A "Gold" 16U team should be a team that competes at the highest level tournaments available. So, such a team should be composed of very good players with extremely competent coaches. Parents involved in such a team should be prepared to (A) spend more money, (B) spend more time and (C) work with their DD more.
Parents should recognize that the competition level within the team will be higher, so DD's playing time will probably decrease. Also, a team that plays at the best tournaments had better be very, very good or they will lose a lot of games.
On the other hand, if you want your DD to play in college, she has to play against the best competition. So, going with a high level travel team is pretty much required if she wants to play in college.
My advice is to really talk to the coach and understand how much this is going to cost and the expectations for time commitment. Get a list of the tournaments he intends to play in and their locations, and see if all of this matches up with what you want to do.
Make sure the coach is an honorable guy who has his sh*t together. I've seen situations where the coach brought in a new player half way through the season, causing another player to see more of the bench. And, I've seen these teams disintegrate midway through the season because the coach was a wacko. (My DD played successfully at the D1 level, so I've seen it all.)
Having a DD play on a top flight travel team can be a lot of fun. However, parents who get involved in one without understanding what they are getting into can be miserable.
Some very good 16U teams play in all the same exposure tourneys as the best gold teams but drop down to 16U for the qualifiers. I hear 16U ASA nationals is well attended by D1 colleges now that these top D1's are commonly making and taking verbal commitments with younger girls. You should go ahead and order Cathi Aradi's book on getting to play in college. It's cheap and it will sort out a LOT of these questions in your mind and claims from various coaches. Google Cathi Aradi and you can read a lot on her website and follow links to her book which I believe is offered on the NFCA website. Some of these coaches are VERY legit, some are used car salesmen of the worst variety and many are in between.Thanks - food for thought. The DD's dedication is there, but the money is always an issue. I will make sure to ask all the questions you listed.