By: Neil McNab, Executive Director, Rush Union

As parents, we want to help our children find activities—often sports—for which they have great interest. We are passionate about it. And once our children discover a passion for something, parents often go into high gear, investing time, energy, and money into that discovery. It’s easy to get caught up. 

The studies on early sport specialization have been prevalently publicized over the last several years. Some disadvantages of specializing at a young age have been highlighted; and yet as soon as our child tells us they like something or want to try a new activity, we immediately sign them up for year-round camps, clinics, season play, private lessons, you name it. Good. Better. Best. Next level. Youth sports have become masterful marketing machines and with that can come the realization that we might be pushing our children too soon to commit to one thing. 

Many sports offer year-round options now, beginning as young as 6 years old. Options for our kids are important. And some—a few, like Olympians—like that singular focus and thrive, even at a tender single-digit age. Most will do better having exposure to multiple options. And when we stand back, soak it all in, it’s good to be committed to a program, but equally as important to say no if that’s the better route. 

My daughter recently expressed an interest in playing soccer over the winter months—the “off-season”. This was something we had never invested in before as a family. How much did we want to invest in a year-round activity when that would mean missing out on full-family time? Fortunately, Rush Union offers a program that is “customized” to parents’ and athletes’ off-season tolerances. Short programs, a la carte clinics, and pay-as-you-go programs came to the table based on feedback received by our members. In my personal case, we selected a five-week program with practices and no game play. It was a good balance. My daughter and my family enjoyed our winter. 

As a family we often travel over the summer on vacation or enroll our children in other summer camps like County Kids Camp, which is an outdoor camp that focuses on good old fashion outdoor activities like playing in the mud, and rope swings into the lake. So, summer soccer leagues may not be on the horizon for us, but a weeklong soccer camp will likely be worked in somewhere this July. 

If you are unsure what do to with your child’s sporting experience, there are people you can turn to for perspective, starting with your athlete. Simply ask them what they would like to do with their time. Their passion for a sport will certainly grow if your child gets to be in the driving seat of their own experience. There are also parenting groups, such as Soccer Parenting Association, that provide parents with great guidance and options. League organizers and coaches can also offer advice. 

If your child has not found their passion yet, you do not need to heavily invest in time or finances to discover where it may lie. Many children’s interests change over time. My oldest son is nearly 12 and has not settled on any one thing that genuinely piques his interest, so we encourage him to experiment with lots of activities as he goes on his journey of self-discovery. And it may be that he doesn’t want to do just one thing. 

 

More about Neil:

Neil played through the Manchester City youth system from 1994-98. Moved to Portsmouth F.C. in the summer of 1998 and turned professional at Portsmouth in November 1998 where he played until 2001.

In April 2001 Neil moved to the USA and during a 4 year span played professionally for the Utah Blittz, Long Island Rough Riders, Syracuse Salty Dogs and the Wilmington Hammerheads until winter 2004. Neil was part of two USL National Championship teams with the Utah Blitzz, and Long Island Rough Riders respectively.

Neil coached at various youth programs throughout the U.S. from 2001-2004. In the winter of 2004 Neil started coaching for TYSA (Tucker Youth Soccer Association) where he became Assistant Director of coaching in 2005-2008.

Neil joined CFC in June 2008 where he served as Executive Director for Chiefs Futbol Club. In the summer of 2020, Chiefs FC and Georgia Rush merged to form Rush Union Soccer, where Neil currently serves as Executive Director.

Neil holds the USSF A, UEFA C coaching licenses, the NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma, and the USSF Grassroots Instructor License.

*Note this article first appeared in the March 2022 Our Milton Neighbor publication and consent to redistribute was provided by the author*

Lori is a trusted partner of ours and someone our staff truly enjoys working with, so we wanted to share a little more about her journey in the business. We have learned a lot from Lori and we think you will too! Lori has a proven track record of strong positive leadership utilizing a team-focused approach. She oversees all aspects of the business strategy, growth, and development. A former DI player at the University of Richmond in field hockey and lacrosse, and a former US National team member.

What is your earliest sports memory?

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Did your children’s involvement in sports change your approach or motivate you to do anything differently?

What has been Top Threat/Triple Threat’s best achievement and biggest challenge so far?

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to run events in the youth amateur sports industry?

Jason Puckett speaks with Mark Dvoroznak, Operations & Co-Founder of Base Sports Group, to discuss bringing a professional sports sponsorship approach to amateur sports. Valuable best practices are shared to help facilities and event organizers drive more revenue.

Listen to the full interview here!

Jason Puckett sat down with William Knox, President/ Owner of Legacy Sports Group and partner of The Collective, to discuss the current state of the industry regarding facilities, his new initiative with SportsETA, and to provide destinations and facility operators insight from an industry leader. 

Listen to the full interview here

We are excited to announce four new Client Relationship Specialists to the Pellucid Travel family. They all join with a wealth of knowledge in the travel industry and to get to know them better, we asked them a few fun questions below. For more information on their background, check our Meet the Team page.

Kelsey Fischer

1. Why do you love working in the travel industry? 

Meeting and getting to know people from all across the country. You learn about different lifestyles and locations. I can "see" a little bit of the country without having to visit it, although given the chance to visit - I'd jump at it!

2. Who is your favorite sports team? 

Anything Syracuse University, Bills, or Yankees

3. Best sports memory

I love watching my kids enjoy their sports and the excitement they have playing and competing!

F720ED52-04D1-45DB-84F2-22B93EFB6FBB

Gretchen Secky

1. Why do you love working in the travel industry? 

Getting to know different areas of the country and learning something historical about it is my personal favorite reason for traveling!

2. Who is your favorite sports team?

Buffalo Bills Baby!!!

3. Best sports memory

Playing catch with Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson and Lou Brock at Cooperstown. I didn't know then what legends they were!!

image0 (6)

Linda Smith

1. Why do you love working in the travel industry? 

My love of travel would be my reason. I want to share that love with other people to make the best experience possible happen for them. If I can just do one thing to make their experience better, it's worth it. Sharing tips or recommendations is the best way to do that.

2. Who is your favorite sports team?

Currently, it's the Tampa Bay Bucs. When Greg Jennings played for Green Bay, I rooted for them, having a personal connection to Greg after booking many trips for him and his wife, Nicole, including their honeymoon.

3. Best sports memory?

I played a mediocre tennis game in my teen years but lived vicariously through watching my brothers compete at national events, meeting future tennis celebrity stars along the way. I continued supporting my own kids, my daughter, a competitive baton twirler, winning the World Championship in Amsterdam and my son. played college baseball. I can't say that I have just one favorite, because I keep making new sports memories with my grandsons, the oldest playing college football in the fall.

IMG_7413

Patti Gaudy

1. Why do you love working in the travel industry?

I love working in the travel industry because generally, people are happy when they travel! I am a "people person" by nature and love to interact with the clients, whether it is for a traveling sports team or a vacation client. My vacation clients are fun because I can recommend places, I've been to myself and can share my own experiences to help make their vacation the best ever!

2. Who is your favorite sports team?

I guess I would have to say the Buffalo Bills, since it's my "home" team. They've had their ups and downs, but their "ups" are especially fun to watch! Also, I worked with the team scheduling all of the corporate events at their Summer Training Camp for 19 years, so I guess that's why they are my favorite team!

3. Best sports memory

I didn't play sports myself, but thoroughly enjoyed watching my kids play everything from soccer, football, cheerleading and dance! My best sports memory has to have been watching my son play soccer in his senior year of high school. Even though he played club soccer since he was 8 yrs old, his senior year was the first year he played Varsity. He was a track star and a wrestler but decided to play soccer in his last year of high school. He started out slow but was soon nicknamed "The Machine" and helped take his team to the State Championships that year! Very exciting for me to watch!

Screen Shot 2022-01-26 at 12.21.51 PM

Rush Soccer announces two new tournament partners and a new deal with an existing one 

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Rush Soccer has secured two new tournament partners, which will assist clubs with elements of travel and apparel, according to Rush Director of Tournaments Steve Lovgren.

Pellucid Travel has been designated as the official housing partner for Rush Soccer and will be providing housing services for member clubs for their events.

“We’re excited to be working with Rush clubs in providing world-class service for their teams and participants in upcoming events,” said Shannon Barrows, the CEO, and owner of Pellucid Travel.

“Given the amount of experience Pellucid Travel and its connections with local Convention and Visitors Bureaus, we think this group is going to help Rush clubs take their tournaments to the next level,” Lovgren said.

Simax Sports is the other new tournament partner, an on-site heat press apparel company with a great reputation for superb customer service and a proven track record of good experience for tournament participants. The Atlanta-based company will be providing screen print t-shirts and other apparel from Capelli, Rush’s exclusive clothing partner, at upcoming events.

“We look forward to providing quality products and great service at Rush tournaments in the future,” said Yuriy Radchuck, Simax Sports CEO and founder.

“The kicker is that Simax will be carrying Capelli gear at all Rush events,” Lovgren said. “This will be a great way to provide support to another partner that has supported Rush so fervently over the years.”

Lovgren also shared that Rush has renewed its contract with Wilson Trophy Company, which will be providing discounted awards. However, new to the agreement will be Wilson Trophy providing co-branded items for winners’ circles, including backdrops, wind feathers, frame pop-ups, mesh banners, and other items to elevate the award ceremony environments.

About Simax: Simax Sports is a national sporting apparel industry that works hand in hand with executives, directors, business owners, and coaches of soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, track n field, swimming, wrestling, regattas, cheer, féis, etc. Simax is rapidly expanding its services throughout the U.S. to provide the best quality custom printed apparel both on-site at the tournaments and by orders. We have serviced events with 50 teams or 3,000 teams. Simax highly values all relationships with events and tournaments, and we take on every job with passion and dignity.

About Pellucid Travel: Pellucid travel is a full-service sports housing agency, focused on making good things happen for other people. We have easy processes, clear and transparent communication, and the knowledge and experience to find you the right housing solutions.

Pellucid Travel is proud to be the official accommodations parameter for DME events!  

The vision, the brand, and, overall mission of DME are exactly why pellucid Travel chose to align with DME. The greatest thing about our business is we get to choose who we want to work with. We choose our partners carefully as we value the relationship and the success we create together. We are super excited to be a part of this talented team.

“I knew instantly when I met with Dan that we could make good things happen for others together” -Shannon Barrows, Pellucid Owner.  

DME Academy is an elite, multi-sport training and educational institution designed for student-athletes, they offer a wide variety of programming, from 6th-12th grade co-ed boarding school and post-grad programs, to year-round camps, tournaments, team events, and collegiate and professional training.

“As we continue to grow our Academy, our first-class facilities have drawn the attention of many tournament operators. We found it necessary to look for an expert in the hotel and housing space. In Pellucid Travel we have found the perfect solution for all our travel needs. We will be working closely with Pellucid to establish Daytona Beach and DME Academy at the very top of the tournament destination landscape. We are pleased to announce our partnership.”- Dan Panaggio, DME Owner

We are ready to make good things happen for others together!

Date: Aug 9, 2021 10:52 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Listen to the full interview here

Click the image or click here to learn more!

Listen to the full interview here!