Travel soccer is a major sporting commitment. Travel teams are not house teams, but are effectively town select teams that compete against the best players from other towns. Thus, the DSA requires a high level of commitment that is consistent with playing at a select level.
There are two league seasons in a travel soccer year, the fall and the spring. It is expected that players compete in both Fall and Spring. Lack of participation in the Spring or Fall season will impact team placement for the following year. The commitment levels required for the two seasons vary and are outlined below.
Fall Season The Fall runs from late August through mid November. Practices are held 2 times per week, league games on Sunday afternoons and Connecticut Cup games (only applicable for U-11 through U-14 age groups) on Saturday afternoons usually in the Fall. The Connecticut Cup is a single elimination state wide tournament that all of our U-11 through U-14 boys and girls teams entered. In addition, all travel teams will compete in a tournament over Labor Day weekend and many (particularly the older age groups) will compete in a second tournament over Columbus Day weekend.
A player, if attending all practices and games, will be given playing time equivalent to 1/3 of the game. If the player DOES NOT attend a practice or game, the coach is not required to play the child for 1/3 of the game. Players who choose to consistently ignore this commitment can be suspended for 1 or 2 games by the DSA.
If your child is invited to join a Darien travel soccer team and agrees to play, they are accepting a 100% commitment to soccer in the fall. Less than a 100% commitment is not fair to your fellow teammates or coaches. Your child is welcome to play other sports in the fall, provided it does not interfere with the practice or game schedules of soccer. If you cannot make this commitment to travel soccer, it is not recommended that your child try out. The DSA obviously understands absences due to family commitments or sickness. We do ask that you communicate problems/conflicts to your coach and manager as far in advance as possible. However absences due to other sporting commitments during the fall season are not acceptable. If your initial intentions are good, but fade away during the fall season through unexcused absences, coaches will address this lack of commitment through reduced playing time. In addition, excessive absences may impact future team selection.
If a player or family is not able or willing to make this level of commitment in the fall season, they should strongly consider participating in the DSA's highly successful, non-select Club Excel program, which offers an opportunity to play soccer with a lower level of commitment.
Guidance given to Professional Coaches for Fall Regular Season:
If a player misses one Practice (for an unacceptable reason) -player does not start the next game. Players missing two practices will be contacted by the Coaching Coordinator.
If a player misses a Game (for an unacceptable reason)- player sits out the first half of the next game. Penalty for missing two games is sitting on the bench for an entire game. Penalty for missing three games is being removed from the team.
If a player is Late to games- player is not guaranteed 1/3 of the game in playing time. Please be prepared and ready to play ½ hour before game time.
Penalty for Disruptive Behavior at Practice or Game
1st Time: Player sits out 10 minutes
2nd Time: Player sits out 20 minutes
3rd Time: Player’s parents will be contacted by the Coaching Coordinator
Spring Season The spring season runs from early April to mid-June. The schedule is similar to the fall schedule with the exception that some teams will choose not to enter tournaments. Teams will practice 2 times per week, League games on Sunday afternoons. However, the DSA does not require a 100% commitment in the Spring. The DSA realizes that many children will want to participate in other spring sports and therefore the expectations with regard to soccer are reduced. Players are expected to make a strong effort to attend all practices and games, but we realize that conflicts with other sports are likely. It is expected that any conflicts will be communicated with your coaches and managers well in advance so that the impact on the team (e.g., playing with fewer players, being forced to forfeit, etc.) can be minimized.
In the spring, the two weekly practices will be run as follows: Day 1: The group will have a regular team practice. Day 2: Both travel teams of the same age group will practice together. The session will consist of 30 minutes of ball skills followed by scrimmaging for the remainder of the practice. This allows the players to work on what they have been taught in practice.
The flexibility shown in the spring is to accommodate other sports, but players should attend at a least 1 practice and all games on weekends. A player, if attending at least 1 practice, will be given playing time equivalent to at least 1/3 of the game. If the player DOES NOT attend either practice, the coach is not required to play the child for 1/3 of the game.