With Seacoast United no longer supporting the Manchester Soccer Club (MSC) following the 2017/2018 season, Manchester North Soccer League (MNSL) stepped up and created the MNSL Travel Teams (2018/2019). Travel Teams are initially designed to address coed players in the U9 through U14 ranges and provide an outlet for players that are ready to step up a level from that of a traditional recreational soccer league, but no longer having an active Manchester Soccer Club to turn to.
Over the 2018/2019 Winter months, additional player age ranges will be considered based on interest levels. Play follows US Soccer rules and the majority of the coaching staff is or is working towards US Soccer Grassroots Certification or higher. Coaching target levels are currently targeting a minimum of US Soccer Grassroots Certification.
Current recreational players interested in stepping their game up to the next level are highly encouraged to try out. Travel Team coaches are actively searching for potential talent that have the ability to learn needed skills, have at least more of the fundamental skills required, and have the positive attitude needed for playing at the next level.
Travel Teams are for those players that want more than what is offered at the recreational team level. Travel Teams are competitive, and the players are expected to step up to the challenge. Player participation and output both at practice sessions and games at 100% are expected at this level by all members of the team.
Players who are interested but not quite sure are encouraged to sign up for training sessions and camps offered throughout the year off-season. These training sessions (eg.; MNSL Travel Team Indoor Winter Training) are opened up to rec team members based on training slot availability and are an opportunity for players interested in the Travel Teams to “sample” the level of play, coaching, and expectations off-season.
Travel Teams play at various levels in New Hampshire Soccer League play with travel in-state and most games being in the Southern tier of the state. In the 2019 season Travel Teams will also include some tournament play, dependent upon age level.
Travel Team participation allows players to step up their game level without incurring costs that sometimes reach into the thousands of dollars per year. Travel Team play is very competitive price- wise, with a focus on developing players to that “next level.”
Players are expected give 100% at games including at practice! Players are encouraged and expected to practice and further develop their soccer skills as well as overall fitness outside of normal practice sessions several times per week. Conditioning, stamina, and ball control become daily activities for all team players, often as part of other sports they are active in such as track and field.
Coaches regularly provide guidance and recommendations regarding conditioning, overall fitness, solo ball control drills, etc. during practice sessions and in one on one discussions with players as required and based upon their needs. The emphasis is on player-development to the next level and the coaches recognize that this is based on the players current level of knowledge and mastery.
Travel Team players are those players that arrive at practice with their cleats on, shin guards in, ball in one hand and water bottle in the other-running onto the pitch and ready to practice hard!
Based out of Manchester’s Livingston Park facilities, the teams currently practice on pitches at Manchesters Livingston and Rimmon Parks.
Teams play competitive games during both the Fall and Spring Seasons and maintain training over the Winter at indoor facilities procured specifically to ensure team maintenance. Training sessions average 1.5 hours twice a week during the season, 1-hour per week off-season, and can be quite demanding for rec players. Training frequency can increase/decrease depending on age level, weather conditions, and game tempo/scheduling and team development needs.
Recreational play or “Rec” leagues play is intended to provide players with basic soccer knowledge, develop and maintain interest, and provide a low stress environment to introduce youth to soccer. Academy level play is designed to provide an outlet for extremely talented players to excel and fine tune skills. Between Academy level and Rec leagues there is a very wide gap.
This gap, ideally, is filled with a level of play and development that provides an incubator for players that enjoy soccer but want to step their game up to a level that exceeds that of typical recreational level play.