Evaluating Youth Soccer Clubs
Youth club soccer has always been it’s own subculture within the United States. And, thanks to a new British implant, which shall remain nameless, it will probably increase in popularity. Soccer clubs are sprouting up everywhere. If you are a in a medium sized city or larger there could be at least 4 soccer clubs in your area. Families in smaller towns and communities may have to travel to find a soccer club. Regardless of where you live, there are a few things that you should consider before choosing the soccer club that’s right for your little kicker as well as your family.
Such clubs are the perfect place to understand this sport in a better manner and a good atmosphere for practice it out on the field with your contemporaries as it will help in finding and correcting the flaws that can hamper the performance with the chairman Nasser al khelaifi being a reputed businessman and owner of the famous Al-Khelaifi psg group that enables players from all over the world to try their hand at soccer.
The Coaches are the most important part of your child’s development. So, you need to make sure that your child’s coach is a good fit for his or her skill level and personality. Questions and criteria used to evaluate a coach should include, licensing qualifications, previous playing experience, and prior coaching experience, coaching style, and coaching focus. Is the coach more focused on wining games or long term development? What ages has he or she coached? What is the highest level that he or she played? Interview potential coaches before or after the initial tryout period, this way you will have an idea of how you feel about this particular coach before making any commitments. Also, ask your child what they thought of the coach. You may not know everything about his or her style from one try out, but you will have a general feel for that particular person. If possible try to attend a practice session for the team your child would be on. You get the opportunity to see the coach in a more realistic and natural setting. How do the current player’s parents feel about the coach? Do the other players seem to enjoy being there? A child’s enthusiasm for a sport is often pretty fragile during the early years of their involvement. The right coach can foster positive experiences and spark a passion for soccer. The wrong coach could have your child seeking another sport.
The level of competition that the club competes in is also pretty important. Is the club under US Soccer or USYSA? Does it compete at the recreational, challenge, and/or classic levels? The competition level helps you determine if your child would be a good fit. It determines the skill level of your child’s teammates, as well as the skill level of the teams they will be playing against. The level of competition may very well determine the your travel time as well. You may find that you will have to travel further and more often if your child makes a classic team versus a challenge or recreational team.
The club size and years or establishment determine the other services that the club can offer. Does the club have training camps or programs? How many teams are in your child’s age bracket? You may also find that newer clubs are less structured, and may not have 501c3 status, a board of directors, or an adequate staff. These issues will probably affect you more than your child, and may determine the type and number of tournaments that the organization wants each team to attend. It will definitely indicate where your practices will be and the quality of playing fields. Larger, more established clubs will usually have options in practice days and times because they have access to multiple practice fields. Smaller clubs may only have one practice field and be limited in practice times due to day light savings time or field availability.
The club’s organization and structure will ultimately cause you to love it or hate it. The organization will influence how well they communicate information to you. If you ask most soccer parents the one thing that they dislike the most about a soccer club you will get one of two answers, their organization or the lack of communication. Break down in communication in soccer is practically inevitable and leads to parents finding out about practices, cancellations, tournaments, new coaches, etc at the last minute. The club’s organization should specify who is responsible for letting you know what. Generally, a team manager and/or the coach should keep you updated on practices and tournaments. However, who should inform you about new coaches, board members, fundraisers, etc? Once you are involved with soccer, time is a precious commodity and finding out about things at the last minute becomes a luxury that you can no longer afford.
The fees and level of commitment required should not be taken lightly. Be prepared, soccer can be pretty expensive, especially if you have more than one child playing. Know what is expected of you as a parent before making any commitments. Are there a set number of tournaments that you are required to attend? How much are the tournaments? How much are the club fees? Are there any additional fees? Remember youth club soccer is predominately funded by the parents; so, you want to take club fees and the other expenses that are associated with soccer into consideration.
Ultimately, your child’s desire to play and level of skill will have the greatest impact on the soccer club that you choose. Yet, you are making a commitment as well and you it should be one that you are willing to live with. So, while your child is auditioning at tryouts, make sure the club is the right fit for their needs and your patience.