Helping Parents Navigate the Roadmap of Travel Soccer
Tips for navigating the complex choices of youth soccer and making great family memories. Here is Part II of this multi-part series:
Read Part I of Mike Barr answer to questions like “Will my child have better instructors within a club that pays their coaches?” Click on ON THE ROAD WITH YOUR YOUTH SOCCER PLAYER
As the technical director of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and an instructor for U.S. Soccer I feel comfortable in attempting to guide parents through the array of choices they will face with honest answers. Here are questions for parents of children from U6 through adolescence from a player, coach, dad, and now grandfather; who made many mistakes but found answers by his observations, his failures and long periods of reflecting.
- Is it a smart decision to move my child from his local or community club to a so-called premier or larger club?
This question is probably the most common parents are faced with as their child grows older and begins to focus on soccer as their main competitive sport.
Keep in mind there is usually a try-out or try-outs for selection to a larger club’s team.
Many times, various teams may be looking at the same player or players to add. Do not allow those clubs or their coaches to put pressure on you or your child to decide early and commit. Placing pressure or forcing a family to decide early may show they may not have your son’s or daughter’s best interest.
Other factors will affect your choice but examining the following questions may assist you in making your decision:
Do you believe that your child seems frustrated or even bored playing with his community club team?
How far is the travel to attend practice with the larger club? If it is an hour drive, you more than likely will be spending up to eight to ten hours in the car each week.
Will your son or daughter be playing for the top tiered team for that club? It would make no sense to be on a second or third-ranked team within a larger club. You probably have a better chance of your son or daughter being recognized by college coaches if he or she stays with the community club.
There are so many questions to consider when reviewing the options in youth soccer today:
If your son or daughter is participating in any other sport or activity will they be happy with giving up or at least curtailing the number of games or events they are currently participating?
Have you met the coach of the larger club or watched him or her in a game or training session? Does that coach offer more expertise, leadership and knowledge than what your current coach at your community club offers?
How much of an impact do your son’s or daughter’s teammates on the community club have in his or her life?
What role will your son or daughter have with the larger club? Will he or she be an impact player with the larger club as they may have been with the community club? Will the number of touches diminish if they switch to the larger club? Will they be restricted to one position or only as a role player?
Can I afford the extra cost to hav my child play with the larger club and what will be the benefit of my child switching teams be regarding college recruiting? Are you as a parent chasing a dream for your child that may never be fulfilled?
Is this my choice or my child’s choice?
Am I making this choice because other parents from my club have moved their child to a larger club and I feel a need to keep up?
Does paying extra money for my child to play guarantee a better and more worthwhile experience?
Is there a curriculum attached to the larger club and do they take into account individual development?
Are their scheduled parent and individual meetings to keep parents aware of progress and future plans for the team and my child?
Has there been a large turnover of staff over the last few years?
How many players from the previous year were cut or moved to another club?
Does the top tiered team in the larger club frown upon your son or daughter playing for the local high school team?
Do you want your player to play in large youth soccer tournaments?
What percentage of your players at the premier level (top team) go on to play in college?
How many players received a soccer scholarship form the premier club you plan to see your son or daughter play?
The key word is soccer.
Receiving scholarship money based on financial need or academics will happen whether playing with your local club or premier club. It is rare for players to receive a full athletic scholarship for soccer. College soccer is a non-revenue producing sport. Coaches look to spread their allotted scholarships out to many players.
In the end, only the parents know what is right for their child.
Read Part I of Mike Barr answer to questions like “Will my child have better instructors within a club that pays their coaches?” Click ON THE ROAD WITH YOUR YOUTH SOCCER PLAYER