What is Select or Travel Soccer? Travel or select soccer means that players tryout in order to make a team.

What’s the Difference Between AYSO (recreational) and BC Fire (select)?

Unlike recreational soccer (AYSO, YMCA), which groups team into 2-year brackets (U6, U8, etc), travel soccer teams are divided into single “U” ages until players reach the high school age then teams are combined at the league level to U15/16 and U17/19. Select offers a faster paced, competitive level of soccer. Our focus is finding the right balance between skills improvement and player development, and successful soccer. This level of soccer is for players who have had success in AYSO and other recreational leagues and are interested in playing at a higher level. Travel soccer is a competitive program. All players are welcome to attend try-outs, but not all will be asked to join a team.

Teams practice 2 or more times per week and practices begin up to 4 weeks before the season begins. Teams play 8 games in the fall and 8 in the spring, with many playing in tournaments, indoor soccer leagues or participating in off-season training. High school age players either play a Fall season or a Spring season. Once asked to join, playing time is not guaranteed though particularly at the younger ages coaches are encouraged to try to give every player as much time on the field as possible. Additionally, once on a team, players will continue to have to try-out every June to keep their roster spot. Coaches are licensed and bring a wealth of personal playing and training experience to the teams they lead. Travel is a highly competitive world, and players’ development is of the utmost importance on travel teams.

Who should play travel soccer?

To be successful in travel soccer, children should show a high level of ability, and their families should recognize that a greater commitment, both in terms of attendance at practices and games as well as financially, is required. If a child wants “more soccer” and seems to find success on the field in the house league, travel may be a logical step. Travel soccer is not for everyone, and in many cases a player and his or her family may be best served by participating in our recreational (house) program.

When are the games held?

Generally travel games are held on Saturdays and Sundays. Tournament games are held on Saturdays and Sundays; tournaments are discussed below in more detail.

How can I find out when and where tryouts will be held?

Please check the website in May. The league stipulates when tryouts will be held. Tryout dates and times will be listed there. You may also check with your child’s coach or contact the club through emails. Signs will be posted throughout the surrounding communities announcing tryout dates.

What do you mean by try-outs? What must my child do?

Try-outs are held every spring in mid-June, and all interested children in an age group are encouraged to attend. Try-outs, which are two or three nights long, are essentially handled like a practice with coaches leading the sessions. Players’ ball control, foot skills, speed, and understanding of the game are assessed by the coaches. Within a few days, coaches may offer a roster position to a player, or may call to discuss areas where the child should focus on improving.

How many players will ‘make it’?

Each age group is allowed to carry a maximum number of players as stipulated by Michigan Youth Soccer Association. Many coaches choose to select fewer than the maximum number of players allowed in order to optimize each person’s playing time. Nobody wants to have a child sitting on the bench for long periods due to enormous rosters. Again, some age groups have multiple teams already, and BC Fire is willing to form more teams if interest and ability indicate the need.

What, specifically, does the “travel” part of Travel Soccer entail?

While many families, especially those considering this level of soccer for the first time fear that by ‘travel’ they are committing to going to as far as Indiana or as far as Detroit every weekend throughout the season, this is definitely NOT the case. League games- roughly 8 of them per season- are played in the Southwest Michigan area. You may end up playing a game in Portage or St. Joseph but you’ll have about half of your games at ‘home’ on BC Fire fields.

Can you tell me more about tournaments?

Tournaments comprise a large part of the travel soccer experience, and the children love them. Tournament weekends generally mean a team will definitely play two games on Saturday and at least one on Sunday, with the possibility of more Sunday afternoon if the team reaches the semi-finals or finals. Some tournaments over long holiday weekends will extend the final to Monday. College showcase events, for older players, often run from Friday through Sunday with one game each day. Some teams play two or three tournaments per season. These often take place in the ‘pre-season’ (August and March), but may be held on Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Memorial Day weekends, and sometimes on the weekend following the last weekend of league play. Most teams play tournaments held locally.

So what league does BC Fire teams play in?

We are fortunate to play in a very competitive league with multiple divisions of levels of play. We play in the West Michigan Youth Soccer Association.

My child enjoys other activities, like dance or baseball- can that work?

Many travel soccer players participate in other activities. The coaches understand this, however, it is expected that a player’s primary commitment will be to his or her soccer team. In high school, many top players will find they need to choose one sport but for younger ones, a variety of sports are fine as long as the child and parents understand the commitment to the travel soccer team needs to be the priority over everything save school and family obligations.

How many hours a week will my child practice?

Generally speaking, travel teams practice two or three times a week for an hour and a half during the regular season.

I’ve heard travel soccer is essentially a year-round sport?

Generally speaking, travel teams train and play, indoors or outdoors, about 9 months out of the year. After tryouts in June, July is a quiet month for travel soccer players and most families opt to take their vacations then. Regular practices begin approximately August 1, and teams often run local “mini-camps” for several hours a day for a week. These are important to attend so it is best to attempt to schedule vacations in July or no later than the first week of August. Some teams continue training outdoors when the weather permits all winter. After January 1, the teams gear up for indoor league play and may begin training inside in indoor soccer facilities. Indoor leagues and training finish in early March, and the outdoor pre-season tournaments take place. Around April 1, the spring outdoor season begins and runs through the second weekend in June. Try-outs for all players take place again in mid- June.

Tell me about the coaches?

Coaches are thoroughly interviewed by the Director of Coaching and vetted by the BC Fire Soccer board. Whenever possible, they are watched while training a team and while coaching a game before being offered a position. We are proud of our coaching staff, which features many coaches with “D” and “E” licenses. Coaches are required to have either a D or E level coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). An E license requires 16 hours of training, while a D license is an additional 32 hours of training. A number of our coaches hold specific accreditation such as goal-keeping certificates. All BC Fire Soccer coaches are encouraged to participate in continuing education courses throughout their careers.

As a parent, what are my obligations to a travel team?

All travel teams need a manager, who is a parent volunteer. This person handles the day-to-day administrative aspects of the team, such as sending emails to the team, contacting opponents before games, passing along information between BC Fire and the team members, collecting proof of birth date documents for new travel players, getting the roster set and player cards generated, and working with the league registrars. Additionally, there are other tasks, which include collecting fees and writing team checks, handling tournament applications and registration, and tournament cup organizational duties. Sometimes a manager handles all of this; often it is divided among a number of parents.

Once my child is selected, what happens?

After tryouts and selections are complete, the coach or team manager will call a meeting of the parents and sometimes include the children as well. At this meeting, a manager will be chosen for a new team, or for an existing one if the manager is stepping down. You can expect that the coach will speak a little about his plans for the coming year, that the team will discuss pre-season training and tournaments, and that you’ll be asked for information including your names (as parents), your address, and your phone numbers.

Can I watch a practice?

Especially for younger players, this is a good idea. You are welcome to go see what the players are working on and to talk to families about their experiences.

How do coaches select players?

Coaches are asked to select players based on skills, attitude, commitment and the potential they see in a player.

If kids that have played BC Fire in the past, does that mean they will make the team again?

No tryouts are open to everyone and players must tryout every year.

What kinds of training do you offer players that are above and beyond what AYSO provides?

Our coaches a certified by MYSAA. All coaches are required to get their licenses through USSF and continue to educate themselves through advanced classes, coaches meetings and of course learning among each other by exchanging ideas and knowledge.

Why would I pay the extra money?

Because the player is getting a higher level of play and more advanced training.

What other costs are there?

Some teams will elect to play in additional tournaments and do off-season training or league (indoor) play, which would result in an additional costs for Select teams.

If my team decides to play an additional tournament, how much will it cost?

The price is determined by the hosting organization, and usually varies by age bracket. The registration fee and any related coach expense is split among the players on the team and any guest players who elect to play in the tournament.