The travel soccer program is for children who are committed to improving their skills and sense of teamwork on the field. While teams adhere to PAYSA’s principles of development and participation, soccer at the travel level offers a more competitive and comprehensive experience than is found on the recreational level.
PAYSA Travel Teams use a separate web site and application for Team communication, called TeamSnap. TeamSnap is useful for both coaches and families and helps make communications more streamlined.
Teams are managed by licensed coaches, and players are expected to commit to training times and games. Teams typically train twice weekly, beginning in mid-August, and may play up to two games per weekend through early November.
Teams participate in tournaments on the Labor Day and Columbus Day weekends. In the U10-U11 age groups, teams are designated as “noncompetitive,” meaning scores are not formally kept and standings are not maintained. These teams play in a season-ending tournament in late October.
Teams in the U12-U14 age groups are deemed “competitive,” and scores and standings are tracked for seeding in the state championship tournament.
In addition to the two tournaments, teams are assigned six weekly regular-season games, typically played on Sunday afternoons, from August through October. Coaches may book “friendlies,” or additional games that do not count toward standings.
Tryouts. PAYSA typically fields as many teams per age group as the number of players and available coaches allow. Each spring, the club holds player evaluations to determine each player’s level of skill, as compared to his or her peers. Randomly selected 1v1 games are used to determine individual level of skill, and 4v4 or 5v5 games are used to evaluate skill in a game environment. Average individual scores tallied from these evaluations are used to form teams. Returning coaches reserve the right to consider past performance of returning players when forming teams.
Coaches call player families directly to offer a roster spot or with word the player did not make a team. Players not making a travel team are encouraged to complete registration for the REC program. The REC program is open for players up to U12 and there may be limited access for U13 players. Older players are encouraged to play for their middle school team.
Fees. PAYSA tries to run our soccer programs at break even. Components of the program expenses covered by registration fees include, but may not be limited to, Soccer Maine team and player fees, tournament fees, field and facility rentals, field paint, goals, balls and equipment, insurance, referee fees, and scholarships. If the registration fee presents a hardship for any family, PAYSA offers a generous scholarship program to enable all players to participate. PAYSA is run entirely by volunteers.
- U9 – U10: $160 + uniform costs
- U11 – U12: $175 + uniform costs
- U13 – U14: $185 + uniform costs
Travel program timeline
May: Tryouts and team assignments.
June: Uniforms ordered, initial team meeting, payment collected and volunteers assigned duties.
August: Practices begin, Game 1 is on the last Sunday of August.
September: Labor Day tournament, regular season play.
October: Columbus Day tournament, regular season play, season-ending tournament/state playoff tournament.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost per player to play at this level? See “Fees” above.
How many players per team? Roster size is determined by age group. For u10 teams, which play 7v7, squads are comprised of 12-14 players. U11 and U12s (9v9) field teams of 14-16, and U13-U14 teams (11v11) field teams of 18.
How are teams selected? Player performance is scored and noted during the evaluation process. At U11 and younger, age groups with enough players to form more than one team, every attempt will be made to form balanced teams. At U12, U13 and U14, coaches reserve the right to form ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams to ensure a competitively viable experience.
Do tournaments take up the whole holiday weekend? The Labor Day tournament requires a one-day commitment. Typically, boys play on either Saturday or Sunday, and girls on the other, and Monday is not a play day. The Columbus Day tournament for teams U12 and above is a competitive tournament. Teams play on both Saturday and Sunday, with the possibility of advancing to playoffs on Monday.
How do coaches determine playing time? In general, players can expect to play about 50 percent of games over the course of the season. Participation and effort in practice are factors. In playoff scenarios, coaches have the option of managing playing time in order to field the most competitive team possible.
Where are practices and home games? Practices are held on public fields and school campuses across Portland. Typically, U10 teams practice and play at East End Community School, U11 and U12 teams at Riverton School. U13 and U14 teams train at the Preble Street field and play at either Preble Street field or Deering High School’s Memorial Field.
What if my player cannot attend tryouts because of previous commitment? Players unable to attend tryouts will be placed in a player pool. Coaches may either assign players to a team or hold a later tryout to determine which players will fill out rosters.
How much travel is involved in travel soccer? PAYSA teams typically play regular season games in the Greater Portland area: South Portland, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Saco, Gorham, Westbrook, Windham, Standish/Buxton, Falmouth, Yarmouth and Cumberland. Tournaments in recent years have brought our teams to Cumberland, Falmouth, South Portland and Sanford. State tournament sites in recent years have included Gorham, Lewiston/Auburn, York and Bangor.