Choosing a junior team, somethings to look for
Joining a jr. cycling team is much different than signing up for little league or a soccer team, and unless you have been in a club or have raced yourself, you may not know what to expect from a team, so you should ask questions. So you are considering joining a jr. specific team, let's call it "TeamFast", contact the director, ask her/him what the yearly budget for TeamFast is, because there is a wide range of funding between jr. teams. For example, TeamFast may have a yearly budget of $150,000, and another team may only have product from various sponsors. But you can't make your decision based only on this, because even with a budget of $150k at TeamFast, you may still have to pay for everything, from clothing, fees to join the team, even something as trivial as Cliffbars, whereas the team with no financial backing may have free clothing, free entry, even free equipment, and all the Cliffbars you can eat! Another consideration is who is running the team. Ask the team director about the paid positions at the team. For example, the director at TeamFast may be paid $40,000/yr., and the team w/ no financial backing would have no paid positions, but again, you cannot base you decision on this alone, because the team without backing may well be staffed with dedicated, sincere, devoted people who are truly interested in your child and their development, whereas the team with the high paid director may not care one wit about your kid, (once you've paid for everything of course). Once you have joined a team, there are things to look out for. Let's say your child has joined "TeamFast" for example, and you pay for your team uniform, but the price you pay is nearly retail, even though the team has a clothing sponsor, this is a good time to ask questions. Another red flag would be if your paying nearly retail prices for you clothing, even though the team has, oh, lets say a $13,000 clothing budget that it writes off on it's tax return, you should ask questions. Something else parents need to ask questions about is travel. A good example is when the team director says to you "I'm taking the kids to "SuperWeek!", you need to ask him/her exactly what that means, because if you don't ask, your kid may come home with a bill from the director for lets say, $3100!!! ASK QUESTIONS! If the answers don't sound right, or things just don't add up, keep looking, there are plenty of ethical teams out there!