Travel FAQ

WSSL and the New York Red Bulls have partnered to provide a competitive travel program for soccer players U8 through High School. West Side Soccer League's travel program emphasizes the development of the individual player and team as a whole in an environment that is developmentally appropriate, safe, fun and centered on the kids.

BEFORE YOU MAKE A WSSL TRAVEL TEAM:

What are the practice and game schedules?
How many travel teams does WSSL field and in what age groups?
What is the training curriculum?

Why  have both a Red Bulls coach and a parent coach?
What training do the parent coaches have?
Are holiday and preseason tournaments required for Travel teams?

What Winter training do you offer?
What are the fees?

THE TRYOUTS

When are tryouts and how do I register for a tryout?
How are players selected for Travel Teams?

YOU MADE THE TRAVEL TEAM! NOW WHAT? 

How do I register?
How do I get a uniform?

What about transportation to away games?
Can Travel players play on more than one team or in the Core recreational weekend league?


What are the practice and game schedules?

Travel team practices are held twice a week after school (three times a week for higher level Premier teams), usually at Riverside Park or on the east side at the Dwight Athletic Center (119th & 1st Ave). High school practices are held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, or on Randalls Island. Games are on Sunday afternoons with an occasional Saturday game, typically on Randall's Island, in Riverdale or in Westchester. Some of our higher level teams play on Saturdays, with some games on Long Island or in NJ. Players are expected to attend ALL practices and games with their team. At the time an offer is made you will be notified of the practice schedule. Please consider conflicts before accepting a spot and registering. 

How many travel teams does WSSL field and in what age groups?

We generally field travel teams and tournament teams in each age group starting in U8 through high school, boys and girls. In some age groups, we field higher level premier teams. The tryout process is the same for premier and non-premier travel teams and for tournament teams. Whether we have a premier team in a particular age group depends on a particular team's readiness and commitment to play at the higher level. 

What is the training curriculum?

The New York Red Bulls use a building block approach to player development. At a young age, mastery of the ball is vital for a player's future development. Players follow a path focused on motor, technique and skill development. As competency increases, tactical elements are introduced. Within each building block, an extensive curriculum is offered. An extensive online video library is available to inspire individual players to work on their skills and to help parent coaches deepen their knowledge. 

In addition to weekly training sessions, the New York Red Bulls will provide the following to WSSL teams and players:

  • a season-long development plan that maps out the topics and key learning outcomes for each session. 
  • session plans for each training session. 
  • team evaluations and personal player evaluations to help players understand what they need to work on.
  • weekly game analyis for matches.

For more information about the Red Bulls curriculum, click RED BULLS CURRICULUM.

Why have both a Red Bulls coach and a parent coach?

We believe that that there are benefits to having both professional trainers and parent coaches working together to support a team:

  • Training holds a long-term perspective where the goal is to help the player become a well-rounded soccer player and to give them the tools to better master the game. Training should never be about the next game. 
  • While the goal of the game of soccer is to win and winning is fun, at the developmental level, soccer should not be taught to achieve a winning score. It is easy enough to put the fastest player up front and the biggest player in the back and get a win, but that strategy is not what is best for developing youth players. Our trainers and parent coaches will work to guide players to learn first and foremost. Winning will be a fun part of the equation, but so will mastery of a new skill!
  • Parent coaches can help the trainers by allowing them to focus on our top priority: developing the skills of the soccer players. 
  • Involved parents are a great resource. They have parenting experience that helps them to support kids. They will be selected based on their experience and track record for being good on the pitch. And they will have training -- both from the NYRB trainers in situ and via ongoing Coach Education Clinics. Selecting and working with our parent coaches is a top priority.
  • Parent coaches work closely with the trainer, even if they are not able to come to every practice. Through the development plan and weekly conversations, the parent coach and Red Bulls trainer work together to guide the team as they take the field for a game.
  • The most important thing for a coach to do in a game is to let the kids play, not to tell them what to do. Every time a coach tells a player what to do they are hampering that player's problem solving ability and desire to think and make decisions for the better of the team. A player who listens to the coach before making a decision will never survive at the next level where the game is faster.

What training do the parent coaches have?

Each parent coach must have fulfilled AYSO Safe Haven training and age appropriate coach training. Further, each parent coach has to fulfill requirements from WYSL which include a 2-hour orientation and an 8-hour coaching course. Coach clinics offered during the season are required for parent coaches -- a minimum of 2 per season. All parent coaches must adhere to a strict COACH CODE OF CONDUCT.

Are holiday and preseason tournaments required for Travel teams?

We believe that tournaments are fun and a great development opportunity and we encourage our travel teams to participate in them. Travel teams will be given recommendations from the League and Tournament Director about appropriate tournaments.  Participation in holiday (Columbus Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring) and preseason tournaments IS required for our Premier teams. Participation for non-Premier teams is strongly encouraged. 

What Winter training do you offer?

Winter training is optional for non-premier teams and mandatory for premier teams. Winter training is once per week during the week in the evenings, except for our high school age teams, which have one weekday and one weekend winter training session. We post the schedule and open winter registration in mid-November. Training sessions fill quickly and we encourage those interested to sign up early. 

What are the fees?

The fees for the 2019-2020 season were:

Standard Travel - $2000 per year - includes mandatory fall and spring training; winter training optional and not included (additional fees apply)
Premier Travel - $2700 per year - includes mandatory fall, winter and spring training
Fusion/HS Travel - $2700 per year - includes mandatory fall, winter and spring training 

Fees for uniforms (approx. $130) are additional for all travel teams. 

Fees for one tournament in the fall (Columbus Day weekend) and one in the spring (Memorial Day weekend) are included. Additional tournaments and winter futsal are at the cost of the teams and families.

We provide buses for our high school teams practicing in Van Cortlandt park or on Randalls Island. Bus costs are included in the HS fees.

Fees for optional winter training are expected to be $400-500 per player. Gym contracts are finalized over the summer and final costs for winter training will be emailed when winter registration opens in mid-November.

Financial aid is available by emailing scholarship@wssl.org.

When are tryouts and how do I register for a tryout?

WSSL holds tryouts for travel teams each Spring for the following year. Tryout dates and locations are posted on our website. You can find these dates and register for a tryout (when posted) by clicking Travel and Tournament Team Tryouts.

How are players selected for Travel Teams?

A team of professional trainers from the New York Red Bulls work with WSSL to run tryouts and will assess the skill level and athleticism of the players who participate. Professional trainers from the New York Red Bulls assess the skills of players in drills and small sided games. Team selections are based on performance at the tryouts, and at call backs. In some instances, where player rankings are close, additional information from previous Leagues or Clubs is sought.

Players who are ready to compete at a higher level will be invited to join a team. Players who are not ready for travel level play may be invited to join a tournament team or will be invited to continue their skill development in the Development Academy and/or Core program, where they may take advantage of weekly team practices and games, as well as weekly professional skills training.

How do I register?

Travel players register first with WSSL and then also with SI Play for WYSL teams and US Club for premier travel teams. Instructions are provided in the offer email. Playing for a WSSL travel team is a year-long commitment and players are expected to honor the commitments made at the time of tryouts and not change clubs mid-season or mid-year. Soccer should also be a player's primary activity and sport during the Fall and Spring seasons - winter is the chance to do other things for non-premier players.

How do I get a uniform?

Teams are called the WSSL Red Bulls and wear Red Bulls uniforms.  Instructions for ordering uniforms are provided along with registration instructions if your child is invited to join one of our travel or tournament teams. Also see Travel Kits for more information.

What about transportation to away games?

Transportation is up to the teams and each family. Carpooling is recommended. Please be sure to read our CARPOOLING POLICY. Shared Zipcars are also a good option. Games are rarely further than 45 minutes outside of the city. 

Can Travel players play on more than one team or in the core recreational weekend league?

The short answer is NO. Players who have elected to play on a WSSL Travel team may not play on another Travel team as that violates WYSL rules. In addition, we do not recommend that our players join another non-travel team, including core (unless it is a school team and the schedules do not conflict). Too often, schedules compete and one team ends up losing out. Even if the schedules do not conflict, WSSL believes a second team to a WSSL travel team might be too much for the player.