The price of camp was included in our club fees. Junior went Monday-Friday from 9am-11:30am. He got to work with coaches from his local club and coaches from the main International Academy that came over from England for the week.
Camp was awesome! It was a great way for him to get to know some of the kids from the new club, though he didn't work only with kids from his own team. It was a great introduction to the Club's philosophy and coaching style. They made it such fun that I don't even think Junior realized he was learning anything at all.
As an aside: I was extremely concerned about the cleanliness of the facility. Each day my son was covered in what seemed to be a fine, black powder, sweat dripping down his face. Each night I was using copious amounts of OxyC.lean to get the black powder mixed with sweat out of his white (why, in the name of all that is holy, did they choose WHITE?!?!) training jersey. Because in travel soccer the kids wear uniforms to trainings & games. My girls were filthy by the end of practice as well from playing on the bleachers. I was told they deep clean the facility top to bottom once a month, but I have not seen any evidence of such a cleaning ever taking place except for once in a while it seems extra humid in there. It's so gross.
Practices started the next week (end of August) twice a week on Mondays & Wednesdays from 6-7:30pm. We had our first tournament on the weekend after the first week of practice. It was an absolute disaster. The boys played really badly; it was embarrassing...but we were assured that it is like this every year. This first tournament is always terrible.
|cleat marks & a huge bruise from getting stomped on by another player|
Our boys won their division in the Fall league. We were very proud of them, but a little disappointed there wasn't even a trophy or certificate for them. The boys didn't care though, so whatever, less junk collecting dust on his dresser.
|Mr. Amen and I in the cheering section|
Junior also "played up" several times with older teams and/or more experienced teams. He held his own quite well and even scored goals for those other teams. His own coach sees him as a primarily defensive player, sometimes he is put as a midfielder. Regardless of where he is, his coaches consider him a "wrecking ball" for his ability to break up a play and for the physicality of his play. He's like running into a brick wall. Though he is the youngest player on his team, he is 80 pounds of solid muscle. They've suggested we consider letting him play rugby in a few years as well as soccer.
1 week of camp
19 team training sessions
4 training sessions with private technical coach
*Progress, progress, progress in all areas of play
*Fun at Tournaments
*Family time spent in the car and at games
*Playing up with older/more experienced teams
*Dirty, grimy grossness
*So much laundry (seriously, I went through so much OxyC.lean and had to add a daily reminder to my phone to wash uniforms so I didn't forget before going to bed)
*Last minute game schedule & location changes
*Schedule conflicts with other activities (Friday night prayer group conflicts with Friday night dance classes and Friday night games; Saturday morning work conflicts with gymnastics & Saturday morning games)
*So much money (a monthly payment plan helps, but wow! At least the price we were told was all inclusive except for travel costs & uniform)
*Politics & bickering among the parents/coaches (ummm, I had no idea people could be this intense about 8 & 9yos playing soccer, but well, they are)
*Divide and conquer (DH & I have to go in different directions more often than we'd like to get everyone everywhere they belong)
*Soccer experience for our daughter
We let our 5yo play with their mini program since we were already in the building at the same time, so she got some soccer experience. She liked it and was invited to move up to the next level. But ya'll...the cost!!
We were very lucky that our Pastor is also a soccer player because the training schedule conflicted with Catechism. Catechism is only offered at our Parish on Wednesdays from 6:15-7:30pm. We talked with Father about how we could make this work because his RE is very important to us. I can teach him Catechism, but I can't teach him soccer. Father knows we are a committed family, so he allowed us to homeschool Junior for Catechism and if his training schedule changed, we could just start bringing him to class.
I dyed my hair with red peek-a-boo highlights to support our team :-) Over the summer I had dyed purple peek-a-boo highlights for the local semi-pro team we support, so once their season was over and Junior's started up, he wanted to know if I would dye my hair for his team. So I did. It didn't last long; the red faded out much faster than the purple, but he thought it was pretty cool to have his mom's hair match his uniform.
So that was the Fall season of Year 1 of Travel Soccer.