How to Start a Travel Soccer Club

Andrew Sarafa

With over 3 million kids registered with US Youth Soccer in 2015 alone, soccer is a sport nearly ever kid remembers playing growing up. And while most kids only play soccer at a local level, the most determined young athletes seek to challenge themselves with a higher level of competition and join a travel soccer club.

While starting a travel soccer club may seem like a daunting and time consuming task, the reward of seeing young athletes succeed on a high level can make it all worthwhile. And by using our quick tips below you can get started on the right track as quickly as possible.

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    Budget for Your Travel Soccer Club

    When you're starting a new soccer club there are a few key costs you should be sure to consider. From registering your club to finding potential sponsors, we’ll cover all of that and more below.

    • Research and Secure a Facility - Do a quick Google search in your local area to find potential facilities to host games and to practice in. You may even be able to contact the local school district or parks department in your area and see if they would be willing to let your program use their fields. Different regions have a wide variety of policies for letting private clubs use their facilities, so make sure you do your research to keep costs down in your first season.

    • Uniforms and Equipment Costs - When looking for youth soccer uniforms and equipment, while you do want to look for equipment that isn’t too expensive, it may be best to spend a few extra dollars to get durable gear that will last for years. This will help save your organization money in the long run. Depending on how many players your club has, equipment and gear could reasonably cost anywhere from $500-$1000.

    • Travel Expenses - Travel expenses can really vary depending on how often your club is going to travel. From busses, to gas, to food, to lodging, it’s best to plan out your travels in advance so your program doesn’t incur many unplanned expenses.

    • Registration with a Governing Body - Another cost you should be aware of is the fee to register with a governing body such as US Youth Soccer. These fees generally cost around $150 per year to register both your club and players.

    One way your program can generate revenue outside of player registration is from finding sponsors for your travel soccer club. Local businesses and even national companies love to support the youth sports. In fact, businesses can get a ton of value from youth sports sponsorships with studies having shown that 84% of parents remember brands that sponsor youth sports. So don’t be afraid to pitch sponsoring your club to businesses!

    When planning out your program you should be sure to consider all costs associated with running a travel soccer program so you can ensure your program will have enough funding to cover multiple seasons. One of the biggest factors that separates a successful club from one that may only last a season or two two is proper funding and budgeting.

    Businesses can get a ton of value from youth sport sponsorships with studies having shown that 84% of parents remember brands that sponsor youth sports.

    Creating a Brand for your Travel Soccer Club

    Creating a brand for your travel soccer club can not only be a fun and exciting task, but it can also really help to build credibility for your program. From creating a logo to building out an online website, here are some of our best tips.

    Create a Logo

    Creating a logo can be a lot of fun for your program and it doesn’t have to be tough. You'll want to get a quality logo that you can use for at least your first few seasons.

    Your logo should have at least one color version and at least one black and white version. The logo variations will be a big help with uniform, apparel, and website design options in the future.

    You can use services online like Fiverr to get a professional logo created for you for around $100. 

    Creating a strong brand will build some credibility with potential coaches, parents, and players.

    Build a Website

    Launching a website can be an effective way for your soccer club to promote your teams, register players, manage payments, and communicate throughout your season. A website can also help with your Google Search Results which can come in handy when parents are researching soccer programs in your area online.

    Create Social Media Pages

    Creating social media pages not only will help with your online presence and credibility, it can also be a great way to keep parents in the loop about your program during your season. Just be sure to keep your profile name consistent across all your social media platforms and don’t sign up for so many that it’s hard to manage them all. A Facebook account alongside your website should be plenty if utilized properly.

    When creating a brand around your travel soccer club, it’s best to keep things simple and fun. The purpose of a brand is to help build credibility for your program. A professional logo, website and a few social media accounts should do wonders to help build credibility for your club.

    Need Help Getting Started on your Website and Brand?

    At Jersey Watch we help soccer clubs manage their websites, registration, online payments, communications and more. If you’d like to learn more visit our website, or send a message at help@jerseywatch.com!

    Finding Coaches and Volunteers for your Travel Soccer Club

    Finding good coaches and volunteers can be critical to your success as a soccer club. Therefore, it’s very important you inform them of exactly what they’re signing up for so both parties can know they are committed to the common goal of running a successful travel soccer club.

    • Parents and Grandparents - Getting parents involved early on in your program can be very helpful as most parents will likely already be at the games as it is. A lot of parents would also be likely to jump at any opportunity to help their kids learn how to play the sport the right way and would love to be the ones to teach them how.

    • Former Coaches - Former high school or middle school soccer coaches can be a great resource. They have a lot of experience and are likely itching to get back into coaching the sport they love.

    • Former or Current Players - Former and current players, whether on the high school or collegiate level, can be excellent resources for either coaches or volunteers. Just like former coaches, they have a lot of experience and oftentimes younger athletes look up to older players and use them as inspiration to help reach their goals.

    All in all, when looking for coaches and volunteers to help manage your travel soccer club, you have many options available to you. From parents to former coaches to players, don’t be afraid to get creative when building out your team.

    Need help getting your new coaches ready for the upcoming season? We did some research and came up with our top youth soccer coaching resources.

    Former or current soccer players can be excellent resources for coaches or volunteers. They have a lot of experience and younger players oftentimes look up to them as inspiration to help reach their goals.

    Recruiting Players to your Travel Soccer Club

    After setting up your clubs infrastructure, the last order of business would be of course to recruit and register soccer players. Use these tips to help get a head start.

    • Build Relationships with Local Schools and Recreational Leagues - Reaching out to your local schools and youth clubs can be a great way to recruit new players to your program. Just be sure to focus on building strong relationships with these schools and clubs so they can help serve as a potential pipeline of athletes for the foreseeable future.

    • Ask your Local High School Soccer Coach - Coaches on a high school or middle school level can be an amazing resource when it comes to recruiting more players to your club. Oftentimes, players on their own teams may have siblings who would love to dip their feet in the travel soccer world and would likely love to help your program get started. Just like with the local schools and youth clubs, just be sure to focus on building a meaningful and long lasting relationship and don’t underestimate the influence these coaches can have on your program.

    • Host a Free Soccer Clinic - Hosting a free clinic is one of the best ways to introduce new players to your club and coaching staff. Set a date and ask your local schools, rec leagues, or coaches for help in spreading the word! You can also advertise this online via your social media and website. Just be sure to pass out contact forms so you can connect with the players and their families after your clinic.

    In conclusion, when recruiting players to your program there are many different routes you can take, so feel free to get creative and try different things. Once you find a route that works well, your program will be set up for future success.

    Hosting a free clinic is one of the best ways to introduce new players to your club and coaching staff. Set a date and promote the clinic by asking your local schools, youth clubs, or coaches for help in spreading the word.

    Starting a travel soccer program doesn’t have to be a tough process. While it takes time and determination, by starting small in the first few years and not biting off more than you can chew, you can ensure your program will be built for success in the long haul.

    Additional Resources

    The Top Youth Soccer Coaching Resources

    4 Simple Youth Soccer Passing Drills for Coaches

    How to Build a Website for a Youth Sports Program

    How to Find Companies that Sponsor Youth Sports

    6 Benefits of Coaching Youth Sports