Answers to Some Common Questions About The Travel Soccer Program

You may have heard about “Travel Soccer”, but you might not know what it’s all about. Bellingham Soccer Association (BSA) would like to help parents of Bellingham Soccer players understand the issues and commitments around children playing travel soccer.

BSA is a member of BAYS (Boston Area Youth Soccer). The BAYS website is BAYS is a collection of soccer playing towns in the MetroWest area. BAYS communities form an approximate triangle from as far south as Attleboro, as far north as Marlboro, and as far east as Cambridge.

BAYS is made of teams based on ages of players as of July 31st. Teams are referred to by the age of the oldest children on the team. The U refers to under, as in U10 (under 10) as of July 31st. Generally, children play in their appropriate age group, although some children play in older age brackets. A child may not play in a younger age bracket (e.g, a U12 child playing in a U11 age bracket). Historically, BSA tends to field at least one team for every age bracket from U9 through U14. Older teams (U16 through U18) generally do not play in BAYS in the fall due to school soccer, but these teams are often created for the spring season.

BAYS U-8 Policy
The BAYS Board of Directors has voted to prohibit U-8 and younger players to play on a BAYS team unless they are in the third grade. This Policy is effective starting with the Fall 2012 season. U-8 Players in the third grade will need a waiver to play. U-7 and younger may not play in BAYS

BSA conducts tryouts in June for teams that will be together for the upcoming fall and following spring seasons. All children must a tryout for fall travel, even those currently on a travel team. Players are evaluated by teams of BSA coaches at tryouts. Tryouts are designed to be as fair and unbiased as possible. Unfortunately, not all children that tryout for travel soccer teams are selected to play on a team, although BSA tries to place as many children as possible. Children that are not selected to play on a travel team are able to play in-town soccer provided they are the appropriate ages. Children that do make travel teams are on the team for the fall, and are automatically qualified to play on the team in the spring. Some teams have openings in the spring due to children that choose to play other sports. 

Travel teams play 10 games a season. 5 games are played at home, 5 games are played away. Games are played on Saturdays. Generally, girl’s teams play Saturday mornings, boy’s team play in the afternoon. BSA tries to work with BAYS such that the locations of the away games for Bellingham teams are relatively local (e.g. Franklin, Hopkinton, Medway), although this is not always possible. U9 and U10 teams play 7v7 soccer, U11 and U12 play 9v9 and U14 and above teams play 11v11 soccer. Travel soccer players are not permitted to play in-town soccer.

Levels Of Competition
BAYS teams are divided into 4 divisions, with Division 1 being the most competitive and advanced, and Division 4 being the least competitive. Most BSA travel soccer teams play in Division 2 or 3. Within each division, there are letter sub-grades. A 3A team is usually more competitive than a 3G team.

Travel soccer offers a competitive soccer-playing alternative for kids between the ages of 8 and 12. For children older than 12, it is the primary soccer option, and offers an excellent training opportunity for children wishing to play soccer in the Middle School, High School or beyond.