What is travel soccer?
There are three predominant levels of soccer programs available in western New York: recreational soccer (house programs), travel soccer, and “premier” programs. Costs and ability levels vary with each.
- Travel Soccer teams play competitive games with teams from other towns in western New York
- Travel soccer is more competitive than recreational
- Scores and standings are recorded (but not for U-10 teams)
- Teams are gender-specific
A member of the Buffalo & Western New York Junior Soccer League (BWNYJSL), the Grand Island Soccer Club travel program is intended for players and parents who are willing to make a more formal commitment to the game.
Where do the teams travel to? Where do they play?
Home games during the summer are played at Veterans Park on Grand Island. Outdoor practices are usually held at the Charlotte Sidway School or Veterans Park.
Away games may be played within 30 minutes of Grand Island, for example: Niagara Falls, Lockport, North Tonawanda, Tonawanda, Amherst, Clarence, West Seneca, East Aurora, and Lancaster.
During the winter months, travel teams typically play games or practice at Epic Sports Center, Sahlen Sports Park, Sportsplex. Game venues are determined by Grand Island Soccer Club travel coaches and their teams.
Please visit the travel facilities page for facility locations and directions.
What kind of commitment is involved? What are typical seasons and schedules?
After tryouts are completed and teams are formed (typically in September), coaches will meet with their teams and schedule practices and games throughout the winter and spring. Weather-permitting, outdoor practices begin in April.
League games begin the first week of May and run through first week of August. There is usually one game a week, played on weekdays. In addition to league play, travel teams may schedule weekend tournaments, often in the western New York area.
What if a player wants to continue playing other sports?
Travel soccer requires more of a commitment than recreational (house)soccer programs. That said, many Grand Island Soccer Club travel team members also play other sports. Team members are encouraged to coordinate schedules with their travel coach as far in advance as possible to minimize conflicts.
How are players chosen for the travel team?
Travel team players are chosen at tryouts, usually held on a Saturday or Sunday in August and September. There are typically two tryouts per age group. While they are encouraged to attend both, players must attend at least one tryout to be considered for a travel team.
How many travel teams are there per age group?
The number of teams depends on how many players and coaches participate. There are usually one or two teams per age group.
How much will my child play?
U10 through U12/U13 players average at least 50% participation per game. Older players may experience more or less playing time depending on effort, ability, and attitude. Our coaches make every effort to be fair to all players.
What are the expectations and responsibilities of the parents?
Parents are expected to get players to practice and games on time. They should also may every effort to attend all or most games and/or practices. Parents should proactively coordinate schedule conflicts as early as possible.
What if my child does not make a travel team?
Team rosters are typically finalized within two weeks of the last tryout. Two players are added to team rosters each year through U12. Players who do not make a travel team roster are encouraged to participate in training programs offered by the Grand Island Soccer Club or other outside organizations (more information available on our programs page). These players can also continue playing soccer in our summer recreational program. They are eligible to try out again the following year.
What is the cost?
While registration fees vary from year to year, the cost is approximately $160. Registration fees are paid online or at the registration table prior to tryouts. Players who do not make the team will receive refunds. After a player is placed on a roster, they are no longer eligible for a refund.
What days of the week are the games played?
Spring/Summer outdoor games:
U8-U10 Boys and girls Fridays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U11/U12 Girls Tuesdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U13/U14 Girls Mondays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U15/U16 Girls Thursdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U17/U19 Girls Wednesdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U11/U12 Boys Mondays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U13/U14 Boys Tuesdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U15/U16 Boys Tuesdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
U17/U19 Boys Wednesdays starting at 6:45 p.m.
Players are expected to be at the field at no later than 6:15 p.m. for 6:45 p.m. games. Dates and times are subject to change .
What do travel players wear?
Grand Island Soccer Club travel team members wear identical uniforms. Uniform fees are not included in registration fees. The club tries to keep the same uniform from year to year. For more information, visit our uniforms page.
How do I know if the Grand Island fields closed?
The Grand Island Town Recreation Department is responsible for the maintenance of the soccer fields. In the event a field is determined to be unsafe or unusable, the town will close the field. A closed field is designated by a red flag hanging in either of the goals. Generally when a field is closed by the town, the club is notified and in turn will alert any affected travel coaches.
Veterans Park field status updates can be accessed by calling 716.774.2743.
Referees also have the authority to postpone or cancel a game due to unsafe field conditions or inclement weather. Cancelled travel games will be rescheduled per the league rescheduling process.
What if I try to register after the registration deadline?
Unfortunately, applications are not accepted after the registration deadline.
What equipment does my child need?
Each player must have their own shin guards, soccer shoes or sneakers, and ball (see ball size chart below). Balls may be purchased through the club, for cost, on the registration form.
- U5/U6 Size 3 (provided)
- U7 Size 4 (provided)
- U8/U9/U10 Size 4
- U12/U14/U15 Size 5
Players will receive a team jersey, shorts, and socks. Players must remove all jewelry before playing.
Are there any additional costs?
Grand Island Soccer Club does not cover the costs of individual or team photos or trophies (other than trophies presented to the U5/U6/U7 program). If applicable, coaches will provide ordering information and costs for photos and trophies.
Can my child play in an older age group?
Players are encouraged to play with friends and classmates. Players are not recommended to play in age groups older or younger than their own, but this is permitted in certain circumstances.
When will I be notified about the start of the season?
Parents of U5/U6/U7 players will receive a letter or email from the age group coordinator in June, explaining the program along with the season schedule, which typically starts in early July.
For U8-U15 age groups, parents will receive notifications in May or June. Games usually begin in early July and run through mid or late August.
Can my child be placed on a specific coach’s team?
U5/U6/U7 soccer does not have teams.
For U8 and up, in the interest of creating balanced and competitive teams, we do not accept requests for players to play for a certain team or coach. We will, however, consider requests for siblings who compete in the same age group to play on the same team.
What is the U5/U6/U7 program?
The U5/U6/U7 program is a recreational program where players will have a ball at their feet for much of a session and will benefit from more “touches” on the ball.
There are no formal teams; however, players will rotate through the drills and participate in several small-sided games with the help of facilitators.
This program offers an ideal blend of fun and structure as players learn the fundamentals of the game.
The program begins in early July.
Where and when are U8 and older age group games?
U8 and older age group games are played on Saturdays. Starting times range from 9:00 a.m. and early afternoon.
In August, teams may play twice a week, on Saturdays and a weeknight. Weeknight games start at 6:30 p.m.
Players should plan to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before game time.
Most games are at Veterans Park.
Will there also be practices?
There is no set number of required practices; however, players can expect some practices in addition to their scheduled games.
Can I volunteer?
Grand Island Soccer Club is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. Volunteers and coaches are appreciated and needed to make our club the terrific success it is.
Whether you’re looking for a small commitment or you’re interested in taking a more active role in our organization, we’re always looking for help.
If you have an interest in volunteering, coaching, or joining the board of directors, please contact us.