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Chatham United Launches TOPSoccer Program
by posted 08/01/2018

This Fall 2018 Chatham United will launch the start of a wonderful new program, TOPSoccer -- an official US Youth Soccer program enriching the lives of young athletes with disabilities through the game of soccer.

About the TOPSoccer program

The Chatham United TOPSoccer program is being established for Chatham players who are either physically and/or mentally challenged and aged 5-15 years of age with a birth date falling between October 1, 2003 and September 30, 2013. The emphasis of this program is on development, training, and meaningful participation rather than competition. TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the US Youth Soccer mission statement, which is, “to foster physical, mental, and emotional growth and development through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.” Our goal is to enable our young athletes with disabilities to develop their physical fitness, technical skills, courage and self esteem, through the joy and excitement of playing soccer.

TOPSoccer is designed to give everyone a chance to play soccer, while providing the experience of working together as a team, achieving individual goals, and, most of all, HAVING FUN!

Game Details

All TOPSoccer games will be held once a week on Saturdays for 45 minutes. Each session will include a 30-minute practice followed by a 15-minute game. The season will run for 6 weeks starting in September 2018 with specific dates and times to be determined. The expectation is the sessions would run 11:15-1pm on 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13 and 10/20 (SUBJECT TO CHANGE).

TOPSoccer Buddies

Each player will have a TOPSoccer Buddy assigned to provide 1:1 guidance and assistance with practice activities and games. TOPSoccer Buddies will consist primarily of high school-aged students who are willing to commit to the scheduled 6-week season. If you are interested in becoming a buddy, please send us an email at  . There will be a one day training program scheduled in August 2018 that all Buddies will have to attend in order to volunteer.


Registration fee is $50 per player to cover the cost of uniforms, end of season awards, and end of season celebration.


Please direct all general questions or comments to  .

We look forward to launching our program and having a wonderful first TOPSoccer season!

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Travel vs 8U TDP vs Recreation: What's the difference?
posted 01/17/2018

Chatham United runs three programs - Travel, 8U TDP and Recreation - and we recognize that the differences between them can sometimes be confusing. In this item we outline the major features of each program so that you can determine which is most appropriate for your player. 


  • Fall (Sep-Nov) and Spring (Apr-Jun) seasons.
  • 10 travel league games per season (typically in the Morris County Youth Soccer Association). Additional tournament and cup games (esp. in Fall) are also common.
  • Typically two 90 minute practices per week in Fall and one or two 60-90 minute practices per week in Spring. 
  • All practices coached by professional trainers.
  • Games coached by professional trainers and parent managers. (Any parent manager who coaches is required to have an NJ Youth Soccer "F" coaching license.)
  • Age groups are 9U-15U and are formed by "birth year". Players are eligible for 9U if they turn 8 during the calendar year that contains the start of the season (e.g. for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 season the 9U age group is targeted at players born in 2010). Players remain eligible for Travel through 8th grade. 
  • Teams are formed for the entire year. Team formation is tryout-based. 
  • Registration is open mid January to early March.
  • Tryouts are indoors in mid March and outdoors in mid April to early May. 
  • More details are under the Travel tab on our website. 

8U TDP (Technical Development Program)

  • Fall (Sep-Nov) and Spring (Apr-Jun) seasons.
  • Academy-style program in which different teams are formed from week to week (so that players get to play with a variety of different teammates). The goal of the TDP is to focus on soccer fundamentals in preparation for the start of Travel soccer at 9U.
  • 1 game per week in each season. Most games are in-town and against other players in the program. 1 or 2 games per season may be scheduled against similar programs in neighboring towns. 
  • Typically two ~90-minute practices per week in Fall and one ~90-minute practice per week in Spring.
  • All practices and games coached by professional trainers.
  • Players are eligible for the 8U TDP if they turn 7 during the calendar year that contains the start of the season (e.g. for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 season the 8U TDP is open to players born in 2011).  
  • There are no tryouts for the 8U TDP. 
  • Registration is open mid January to mid June. 
  • More details are under the 8U TDP tab on our website. 

Recreation Soccer

  • Fall (Sep-Nov) season only.
  • All players in grades K-8 are eligible. Teams are formed by grade.
  • One 60-minute Saturday game session per week against another team in the program. For the younger grades the start of each Saturday session involves skill drills. 
  • One 45-minute mid-week practice session per week for grades 1-8.
  • Mid-week practice sessions are coached by professional trainers. Saturday game sessions are coached by parents with assistance from professional trainers.  
  • There are no tryouts for Recreation soccer. 
  • Registration is open early May to mid August. 
  • More details are under the Recreation tab on our website. 


Travel soccer and the 8U TDP require a greater time commitment than Recreation soccer. The "standard" progression for our most committed players would be Grade K Rec soccer followed by the 8U TDP and then 9U-15U Travel if they are old for their grade (i.e. born on or before December 31) or Grade K-1 Rec soccer followed by the 8U TDP and then 9U-14U Travel if they are young for their grade (i.e. born on or after January 1).  Players that do not wish to commit at quite the same level can replace any of the 8U TDP or Travel years with a year of Recreation soccer. 

Please note that Chatham United does not offer any formal winter or summer programs. However, we maintain a list of local winter/summer programs run by our training partners and so Chatham United players have many options if they wish to keep playing during those seasons. 

Photo: The Chatham United 11U Girls Breakers run onto the field at Red Bull Arena to play an exhibition match during the 2017 Danone Nations Cup (the world's largest international youth soccer tournament). 

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