ELITE Frequently Asked Question


Q: What are travel costs and how does HOTC help with the registration fees?
We feel that our costs are the best in the area, considering the caliber of staff, training and game facilities, league fees, insurance, tournament play, etc. Heart of the City subsides approximately 75% of the cost per travel player compared to other travel soccer programs in Lake County. Costs are for the entire year and can be paid in installments. A year-long commitment is required. Per the U.S. Soccer Federation, the 2018 national average to play travel soccer was $2,500-5,000 per season. As a nonprofit organization, Heart of the City raises funds to offset as much of the program cost as possible so that youth in our community can play travel soccer.


Q: Is there a lot of travel in Travel Soccer?
During each season (fall & spring), each team will play 8 games in the fall and 8 games in the spring; half of these games are home games and half away. Our younger teams travel within a 10-20-mile radius for away games; our older teams travel within 10-30 miles.


Q: What is the commitment to play with HOTC Elite?
Players U8 through U14 are committing to play with HOTC Elite for the Fall, Winter & Spring season. HS Girls are committing to the Fall & Winter seasons; HS Boys are committing to the Winter & Spring season. *NOTE: once a player registers for the new season, it is the club’s discretion as to whether we grant a player release, if a release is requested. We will NOT grant a player release without all fees paid in full. NOTE: YSSL/IWSL do not allow for player transfers after January 31st.


Q: Who are the coaches?
All of our teams have highly qualified, USSF licensed professional coaches who train and coach games. If there is a situation where a coach has a conflict with another team or cannot get to a training session/game, another staff coach will cover for them.


Q: Do your teams take part in winter training/games?
Yes, absolutely. We know that repetition is key in developing highly skilled soccer players, therefore we offer training - 2 sessions per team (U7-HS) and 8 games (U9-HS) during the winter season. The winter program is included in the year-round fees.


Q: Do your teams travel to out of state tournaments?
HOTC Elite high school teams will travel to college showcase tournaments where they can be seen by college scouts and improve their chances of being selected to play college soccer.


Q: Do all players get playing time?
All players will get ample playing time, but this question has its variables: Playing time for our younger players will be more spread out. As players get older, all players will still get playing time, but more time on the field will be established based on the ability of your child, his or her commitment, work ethic, versatility to play different positions, etc.


Q: Does HOTC Elite allow players to "play up" an age group?
HOTC Elite currently has some players "playing up" an age group for the whole season. Our policy on "playing up" is that the player must be of exceptional ability, be physically and mentally able to play up, and would developmentally benefit from this experience. It is a decision made by the Director of Coaching post tryouts. During the season, if a team is short on numbers due to injury, etc., then we may substitute a player from another team or an age group below to play up for certain games or tournaments.


Q: Can my son or daughter still play with HOTC Elite if they play other sports? We recommend younger children experience different sports. Unlike some other organizations, we believe that playing different sports is beneficial for a child's overall well-being, social skills, and cognitive development. Your child can still play with HOTC Elite if they play other sports. However, an overload of sports can be stressful for a young athlete, due to the physical/mental demands of sports and time commitments required. These factors should be considered when making that decision.


Q: If my child has a conflict with his/her team's practice, can they attend another team's session?
HOTC Elite will allow your child to attend another team's session if a conflict occurs. It is important that your child gets plenty of training time to develop their game. However, you MUST contact your team coach when a conflict arises, so the player, coach and Director of Coaching can find an alternative training opportunity – thomas@hotcsoccer.org

  1. Can HOTC Elite Players “guest play” with another club?
    For league games, guest-playing with another club is NOT allowed by the leagues we play in. If any player is caught guest-playing for another club, they will be banned from participating in IYSA leagues. If an HOTC guest player is asked to play in a tournament by another club, the requesting club must contact DOC Thomas Cahue at thomas@hotcsoccer.org to formally ask consent. The final decision will be made by Thomas. NOTE: all HOTC games, tournaments, training, events will always be given priority over guest-playing in tournaments with another club.


Q: What is HOTC’s Youth Development & Support (YDS) program component?Our YDS program combines youth development and support programming with competitive soccer. Our goal is to provide a support system to our youth to develop key life skills and prepare them for life after high school, whether it is college, trade/vocational school, the military, or the workforce. YDS programming includes enrichment, health & wellness, SEL, workforce development, college recruitment, and more:  https://heartofthecitysports.org/education/

  1. How will HOTC communicate schedules, updates, and events?
    Communication will come from HOTC staff and coaches through the Sprocket application. All parents/guardians that manage their child’s HOTC team schedule will need to download the Sprocket application. If you have questions regarding the communication and the Sprocket application, please contact Director of Sporting Operations, Letisia at letisia@hotcsoccer.org


Q: If my son or daughter plays travel soccer but we opt out during the season, can we get a refund?
We budget for each team and the number of players on the roster to keep costs very reasonable. For this reason, no refund will be issued, unless there is a long-term injury, illness, or family relocation.


Q: What if I do not make a payment on time?
You must contact one of Heart of the City program administrators at our office if you are unable to make your payment for any reason (call 847-623-6200). Your account will be held for 5 business days before your player is marked ineligible for further travel play (until your account is brought into good standing once more).


Q: If I have a concern or issue, who do I go to?
If a complaint pertains to a team and/or coach, it is recommended you first try and talk to the coach to reach a solution. If this cannot be achieved, then you may contact the Director of Coaching, Thomas Cahue.


Q: How does HOTC deal with unacceptable parent and player behavior?
All HOTC Elite parents and players must abide by the parent signed "Parent and Player Agreement” policy. The HOTC Zero Tolerance policy will be enforced if you violate the Parent/Player policy. All comments directed towards the field should be words of encouragement and praise, not criticism.


Q: What are the safety rules?
Suspend playing/practicing IMMEDIATELY if there is ANY LIGHTNING. Shin guards are mandatory (under socks) for games and practices. No jewelry may be worn for games or practices. Regular eyeglasses without other forms of protection are not allowed - you must shield them in some way with goggles or something similar. Hoods may not be worn during play - they must be tucked inside the jersey. Jerseys must be tucked into shorts. If there is an injury on the field, we always err on the side of caution, and play will stop at change of possession while the injury is assessed. We will call an ambulance ANYTIME A HEAD INJURY IS SUSPECTED!


Q: I still have questions, who should I contact?

Letisia Gutierrez, Director of Sporting Operations - letisia@hotcsoccer.org

Thomas Cahue, Director of Team & Football Operations - thomas@hotcsoccer.org

Francisco Martinez, Director of Youth Development – francisco@hotcsoccer.org

Dean Smith, Sporting Director - dean@heartofthecitysports.org

You will receive a response within a 48-hour period.