After choosing the right tournament for your team, find out the dates that registration begins and ends. Some tournaments raise their fees after a certain date, others lower them (depending on demand). Many of the top level tournaments are very selective and others give away places first come first served. Either way, being late is always risky if it is a tournament you have your heart set on attending. Like booking on Hotwire or Priceline, if you can be flexible and have a team at a level in demand, waiting until the last minute can sometimes get you into tournaments for half price or less, when tournament directors become desperate.
As we discussed in the selection section, we recommend holding a team meeting after tryouts to get the year’s events planned out. Here you can explain why you think they should go to certain events, how you will travel, and what rules you will follow. When the selection of tournaments is done early and presented on a schedule everyone benefits. Parents can budget when they will need to pay for events and the manager and treasurer will find it easier to collect the money and submit the forms on time.
The actual registration/application process varies from tournament to tournament. However, the majority of tournaments are leaning towards one of the online registration companies. The largest is GotSoccer but there are plenty of others (E7, Demosphere etc). The good thing is that once you have registered for one tournament through these sites, they will keep your information for when you use them again, which saves you a lot of time and effort. The programs also include space for putting in your team roster of names and player information. This then helps college coaches at showcase tournaments. If you plan to pay by check, keep in mind that most tournaments will not consider your application until they actually receive and deposit it. That could mean a week or more delay before you can be accepted. In popular tournaments this could be the difference between getting a place and not.
Some tournaments still do registration the old-fashioned way – via mail and check. Paper applications can be downloaded from the sites. After filling them out and sending them in the mail with a check, you wait to hear confirmation either via e-mail, letter of acceptance, or a phone call. The main issue with paper registrations is again the timing; make sure you get the application and registration fee sent in early enough to have a chance at being accepted.
Once accepted, your registration process still has at least one remaining step. This normally takes place on your first day at the event. The coach or team manager takes various forms to a central registration point where a staff member checks you have everything and that you are not trying to do something nefarious. In the olden days you were expected to take copies of all the birth certificates to prove that none of your players was too old. Now with all the worries about identity theft most tournaments have dropped this step, leaving the door open to cheating and chaos! The policy is that as long as the club or state made the roster they are probably the right age. As long as we trust that the club saw the birth certificate at some point. Be sure to check the event website to see what you need to bring to the registration (usually copies of your roster, player cards, medical waivers etc).