A Checklist for Finding the Right Fit With Your Travel Team

Have you ever wondered if you were on the right travel team? Have you ever wondered what you should look for when choosing a travel team? Not all travel and club teams are built the same.

We’ve built a checklist for you, but you first have to decide what you are looking for. What do you want to get out of the travel and club experience?

What Are Your Goals?

  • Do you want to play just to have fun?
  • Do you want to play in college?
  • Do you want to play to improve as an athlete?
  • Do you want to play just to have something to do?
  • Do you want to play for the social aspect?

Any or all of the questions above could be your goals and all would be acceptable. You have to decide what you’re looking for. There is nothing wrong with just wanting something to do for the summer or playing just to have fun.

However, if your goal is to play college sports, the questions asked now become a little more directed, and the decisions about which team to play for become a little more important.

Female soccer goalie diving to stop a ball from entering the goal

Mistakes Others Have Made 

Plenty of mistakes have been made picking travel teams. Here are several mistakes former high school travel team members have described:

  • Join the club that is closest in proximity to where you live.
  • Join the cheapest travel team.
  • Join the most expensive or luxurious team.
  • Join without knowing the background of the coaching staff.
  • Join without having your parents first talk to the coaches.
  • Join without meeting the potential teammates.
  • Join solely because someone else had a good experience.

Before assuming anything, look at your needs. Hypothetically, the cheapest option may not care about you as an individual, or the most luxurious travel team won’t take you to the exposure tournaments you need in order to be seen by college coaches. What’s more, the closest team in proximity might not play you enough. These are all things you need to know before signing off to play.

Checklist with a hand drawing the next check box

Checklist for Finding a Travel Team

Finding a travel team is similar to finding a college. If your goal is to play college sports, you have to do the work of finding the right travel team.

  • Have you met and talked to the coaches more than once?
  • Have you researched these coaches?
  • Have you researched this organization?
  • Have you talked to the coaches about your desire to play college sports?
  • Do the coaches know which colleges you are interested in?
  • Have you asked former players how the program helped or hurt their recruiting process?
  • Have your parents talked to the parents of former team members?
  • Have you watched any games or practices with this travel team?
  • Does this travel team and coaches make you feel like you want to be part of it?
  • Are the coaches willing to help you make calls to college coaches?
  • If a college coach calls the travel coaches, do you know what they would say about you? Do they know you well enough?
  • What are the coaches’ expectations?
  • How far is it to practice?
  • Have you talked to your parents about the amount of travel and number of practices required to be part of this team?
  • Have the coaches explained the costs to you?  (Travel, meals, cost of belonging to the team, equipment, gear, other costs?)
  • Who is the certified trainer if you get hurt?
  • What are the travel policies? Bus? Parents?
  • Have you found out which team you will play on? (Some travel teams have a bunch of teams but only travel the top 1 or 2 to exposure tournaments)
  • Have you asked them where they intend to play this summer?

Depending on your situation, some of these questions will be more important than others. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list. The most important thing is to ask questions before you pay money to play.

If you are just beginning to look for a team, ask as many of these questions as you can so you can feel comfortable knowing what you are getting yourself into.

If you already have a travel team, you can still ask these questions because things change every year.

The bottom line is to find which travel team works for you and your goals.

If you want to play college sports, it becomes crucial to find the right travel team. Your future college opportunity depends on it.

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