Every week I get a handful of emails from parents looking for travel teams for their kids to join. If these queries come from Richmond, Virginia or Middle Georgia, I can usually call someone who knows someone whose cousin’s ex-wife’s neighbor coaches a team that may need a player or two. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of my personal connections.* (Although I did once hang out with MLB Network’s Cliff Floyd. Okay, it was actually a phone call. But that still counts, right?)
If you’ve recently moved to a new area or are new to the baseball/softball scene in general, finding the right team for your kid can be a monumental pain in the posterior! When our family relocated to Virginia three years ago, I felt like some awkward, overzealous, coach-stalking sports agent mom, asking everyone I encountered if they knew of any travel teams looking for players.
After finally connecting with some local baseball training facilities, Round 2 of the awkwardness commenced. Between both boys, we attended at least a dozen tryouts which varied widely by skill level, coaching style and parental psychosis. It felt like the youth sports version of speed dating. (There was one where we didn’t even get out of the car.)
With our own team searching misadventures in mind, I was particularly interested in a website I found this week that’s taking the headaches out of finding the right team for your kid. Select and Unite matches teams with players based on a wide assortment of search criteria. It’s the sports version of sites like careerbuilder.com and Angie’s List. Select and Unite allows players to find teams based on their age group, location, position needs, league type, competition level, coaching philosophy, time commitment expectations and other important considerations. (Just think of all the negative experiences that could be eliminated by more accurately matching coaches with players.)
Users can register, create a profile and begin searching for matches. Like most matching sites, Select and Unite does charge a very small fee (like $4, I think) for expanded player-team match ups. If the connection doesn’t happen, that fee is refunded.
Thinking of all the time and gas we spent driving from tryout to tryout, I’d say a few bucks for finding the right team is money well spent.
Here are some screen shots to show how Select and Unite works.
Since this site is still pretty new, some cities and areas have hundreds of teams and players to match while listings for other places are still populating. But, as with anything, Select and Unite’s database is growing everyday as more people discover it.
So log in, check it out and let us know what you think. Is the future of sports team recruiting going online? Maybe so!