Q1. What is travel soccer?

The Hoffman United Soccer Club is a competitive soccer program for boys and girls whose ages range from six to nineteen years old. The Hoffman United Soccer Club teams play in leagues affiliated with the IYSA (Illinois Youth Soccer Association).  Boys currently play in the YSSL (Youth Sportmen’s Soccer League) and Girls play in the IWSL (Illinois Women’s Soccer League) as well as the MRL, CNPL and more.

Q2. Why is it called “travel soccer”?

The term “travel soccer” describes the fact that the teams’ games are played against other communities, generally within the Chicago suburbs. Teams normally play a 8 game season with 4 home and 4 away games. Travel to most of the away games is within an hour’s drive. In addition to league games, our teams normally compete in one or more soccer tournaments each season. While tournament participation is often within Illinois, it is not uncommon for club teams to travel to neighboring states to attend competitive tournaments. Tournament selections are done Through the clubs programming manager but are also open to discuss.

Q3. What are the goals of the Hoffman United Soccer Club?

Hoffman United Soccer Club puts the emphasis on #DevelopmentOverWinning! The club seeks to accelerate and advance the players’ individual and team skills. Without both, neither player nor team will excel. We are also committed to raising players decision making, confidence, leadership and other important characteristics. Finally, club participation is an excellent way of developing the players’ social skills.

Q4. How is the Hoffman United Soccer Club organized?

The Hoffman United Soccer Club is made up of both boys and girls teams belonging to their respective leagues (the boys league does however allow participation of girl players, and occasionally some girls decide to become part of a boys team). The administration of the Hoffman United Soccer Club is the responsibility of club board members and coaches.

Q5. Is the Hoffman United Soccer Club a part of the Hoffman Estates Park District?

No, the Hoffman United Soccer Club is a partner with of the Hoffman Estates Park District. The HUSC uses practice and game fields that are maintained by the Hoffman Estates Park District. The Hoffman United Soccer Club also offers soccer programs through the HEPD available in the brochure and via www.heparks.org

Q6. Do the rules of the park district’s soccer program apply to travel soccer?

No. The Hoffman United Soccer Club is solely responsible for governing such issues as playing time, uniform requirements, players playing “up” an age level, practice frequency and duration, etc. The club’s affiliation with the YSSL, IWSL, and IYSA generally govern the conduct of the game, coaches and players. For example, playing time is defined by the teams coaching staff and is typically determined by things such as: player commitment, individual and team skills, ability to impact the game, practice attendance, number of players on a team, following team rules, etc.. Team guidelines such as these are generally discussed by the coach at the time of team formation. Typically, the under 10 (U10) age group and below strive to provide considerable playing time for all players. These age groups are still considered developmental by league standards. Teams U11 and above will have playing time that may vary greatly between one player and the next.

Q7. Is Hoffman Estates residency required?

No. There are no club, park district, or league restrictions related to a player’s residence. While the majority of the Hoffman United Soccer Club players are initially recruited from the HEPD’s recreational soccer program, participation by players residing in surrounding communities is very common and tends to grow as teams mature.

Q8. What are the player requirements for the Hoffman United Soccer Club?

Players must try out annually. Tryouts are held each spring in May for boys ages 6-19 and girls ages 6-19. Tryouts are held in the late fall for boys ages 15 and higher. Player selections are based upon the relative skills of other players trying out for that same age group. The level of soccer skills required varies by age and the competitive level of the team. Some age groups have multiple teams to accommodate a wide range of skills and experience. Even in age groups with a single existing team, the club will attempt to form a second team if there are sufficient players.

Q9. What are some of the coaching requirements for becoming a travel soccer coach?

In order to coach travel soccer, coaches must have at least an Illinois State “E” license or an age appropriate ”Youth Module” license. Licenses are issued by the Illinois Youth Soccer Association and require passing an IYSA Coach Licensing Clinic. Assistant coaches and trainers are also required to be licensed at this same level.

Q10. What kind of commitment is required?

Since the Hoffman United Soccer Club is a competitive program, commitment to the program is critical to the success of the club, team and most importantly, to the individual players on each team. Typically, two 90 minute practices a week are required in addition to game participation. Some teams have three practices per week for at least part of the season. Additionally, most club teams participate in 3 to 5 tournaments per year. Both parents and players must be willing to make the necessary commitment. Car pools are frequently formed to ease the time commitment on parents. For each age bracket, the leagues have varying levels or divisions ranging from a very competitive level to entry level. Each coach attempts to determine at which level his team should initially compete. The leagues move teams up or down amongst these divisions based on their previous season record. The objective of the Hoffman United Soccer Club is to select the top skilled players for the U11 and above age groups. Depending upon the number of players trying out and the availability of travel coaches, there may be more than one team per age group. The club strives to improve the skills of all players. When an age group has multiple teams, players do have the option of moving “up” within the Club at any age group subject to their performance, the need for players in the higher divisions, and the discretion of coaches. The U10 age groups and below will not specifically be designated as an A or B team as these age groups are considered developmental. Movement between existing teams can occur. Teams created at the U8 age group will have a “no-cut” rule for the first 2 years that the team is together. This follows with the club’s objective to develop players’ skills, while striving to maintain the player’s interest and provide a fun environment for the younger age groups.

Q11. Can players play “up” in a higher age bracket?

Yes. The Hoffman United Soccer Club has a number of travel soccer players who play on an “older” team. While this is not normally the ideal situation, this is a case by case decision determined by what is best for the player. In some cases, a younger brother may be able to earn a spot on his older brother’s team to minimize the family’s burden to “be in two places at one time”. In other cases, a younger players’ skill level can be so advanced that his playing up may be considered in the players’ best interest as determined by his parents and associated coaches. Under ordinary circumstances, the club strongly recommends that players try out for their age appropriate group and look to play “up” only if suggested by a team coach.

Q12. How many players are on each team?

U13 teams and older play 11v11 on large fields with 8' x 24' goals. The team roster is limited to a maximum of eighteen (18) players. U11 and U12 teams play 9v9 on smaller fields with 6' x 18' or 7' x 21' goals. The team roster is limited to a maximum of 14 or 16 players (varies by league and age). U8, U9 and U10 teams play 7v7 on even smaller fields with 6’ x 18’ goals. Team coaches will determine the actual number of players that will comprise any team.

Q13. Can Hoffman United soccer players continue to play in their community’s recreational soccer programs?

Yes. The club has no restrictions on players wanting to play in recreational soccer programs. In fact, the club encourages all club players to participate in such programs to increase their individual soccer skills and to provide a role model for other recreational players. Since the HEPD recreational soccer program is the main source of player recruitment for the club, player participation is an invaluable resource in promoting the club’s success and acceptance.

Q14. What about players participating in other sports?

Athletic skills are best developed by participation in multiple sports. A soccer players’ love of soccer only becomes a reality through experience in other sports. Participation in other sports is encouraged, but that participation is expected to be a second priority to club soccer. As the player increases in age, so does the commitment to the sport. Because of this, participation in other highly competitive sports programs (e.g. baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.) are typically not possible due to the limited amount of time available in any given week and the likely conflicts with practice and game attendance.

Q15. When is travel soccer games played?

The league games are normally played on weekends. Boys league games are scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays with an occasional weeknight game. The girls league games are almost all played on Sunday afternoons, but make up games are scheduled on Saturdays and weeknights. The eight game fall season begins after Labor Day. The eight/ten game spring season begins in early April. Tournaments are played on weekends (often holiday weekends) with some tournament games starting on Friday evenings.

Q16. Where are travel soccer games played?

Season play is generally split evenly between “Home” and “Away” games. The Hoffman United Soccer Club uses several “Home” fields in Hoffman Estates depending upon the age group and the corresponding field size. “Away” games are played throughout the Chicagoland suburbs. Teams at higher competitive levels tend travel further to “Away” games. It is rare for our teams to travel more than one hour for league games.

Q17. What about indoor soccer during the winter?

The IYSA leagues in which our teams compete have no winter season, but most Hoffman United Soccer Club teams play independently in competitive indoor programs. Most indoor programs are divided into two sessions: November-December and January-March. Typically, at least one of these two sessions are played to maintain the players fitness, ball skills and to have fun. Like tournament play, indoor soccer programs are selected solely at the discretion of the program manager.

Q18. Do travel soccer players play all positions or just one position?

A combination involving the coach’s evaluation, team policies and players skills will dictate what position(s) each player will play. Generally, as players get older, they will tend to specialize in one or two positions. Part of a coach’s responsibilities is to determine each individual player’s particular skills and develop those skills so as to maximize their individual success and the team’s success. Because soccer is a team sport and both offense and defense are equally important, skill development at all positions – including the goal keeper position — are critical in a competitive program.

Q19. Can girls compete in boys travel soccer?

Yes. While there are no gender restrictions in the boys league, the club strongly recommends that one of the many excellent girl teams be considered for those who want to participate in a competitive soccer program. Like “playing up,” girls competing on a boys team is a case by case decision that should account for the players skill level and physical attributes relative to the other players trying out.

Q20. What are the costs associated with the Hoffman United Soccer Club?

The costs are both fixed and variable. The fixed costs include a player registration fee, uniform costs (for new players), and personal gear (ball, shin guards, spikes, etc.). Variable costs include items such as tournament fees, optional personal equipment, trainer fees, etc.. The sum total of these costs could range from around $1,500 – $2,000, depending on the number of tournaments and the level and frequency of professional training. These costs may be offset by various fund raisers done by the individual teams. HUSC also offers a scholarship program for those who document financial need.

Q21. Are players / parents responsible for all player funds?

Yes. However, some individual teams conduct fund raising activities once or twice each year to enable players and parents the option of easing the cost of travel soccer participation. In a few cases, individual teams have obtained team sponsors to defray team costs.