MASA is pleased to offer a travel program that continues player development as they progress in age and skill. The travel program is an extension of the MASA in-house program and allows players to play recreationally or competitively against neighboring communities. The travel program begins at the U-10 level and extends through U-19, provided teams can be formed at that age level. Typically, MASA is fielding teams in the U-10 through U-14 levels.
Regarding the U-10 program - there is no pressure to play at the travel level as MASA still offers in-house for these kids (called the "eagles" program). However any player interested in travel at that age must attend evaluation sessions. MASA will evaluate all players in attendance and determine from that evaluation what level the teams should compete in (travel or in-house).
VERY IMPORTANT: There is a stigma regarding travel that it is only for skilled/experienced players and that because there are evaluation sessions ("tryouts") that a recreational player has no place here. This is INCORRECT. MASA encourages participation at all skill levels and ages and will do its best to accommodate your individual needs. Please do not hesitate to continue past U-10 in-house and consider joining the travel program!
Please read through these FAQs completely before making decisions regarding travel soccer. If there are any unanswered questions here please contact Dave Paterline, MASA Travel Coordinator.
GENERAL TRAVEL QUESTIONS
What are travel "divisions"?
Travel soccer is broken down into 3 groups as follows:
- Division 6 - This is considered "recreational" level and is intended to be an extension of the in-house experience but against other local clubs. The travel is limited to the east suburbs (primarily Westmoreland county).
- Division 5 - This is more competitive typically than Division 6. Travel still is specifically on the east side of Pittsburgh.
- Division 4 - This is the most competitive division and requires travel outside of the east suburbs but still within the western Pennsylvania area.
MASA will place teams in one of these divisions according to skill level to give the kids the most competitively balanced experience. Most teams in MASA are placed in D6/D5.
When are the travel games? Where are the travel games? How many travel games?
There are typically eight games each session – four home games and four away games. Games usually start between 1 and 4 PM on Sunday afternoons. Fall session roughly spans September and October. Spring session roughly spans April and May.
Away games are typically within 1 hour travel distance. We play in PA West East which includes teams such as Norwin, Kiski, Plum, Loyalhanna (Latrobe), Woodland Hills, Jeannette, Penn-Trafford. Teams that play in Division 4 (most competitive) will potentially travel further.
How many practices a week? When are the practices?
There are two practices a week. Practices are typically from 6 PM until 7:30 PM. The days of the week the practices are held will not be established until right before the season starts and are dependent on coach and field availability. Practices are rarely held on Fridays.
All practices are held at Murrysville Community Park.
What travel age group will my child play in?
As of fall 2016, MASA will adopt the PA-West mandate to switch to birthyear-based age groups. The following birthdate charts are from the PA-West website and will guide your age group eligibility.
Depending on number of players available at each age group and number of teams in the PA West pool, some age groups may be combined. For example, it is common for U-13 and U-14 to play together in U-14. MASA will make every effort to keep kids together based on age. Using the above example again, if MASA has enough players to field a U-13 and a U-14 team separately they will, even if they both play in U-14.
* NOTE: PAWest does not always offer an U-11 bracket for division 6 travel (only division 4 and 5). If a player is on a division 6 U-11 team, this team will possibly play in the U-12 age group.
What is the oldest age group at MASA?
There are always U12 boys and U12 girls teams. We often have U14 teams, but this will depend on the number of registrations we get from this age group. Occasionally we have enough players for a U16 or even a U19 team, again, depending on the number of registrations. Because we determine whether or not we will have older teams each season based on the number of registrations, it's very important to register promptly and do not assume there will not be a team. It doesn't hurt to register!
What happens if my child does not make or does not want to tryout for the U10 Travel Team?
There is still a program for your child – the in-house U-10 Eagles program. These teams are more recreational in nature, but still emphasize skill building. Some of the games are played with other MASA Eagles teams and some games are played with neighboring community teams such as Monroeville and Plum. There is absolutely no pressure for you to tryout for a U-10 travel team but this option is available if you are interested. If you do not register for tryouts we'll simply assign you to an Eagles team when you register in the fall.
What is the difference between the U10 Eagles Program and the U10 Travel Team?
The U10 Eagles team is a bridge between the in-house program and the travel program. An Eagles team will play other MASA teams and it will also play teams from nearby communities such as Monroeville and Plum. MASA structures the Eagles teams so that all the Eagles teams should be about equal in ability. However, the Under-10 Travel Team is part of the travel program. These players are chosen for the U10 spring evaluation sessions.
Players in the Eagles program will receive equal playing time. Players in the U10 travel program are only guaranteed 50% playing time.
Can my U10 child play on both a MASA in-house team and a MASA travel team?
Yes. Because the in-house games are played on Saturday and the travel games are played on Sunday, it is possible to play both in-house and travel U10 soccer. MASA neither encourages nor discourages a player from playing in-house and travel soccer. Practice priorities should be to practice with the U10 travel team but need to be coordinated between the two coaches and the family. If you make a travel team and would like to also play in-house, please notify the travel coordinator prior to registration.
How much playing time will my child receive?
Play time is set at 50% for all our travel teams. Many players will get more than this but MASA is committed to player participation so each player will receive a minimum of 50% per game. Note that this is different than “equal” playing time.
My child is not competitive/experienced/fast/interested enough to be on a highly competitive travel team. Are there any recreational teams after U10?
Yes! MASA encourages all skill levels at all age groups. MASA will field teams in division 6 (described above) which is specifically intended to be recreational vs. highly competitive. Please do not be intimidated by the "travel" designation. This is simply how the league is classified but all skill levels are highly encouraged to participate. You are still responsible for signing up for the evaluation sessions and participating in these.
How do I register and what is the deadline?
All MASA registrations are now online. Go to http://www.murrysvillesoccer.org/ and select "Online Registration". The deadlines for tryouts and paid registrations will be made clear on the MASA website as well as local papers (Penn-Franklin News & Murrysville Star).
What if I do not register for the evaluation session? Can I still play travel soccer?
Possibly. We use the evaluation registration and participation (May/June) to set teams. However, there are sometimes open spots remaining, and when fall/spring registration opens we will open age groups where spots remain. These will be filled on first come/first serve.
How is the coach selected for a travel team?
For all travel teams, the first thing that happens is that the players for the team are chosen based on evaluation results. The next step is to ask any parents on the team who are interested in coaching to submit a coaching/soccer resume. There may be other steps involved depending on the number of coaches who express an interest. An E license is preferred for coach selection. Finally, a coach will be selected and announced.
Typically these coaches will continue through U-14 if still interested but changes can be made based on various circumstances.
Can my child play up in an older age group?
In the MASA travel program we only allow players to play up a year if we do not have enough players in an age group to field a team and need to get creative with filling rosters. We make all efforts possible to keep all registered players on a team so this at times requires discretionary rostering decisions by the travel coordinator. Players may be considered to play up if it supports the development of the player. This is at the discretion of the club and uncommon.
Can my child play on both a MASA travel team and a cup team?
Yes, it is POSSIBLE, because the cup games are played on Saturday and the travel games are played on Sunday. However, the family must discuss practice considerations with the MASA coach. The player is required to attend at least one MASA practice per week. Also, there are limitations on the number of cup players that MASA is permitted to roster on any given travel team. Communicate your intentions early with the MASA travel coordinator and it is usually manageable.
How much does it cost for travel soccer?
As of fall 2016, all players will register individually for fall and spring seasons. Registration costs are noted elsewhere on this site. For travel, you will also need to purchase a travel uniform which is comprised of 2 numbered jerseys, shorts, and socks. This is approximately $80 and is handled via soccer.com. MASA will retain your personal uniform number year over year so that you can reuse these uniforms.
EVALUATION SESSION (TRYOUT) QUESTIONS
Why does MASA have to do these tryouts? Why can't everyone just play?
MASA holds these evaluation sessions so that teams can be formed according to player skill level, and this is done in the best interests of the player's development to ensure they are growing where possible in the right competitive environment for their skillset.
Why are these evaluation sessions so early?
There are many factors that cause this. At the travel level, there are several logistical items that need to be addressed prior to season start that take time to complete. We also are trying to avoid summer vacation conflicts and conflicts with classic/cup tryouts as well.
Is it possible that my child will be cut?
The primary goal is to have everyone play, and this is usually accomplished. The need for cuts only exists because in some cases we have too many players for one team but not enough for two. This occurs because PAWest enforces roster limits (for example, 14 players max for U-11) and we must fall within this. Again, MASA will do everything possible to ensure no child is left without a team but in some rare cases this is unavoidable. As stated before, we highly encourage children of ALL age levels to register! At the U-10 level, team decisions are more selective, and players not making the travel team simply remain in the in-house (Eagles) program.
Am I committed to play if I attend tryouts?
No. Once teams are selected you will be presented with an "offer letter" and given a chance to accept. Once accepted, however, it is expected that you will play in the fall season at minimum.
Is payment due prior to tryouts?
No. For the evaluation sessions you are only registering for the evaluation session itself. Once teams are formed, each parent will be asked to formally register again and payment will be due at that time.
Does my child have to try-out? What happens if he/she doesn’t?
We ask all U-10+ players to attend the evaluation sessions. Depending on registration numbers for a given age group it may not be necessary to evaluate players for team placement and those sessions will be cancelled and teams automatically formed. If multiple teams are formed for an age group and your child does not attend tryouts, the evaluators will try to use player evaluations from previous seasons but most likely this child will be placed on the lower-division team. If we must make roster cuts because of roster size limits imposed by PAWest then players attending evaluation sessions will hold priority over those that do not attend. Decisions here are at the discretion of MASA.
Note that if your child is Under-10, the child can still play in the In-House Eagles program and does not need to tryout.
What if my child can't attend tryouts on either tryout day?
Please call or email the travel coordinator whose information can be found on the Board Members page.
Must my child attend both days of tryouts?
Attending both tryouts is NOT MANDATORY. However, attending both tryout dates is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED and gives your child 2 chances to do well. If your child must miss the second tryout day, let MASA know that when you sign in on the first tryout day. If your child must miss the first tryout day, let us know that when you sign in on the second tryout day.
Does a player on a tryout team have to commit to playing in both fall and spring?
When a person accepts an offer to be on a team following a tryout, it is highly desirable for that player to play in both the fall and spring sessions. Playing on a tryout team is a big commitment to soccer, to the coach, and to the team. This is not a requirement but highly suggested by MASA for the benefit of both player and team.
How are teams selected?
Players are evaluated and placed onto teams according to a combination of their evaluation session performance, coach evaluations (submitted at the end of each season), and other outside input where possible.
Parents and players should understand that the assessment and tryout process is an investment of countless hours by volunteers who have given their time to MASA. Much time is spent not only regarding the player evaluations themselves, but also numerous hours are spent in discussions to determine team divisional placement, and player assignments. Be assured that MASA and its volunteers work extremely hard, in the most objective way possible, to assess players in a fair and impartial manner.
Who evaluates the players at tryouts?
MASA will ask experienced coaches -- from volunteers to professional coaches -- to do evaluations. MASA makes great efforts to bring in "3rd party" evaluators that are qualified to assess soccer talent but are not directly affiliated with MASA. We have had college coaches/players, HS coaches, cup coaches, etc. involved in the process. If we do use MASA coaches due to limited outside options, we never allow a coach to evaluate players in the same age group and same gender as the coach normally coaches. For instance, if a U10 boys in-house coach were helping with tryouts, that coach would not be doing evaluations for the U10 boys travel team. But the coach could evaluate any of the girls tryouts.
Does the travel coach have any say in who will be on the team?
No. Travel players are selected by evaluation/tryout before the coach is selected.
What documents do I need to bring to my evaluation session?
Upload a CURRENT photo of your player to the website. This is required of all players. Copy your player's birth certificate and bring it to the evaluation session. This is required of all players except those who played TRAVEL in the previous season. If your child played on a travel team this past year, we already have your child's birth certificate in the online system and you do not have to bring a copy to tryouts. If you played on a travel team prior to the current year or you played in-house, you still will need to bring a copy of your birth certificate to the tryouts. Any player who arrives without the required documents either pre-loaded or presented on-site will not be permitted to tryout. NO exceptions.
Do I have to upload a photo of my child?
YES - Travel player photos are now required and this ideally should be done prior to the spring evaluation session during the registration process. Every travel player must have an image on file.