How To Pick The Best Recreational Soccer Program For Your Youth Athlete

Before we can dive into how to select the best recreational soccer program for your youth athlete, it’s important to distinguish the difference between recreational and club or travel soccer.

Recreational soccer

A soccer program that is primarily devoted to the enjoyment and development of soccer players without the emphasis on travel or high-level competition.

According to US Youth Soccer and its partial definition in its “Policy on Players and Playing Rules” it states: “recreational league” means an intraclub league in which— (A) The use of tryouts, invitations, recruiting, or any similar process to roster players to any team on the basis of talent or ability is prohibited; (B) The club administering the league accepts as participants in the league any eligible youths (subject to reasonable terms on registration); (C) A system or rostering players is used to establish a fair or balanced distribution of playing talent among all teams participating; and US Youth Soccer Director of Coach and Player Development Manual – Recreational Soccer Page 2 (D) League rules require that each player must play at least one-half of each game except for reasons of injury, illness, or discipline. “recreational team” means a team that participates in a recreational league.

Club or travel soccer

Travel soccer and club soccer refers to teams and leagues that play more than local competition/recreationally and have a selection process for players to be able to join.

Now that there’s distinction, it’s important to understand recreational and travel soccer both include many parties. When choosing a recreational soccer program here are some tips to make sure you and your child(s) have fun and develop.

Look for fun

When selecting a recreational program, look for a program that is fun. Talk to other parents involved, get to know the coaches and observe if the players are enjoying themselves. A huge part of recreational programs are to allow kids a healthy outlet to participate in and keep them playing sports throughout life.

Qualified coaches

Even though recreational doesn’t include the same level of competition required in club and travel clubs, leagues, and teams, it still should have qualified coaches on staff. Look for programs with coaches with experience, licenses, and additional accolades. While not all coaches need to have certain licenses to coach, the success and fun of the players is directly correlated to the effectivenesses of the coaches around them.

Transparent pathway

Recreational programs aren’t always tied to other programs and leagues, but whether it is or isn’t, you still want to know what the potential pathway for your child is if he/she continues to love and develop in the sport. Talk to the coaches and other families about what the development plan and pathway is. It’s always a good idea to know the next step, especially if your child starts to love and really grow as a soccer player.


Recreational soccer programs that are organized are a must-find. Look for programs that use management programs like TeamSnap for Club and Leagues to streamline communication, make registration easy, and scheduling seamless. As a new parent or player on a team the last thing you want is stressing over when and where practices are, who to pay, who’s the coach and how to contact other parents.

Ready to Get Started with TeamSnap Clubs and Leagues? Onboard TeamSnap today for easy payments, registration, and communication. Discuss your options with our Club & League specialists today. Talk to us now and sign up for a demo.

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