Sometimes the team your on is not a good fit. This happened to us. We were on a team which did not have enough players, so we ended up with a bunch of players that were playing up. We ended up being scheduled for too high of a bracket for a tournament and we got killed. We wanted to be on a team that was winning, not getting killed all the time. It was a mistake to try and move mid season. Next thing you know, there is a little tension with the coach. I do not recommend ever leaving mid season unless you really have to. Here are 7 tips to help you find your next soccer club.
- Follow Teams on Social Media
You decided your not coming back. Season is almost over. Start following other clubs on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are excellent places to start seeing what clubs are doing and how much engagement they have going on. A good club wants to grow, attract quality coaching, and quality players. A club that is active on social media is a club that is doing things. Look at what they are doing for fun. Are they hosting extra events like a fun run, a holiday party, extra camps. Club soccer is a year round event, and there needs to be things that are keeping your family active. Start doing this 6 months out. Follow early and you will start learning when the tryouts are and extra camps during holiday breaks.
- Go to Camps
Its the holiday break, you know you not coming back next year. Since your following Club X on social media and you find out there is a Spring Camp. This is a good time to go and see how the club is organized. How there coaches coach. Even get a chance to exchange a few words with the coaches and get a good first impression. Additionally you can see how many members of the club are actually at the camps. It could be a good thing, if the players on the teams are showing up for their own camps. The camps good be geared for Recreation players looking to go to club and it was not a training program geared for existing team members. Still not a bad idea to get some extra training.
- Watch Some Games
Tournaments are an excellent opportunity to see how a potential club team is doing. You can see the coaching style of a potential new coach. Is the bench filled with players that are hardly playing. Does it look like some players from the "A" squad have come down to help win. You will know it when you see it, Kids rotating at the same position for only a few mins. The coach will scream a lot. Is the coaching about winning, not developing and encouraging. This type of system my be good for some, not great for others. Watch how the players respond and listen to the coach. Ask your child if this coach is someone you can work with.
- Read Some Bios
This is tricky because in my experience. The bio says one thing, but the actions of the club and coaches looks different. Personally I feel that a coach may not have the best record, but what is the coach doing to get themselves better. One way to tell is a record of training over time. Getting a USA soccer "E" Licence, then the next year getting their "D" license. Continuing to make themselves better. When I coached I was always watching videos and reading message boards, constantly trying to improve my skill set. Is the coach going to college. Does the coach have a degree in education, sports training, etc. Did the coach play or is continuing to play. I don t weight much on being a player, playing and coaching are two different things. I did better coaching soccer because of the extra training I had received.
- Talk to Parents
Find out where your child's friends might be playing. Then talk to their parents and get some feedback. They might be playing for Club "X", and the parent says their child loves the coach is always leaning new moves and systems. Or you they may say its okay. We are on our second coach, we lost a bunch of players. Its getting better, we will probably come back next year. They may say the opposite and they are only staying because there is no refunds. Coach is late for practice all the time, never does anything different.
- Compare Prices
You will need to add everything up. Typically in soccer and other sports there is a registration fee for the player. There are uniform fees and you need to make sure you find out how long the uniform is going to be used. Are they getting new uniforms again next year? How many tournaments does your fees include? Some club teams like to compete in 4 tournaments, and others want to compete in 8. In some cases you will get the 1st 4 included but will need to come up with money to pay for the others. Ask about referee fees. Is that included or we required to come up with extra money on game day for referees. Ask about additional training fees. Sometimes a team might have speed training or Coerver Training included, or that might be an optional additional expense.
- Team History
Find out if this is a new coach or the coach from last season. Look into their recorder and find out if their games are close in score. If they are close in score that should be an indication they are playing correct competition. Does their record indicate they have been getting better as the season has gone on. Are most of the kids coming back? How big is the team? If its 9v9 and there are 5 extra kids on the bench. Some kids are missing out on playing time. Its a good learning experience to ride the bench, however you do need game reps to get better. Playing 5 mins a game is not going to get you there. We are talking about competitive sports here, and in most cases you are not guaranteed playing time. Life is much easier when there is only 2 extra players on the bench.