team
- Bag $10-40 Optional
- Tournaments $75 -3 weekend tournaments
- Coaching fee $70-150 -We offer a coaching fee to non-parent coaches
- End of Year Party $20 -Optional and variable
- AIM Ads $50 minimum -We ask each family to sell at least one tournament program ad or pay the amount of that ad. If a team sells their goal it receives a rebate of some fees
- Travel, Hotels – if attending out of town tournament
These costs should be discussed at the first coach/parent/team meeting with all members discussing and understanding the plans laid out by the coach/manager.