Youth travel soccer: Trashing the planet

Scary map of an actual U13 travel game below!

Soccer is my favorite sport; I play indoor soccer, and I coach both of my kids’ rec teams, and my daughter now also plays travel soccer. But the arrangement of travel soccer is often insane, because teams of basically equal skills from the same area travel many miles to play far-away teams. The gasoline burned to do this is an environmental nightmare. It’s global warming, stupid, as Bloomberg Businessweek says, and we should be smart enough to fix this.

Here’s an example of a travel game from two months ago in which a U13 team traveled over 100 miles to play. This is in the Washington Area Girls Soccer League (WAGS); their schedules are posted online.

The game took place in Culpeper, Virginia, southwest of Washington DC:

Sat, October 13, 2012
GAME# Time Home Away Location
14803 2:00 pm W9977 CPSA Comets U13 girls 1-0 W9906 FSC Wildfire Culpeper Complex #3

Cupeper Complex address: Greens Corner Road and Cyclone Way,   Culpeper, VA 22701

Where did the opponents, FSC Wildfire, travel from? They play home games at two fields; one in Reisterstown MD, and another in Sykesville MD:

14811 5:30 pm W9906 FSC Wildfire 0-0 W9952 ODFC Hawks Reisterstown Regional Park Turf #1

Sat, September 29, 2012
GAME# Time Home Away Location
14822 3:00 pm W9906 FSC Wildfire 1-0 W9967 OLNY Galaxy Old Liberty Park

Reisterstown address: 401 Mitchell Drive, Reisterstown, MD 21136

Old Liberty Park: 200 Old Liberty Road, Sykesville, MD 21784

Sykesville is closer to Culpeper than Reisterstown, so I will conservatively estimate that the team travels from the Sykesville area to Culpeper VA: 107 miles, one way.  Map below. This is insane. These teams have rosters of 18, so let’s say that’s a dozen cars traveling 2400 miles total, round trip, and burning 96 gallons of gas (at 25 mpg) to do so, thereby releasing over 1800 pounds of CO2. In future posts I’ll show how teams of basically equal skills which are neighbors travel crazy distances instead of just doing the smart thing and playing each other. We need to fix this by starting a “green” travel soccer league.

meanw 100 map

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2 thoughts on “Youth travel soccer: Trashing the planet

  1. Are these indoor travel soccer leagues? My son played outdoor travel league and I coached. We did travel but not that far, although I know a lot of teams in California travel quite far. I’ve been playing soccer for 38 years, and now I mainly play indoor at a local arena. Love it. I don’t know how you can green up travel leagues unless the kids start playing on-line video games. : )

    • Thanks for the comment Mary — these are outdoor games. Winter indoor, for our daughter, is actually much closer, a much better arrangement. Regarding the long outdoor slogs: For most areas in the country, for children this young (U13), I’m sure there are similarly-skilled teams close enough to each other that clubs should not have to travel 100, or even 40, miles to get a competitive game. More details coming soon — I have proof, your honor!

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