Club soccer instills a sense of discipline (yes, even in 2017); kids will take it more serious because they have to and will not let others down – especially their teammates. They live up to the expectations they have of themselves and that other shave of them.
Exposure to Other Cultures
Kids can be and will be from all over the area – not just your ZIP code. Soccer is an international sport and draws kids from all backgrounds. This is a great chance to learn more about other cultures and how this one sport is bringing kids (and parents) together. Kids will soon see that the sport draws players from just about any ethnicity and background.
Kids will treat their bodies differently at the club soccer level of play. They will take more pride in their good habits and disregard their bad ones – as they’ll feel better and perform better on the field.
Not Everyone’s a Winner
Nowadays every kid is a winner and there are trophies handed out for just showing up and participating.
Your kid in a club soccer program will learn to win with pride and lose with dignity. He/she will learn WHY the team lost as the coach will usually lay out the hard facts. Different from recreational soccer where coaches praise each kid for fear of hearing from parents that night.
Summers can be a time to rest a bit and recharge batteries and soccer clubs encourage this. They also want players to do some sort of running or swimming to keep up their wind and also eat properly. Many clubs will give a list of things you should be doing over the summer. This off-season “training” will reap many benefits in the Fall. [In addition, there are many summer soccer camps available.]
Here’s a great article(s) and series of videos on soccer conditioning in the off-season.
More at Soccer Summer Camps!
Club soccer kids and their families travel more than the average town/recreational team. You will spend time in the car that was never available to you before. You will learn more about your kid than you would sitting in front of a TV or dropping her off once a week to her town practice. Besides, in the car you cannot get direct eye contact with your kid so they may be more receptive to opening up a bit. Pays off in spades.
Follow Their Passion
Does he love soccer and can’t get enough of it? Club soccer is here to the rescue. Club soccer kids genuinely love, for the most part, the game and team they’re on. They will never forget the tournaments and playoffs along with the heart-breaking PK losses – all part of the passion of soccer.
Whether on the soccer field or in a cubicle hunched over a computer you’re darling will always face someone better than him.
How will he handle it?
The competition in club soccer cannot be matched by the small number of local teams your town team may face. The competition is clearly better and more diverse. Club soccer will give him the confidence along with the skill development to play-up to the tougher competition. It will bring out the best in your child.
Develop Problem Solving Skills
Club soccer players learn to solve problems as they work together for a common purpose. They feed off each other as they communicate during practices and games and must quickly adapt to the situation at hand. Quicker and more informed decisions.
Picture yourself on a counterattack, dribbling hard up the middle, in the final third of the field. There are 2 defenders to beat, and another making a recovery run right on your heels. The wings and striker are ahead of the ball but not open.
Scenario 1 – Not seeing any clear options, you dribble too long and lose the ball to the trailing defender.
Scenario 2 – Hearing footsteps from behind, you panic and try to force a pass out to the wings, which the defender intercepts.
Playing soccer develops problem-solving skills. Players constantly face opposition and challenging situations that require quick, difficult decisions. Every player has to contribute, as solutions require collective, individual efforts within team play.
Three steps to effective problem solving:
- Look up and assess the situation
- Identify the obstacle(s)to overcome
- Communicate, maneuver and work together to help solve the problem.
Scenario 3 – Teammates behind the play yell, “Man on trailing left”. Striker moves away from ball to create space. You stay composed on the dribble, body off the trailing defender, and protect the ball with the far foot. You make the defenders commit to stopping ball and deliver a pass to a wide-open winger sprinting to goal.
Develop better problem-solving skills by building on successes and learning from failures. Build your soccer intellect!”
Soccer players at the club level are focused intently for the duration of the game – or the half anyway. They have one common goal and must get to it quickly and efficiently – this is not a baseball game that goes on and on. They are now leveraging what they’ve learned at practice and scrimmages. Other than half-time there are no time outs. These kids are focused on the game – not the next water break.
Camps at Colleges
Many kids in club soccer programs take advantage of camps at colleges; these are a lot of fun and experiences kids will always remember. Besides, for the high school age players it is a great opportunity to visit a college, sleep in a dorm and get to experience just a little about college living.
The ups and downs of club soccer will leave lasting memories for kids. And with whom they’ve shared these will most likely be friends a very long time. Kids make friend more easily than adults and you’ll find that relationships with other soccer kids are a bit more special as that’s what they have in common – soccer – without the distractions of town drama. Soccer as a lifetime sport spells this out rather clearly.
Keeps the Ball Rolling
By playing club soccer almost year round you are keeping the momentum going; as opposed to playing for a couple of months in town. You don’t want to lose this skill set you want to keep developing it so either use it or you will lose and make it very difficult to get back when you really want it.
Club soccer kids will be expected to and will eat healthy. May clubs ask kids to fill out forms on their eating habits and are asked to make “adjustments”. Could be more protein, less sugar and more water. They will feel better and certainly play better. A soccer player’s guide to nutrition is a great place to start.
Division 1? Could be… but very few make it to that level. And even fewer will get scholarships. And that’s OK, really. But club soccer through its tournaments and increased level of play will expose your soccer player to more colleges and more chances to play in college. It will certainly open doors as you look at colleges – or they look at you.
Your kid may decide to hang up her cleats after high school and that should be fine for all – but playing a number of years in a club soccer program will look fantastic on all her applications and speak volumes about her.
More Availability of Clubs and Teams
Play recreational soccer for your town and that’s your team. Club soccer you can shop around and be selective and find the club that is right for your player and for the family. You are not limited to one organization or team. Lots of choices in club soccer. Some states have hundreds of premier clubs to choose from.
Club For Every Player
With so many soccer clubs you can find what suits your player best. You can find very large soccer clubs with dozens of teams of focus on a club with just a couple of teams with more of a family atmosphere where your kid will feel more comfortable. The more you know of club soccer you’ll find multiple options no matter where you live. [Just because a club is large and dozens of teams does not in itself make it the best fit for the player in your family. Do your research and ask the right questions before you join a soccer club.]
More Chances to Travel
Hands down. Travel and recreation teams (and high school) stay within a few towns and may travel a bit for a state or regional soccer championship.
Club soccer teams can travel into another state just for a weekly game then into another the next weekend. May intimidate some yet entice others. Great chance to get out of your own town and see others and also play more competitive teams.
Better Eating Habits
They’ll be forced to eat better… a kid eats like crap and runs out of energy half way through the game. His stomach feels like crap and he’s borderline dehydrated. He’s benched the second half of the game. For sure he’ll treat his body differently next time and it will be become a daily routine. Good soccer players don’t eat badly.
Reduces Anxiety Helping Relaxation
Running around kicking and passing a soccer a ball with your friends – and thinking about nothing else. Imagine as an adult freeing yourself from all anxiety for 90 minutes? Sounds nice, huh? Club soccer players experience this Zen setting.
Increased Eye-To-Foot Coordination
If you’re passing, dribbling and shooting soccer ball hours a week you will get better. Period. You will feel as though the ball is an extension of your foot and feel just as comfortable under pressure during a game. Less is Not More.
Lower Coach Turnover
Club coaches are paid by the club and usually stay with a club and advance as they build their resume, It’s not unusual to see coaches on some of the older more established soccer clubs be their clubs for many years; perhaps not with the same team as many coaches stay with a certain age group. Town coaches (usually a dad or mom) may change many times just within a season.
Many soccer clubs actually own their own facilities; inside complexes for winter and Futsal and outside lighted turf fields. You’re paying for it with a club as opposed to a town budget that many allocated funds last to the recreational facilities of the town. The larger soccer complexes with have areas for the parents such as exercise rooms and snack bars.
Focus On Health
The whole body is taken into consideration in club soccer and the kids are reminded constantly to fuel their bodies both on and off the soccer field. Playing soccer at just about any level requires tremendous strength and stamina and properly fueling the body is emphasized.
Special sessions are held for concussion awareness in club soccer (and ton as well). There’s a tremendous focus on soccer concussions as kids head the ball more and are more aware of the symptoms. Girls especially are more apt to get a soccer concussion most because their more apt to report it and their neck muscles are a bit different from boys. Nonetheless, heading is highly encouraged in club soccer so with it some more soccer concussions.
Soccer tournaments are a great chance to play more completive team; even if they are not as competitive it certainly gives the kids the opportunity to play kids from other clubs and geographic areas. Tournament can be very completive as there is a lot of pride taken in some of the bigger ones and they are usually run very professionally.
Better Chance of Playing
With so many teams on most clubs your kid will be placed where he/she belongs as far as skill level as opposed to one of the 3 travel teams in town, for example. Once at that team he certainly has a better chance of playing a good deal of the game as there will be no superstars on the team (they’ll be a level up) and no duds (a level down).
Club coaches do this for a living and they live and breathe soccer; even the ones who do not make a great deal normally take on other functions in the world of soccer and some offer private training. You kid’s coach will give her the feedback she needs – she may not want to hear it (!) but she’ll get it anyone.
Coach Feedback is extremely important as all players and teams need to understand their strengths and weaknesses are as it is not likely that they are aware of what these areas are or how to improve them.
It takes a qualified coach to identify these areas of weaknesses and strengths in each player or team and the desgin a training session(s) that are developed to focus on and improve these specific areas of a player or team’s game.”
You’ll find a wealth of experience in club coaches and most hold a variety of licenses with the standard U.S. Soccer Federation designation (e.g. National “A”, National “B:, etc.) Many club soccer coaches are also from other countries (irks some) and also bring some great experience as well as the international flavor.
Soccer experts admit that the US is behind in soccer development versus other countries though we are making strides. Having coaches with varying international resumes will be extremely helpful.
Most soccer clubs offer specialized goalkeeping clinics and training sessions. This is more than lobbing a ball at a goalie before the game. There is an art and a science to being a great soccer goalie and you’ll learn both in club soccer.
Looking for that edge that will put you over the top and beat out all your competitors (ok, perhaps a stretch) ? Private soccer training can be very beneficial. Think of this as staying after school for extra help in geometry – having explain and show you how to do something one-on-one can make all the difference in the world. Club soccer programs will help you identify the coaches who may be able to help.
Can Still Play High School Soccer
The answer is yes, you can do club soccer and high school soccer. You’ll find varying opinions on this as you will most soccer topics. Many kids will play club soccer in the Fall and then high school in the Spring (usually Fall for girls and Spring for boys). Depends on the location, club and high school, of course. Passionate players will find a way to play year round.
Stay in Shape Year Round
With so many programs through the year such as summer clinics, tournaments, winter training, Futsal, etc. the emphasis is staying fit through the year. A soccer player cannot take the summer off altogether (i.e. no running, drills, etc.) and expect to be in shape Labor Day.
Not familiar with Futsal? This is a great way to supplement and complement your soccer skills. Smaller teams (5 v 5), on a small “field” the size of a basketball court using a size 3-4 ball. Played with This is the only indoor game that is approved by FIFA. Futsal is a non-contact and fast paced game officiated by Futsal refs and the laws of Futsal are similar to soccer. Many clubs offer (most mandating) this as a winter program.
Get Outside More
Club soccer knows no boundaries. Game are played, for the most part, year round from the blazing Southwest sun in July to New England tournaments in March after record setting snow levels. (Turf fields can cost $15,000 to be plowed!) Kids will be outside throughout most of their soccer experience. Beats being stuck in a gym watching an indoor sport!
You do not need to go it alone. Cozy up to other soccer parents and make light of the transportation to practice. Many facilities can be dozens of miles away forcing you to be creative. This may save you in a bind also if something else pops in the family that need tending to.
Camaraderie With parents
Just as club soccer is a great way for kids to meet others not from their town the same applies to parents. All have a shared interest in competitive soccer. Lighten up and introduce yourself – you may need that soccer dad to drive your kid to practice next week.
If you play virtually year round you’ll l get your share of practices versus the twice a week with your town team. More touches on the ball translates into advancing your soccer skills. Period.
Team Building events
A team is as strong off the field as they are on. There is a focus in having the kids work and socialize together off the field in order for them to communicate and work as a team on the field. Much of this depends on a strong team manager as well as other parents though much direction will be from the head coach.
Trainers at Tournaments
Club soccer tournaments have medical/athletic trainers to help out in case they are needed. You’ll see them speed by in their golf carts tending to a potential concussion, ACL / meniscus tear or sprained ankle.
Increased Level Of Commitment
Club soccer players have an increased level of commitment to not only the game but overall; there is really no quitting in soccer and they know they need to stick it out until at least the end of the season when they can discuss with their parents. Most take this very seriously.
Team Fundraising For Charity
You’ll find many soccer clubs and teams “getting out there” by volunteering in the community. These kids are not building houses but you will see players help each other out at events such as charity walks and runs.
Family Travel Together
Because of the increase in travel opportunities in club soccer many families plan trips around championship games and tournaments. These can be planned well in advance and air travel tickets can be strategically purchased to get the lowest rates.
Soccer clubs normally provide a player evaluation where the coach provides the feedback in writing and review it with the player and the parents. Specifics are presented as far as what the player needs to improve upon and outline the strengths that he possesses as well. Some parents dread these but as long as the player is receiving regular and consistent feedback there really should not be any surprise.
The team manager for a club soccer team vs. a recreational team? That’s enough of that. The person who volunteers to the team manager for a club team will be organized to a fault. Expect him/her to keep you in the loop from game day uniforms to schedule changes on the fly. Treat this person nicely.
Club Websites and Information
Club soccer websites don’t get bogged down with town information yet focus on one thing – soccer. Many have invaluable resources on player development, drill videos, concussion prevention, and nutrition.
Focus On Player Development
Sure many soccer clubs have just one mission and that’s to win at all cost. Most clubs, however, have a genuine desire to develop the kids and see them progress. This is why they offer so many resources such as clinics and camps. These folks love soccer and have it in their blood and thrive as others get as excited as they do.
Not a reason to play club soccer, more of a benefit, is that the child and the parents will make many more connections than they would if they stuck with recreational soccer alone. Think about the coaches, trainers and parents/relatives that you will meet. These people are people with lives outside of soccer (well, sometimes).
Not just your average town tryout where players are moved around the field by a soccer mom who has an interest in coaching next year as her daughter wants to play. Club tryouts are a bit more objective and they try their best to put the right kid in the best team for him / her.
Club soccer just by the nature of it will allow your player to play in more games than town/ recreational soccer. The more the better.
For most game there will be a referees and two line judges; there will be clunkers for sure but these folks love the game as well and do the best job they can. It’s comforting to see three referees at the field as they can confer with each other as needed.
Many towns do not have line judges for soccer games – can be pricey. Though this is pretty much the norm for club soccer. They know the rules very well, of course, as are refs who officiate games themselves. If you hang around for a game or two you will see them switch off with each other – very interchangeable.
Surrounded By People Who Love Soccer
Many times you’ll find from other soccer parents that their player enjoys other sport/activities as well though soccer is by far their favorite. It’s easier to be around people, your player and yourself, who share a common interest.
Soccer clubs are very competitive environment and clubs take a great deal of pride in the brand they’ve established as well as bragging rights for all sort s of thing. Clubs display their emblems and crests with pride and are very territorial (though the soccer parents tends to be more so than the kids). Kids like to belong and a soccer club is a great place.
[Potential] Playoffs and Championships at National Level
There are not too many chances that playing for a town soccer team you’ll be heading towards regional playoffs and a national championship. Club soccer will expand the horizon exponentially.
Many soccer clubs are sponsored by large companies – usually athletic wear companies; along with comes significant discounts on items from great cleats, balls, and apparel.
Club soccer programs lay out the expectations they have of the players and what players can expect in return. Of course, these expectations vary widely from club to club.
The club will tell you that there will be four practices a week and which days they will be on, when and where. Very seldom will these change. Even if the coach cannot make it there will usually be someone to back him/her up. Same goes for soccer tournaments as they are planned out well in advance so you can plan accordingly.
There are many surprise with recreational soccer as the soccer coach may have many other responsibilities and need to cancel practice at the last minute. Very frustrating. Club soccer will outline the expectations they have of the player and will call them out when they are not met. Hence the increased responsibility of the player.
Kids want to look good and feel good and club soccer uniforms are really spared no expense in delivering the goods. Many recreational soccer organizations’ uniforms look grungy and worn. Club uniforms are refreshed and turned over more often. You can tell right away who’s playing for a club.
Discounts on Apparel
Because so many soccer clubs are sponsored by a sporting good company (and not always a national brand depending on where the club is located) deals are to be had. Some clubs are sponsored, very carefully, by more than once sponsor allowing you to leverage off one another. You matter how you slice it going through the club for apparel is cheaper due to the discounts and volume.
Focus on Nutrition
Kids on soccer clubs will learn to eat and drink properly as they will be able to read their bodies when they are sluggish. Soccer clubs focus of proper nutrition and hydration; they know that, not only is it healthy for the kids, but they have a better chance of having a winning team.
Many clubs have a sister club in another part of the world which is a great way for the kids to see how international soccer is and that a professional team has its back. Club clearly state this on their website and this is also a great way to learn more about the pro team and perhaps follow them in their endeavors.
Keep Your Teen Out of Trouble
The soccer player in your family is booked solid all week with school and soccer and tied up on the weekend with a tournament? Good. Keep him / her busy and less likely they’ll get into trouble.
The kids (and coaches) on a club soccer team have a vested interest and share common goals – having each kid development in their soccer skills and advance as a team. As older soccer players communicate this to each other during a game you really get the sense of this unity – they may appear terse with each other but with seconds to act they do this quite effectively.
Sense Of Unity
Soccer players, and most on any good team, treat each other with respect and really come together in unity when they really need to – during tough practices and games. The common bond of soccer and the competitiveness pulls them together.
Opportunities may open within your child’s soccer club for a job. Many soccer clubs employ within the ranks and kids can do anything from help out coaches to work a snack bar. Soccer clubs are business with many people helping run them – you’d be surprised of the opportunities.
Better Qualified To Be a Soccer Referee
Having seen all those games throughout the year your child be a natural to work as a referee. After a very short course, usually over a weekend, they’ll be ready to go and the money is fantastic. What better way to allow them to “stay in the game’, make money and deal with coaches and kids?
Many town games are played over the weekend in the morning or afternoon. There’s a whole special dynamic to playing under the lights on a Friday night.
Player who show up for club tryouts want to be there (hopefully not coerced by their parents) and usually have a strong desire and passion for soccer. These kids feel they are not getting enough simply by playing in their town/ recreational league and want to play as much as possible. Kids will be placed with each other based on skill level.
Better Ball Handing
Having all that contact with the soccer ball throughout the year makes a club soccer player great at handling the ball. The more they touch the ball they more comfortable they feel. If you only have a three month season with 12 games and 20 practices you will never get any better.
Make a Better Football Punter
Many pro football (i.e. American football) players have backgrounds as soccer player. That natural feel they have developed with the ball makes them very comfortable is executed a kick or punt.
The lung function of some of the pro soccer players is just amazing; how can they pay 90 minutes and more? Soccer players have tremendous pulmonary function to surpass just about any sport. Kids adapt well to this environment and translate it into other sports such as swimming and cross country racing. They have the endurance and they want to use it to compete.
Move Up To Advanced Levels
Having more than one team (hopefully!) a soccer club can move kids up a level as they deserve it and have demonstrated a consistent improvement in their soccer skills. Town soccer? Well, you’re all set until next year whether you should be moved up a notch or down two.
International Travel Opportunities
Because many soccer clubs have relationships with soccer clubs (football club?) overseas there may be an opportunity to travel abroad. If such relationship exist they club normally plan at least a trip a year with much of the costs defrayed by fundraising. This is a great excuse to travel while seeing how others play soccer.
Club soccer is overall well diversified in its model. Different clubs have varying models, however there are clubs that make it a part of their philosophy to connect with other clubs, International clubs. For example, a stateside club partners with an International club to host “ID Camps”. This is where the International Club will send club representatives to come to the states and conduct a training camp. Each player gets an ID and, depending on the level of skill, a possible opportunity to be selected to train or play with the International club.
Another advantage of club soccer is it is encouraged to take a team and compete in an International tournament. As premier organizations, exposure to different cultures, style of play, and most of all the experience is important to give a youth player at this level to see the possibilities for him or herself. Hope is a powerful force and with hope comes motivation to be the best you can be.”
Mandatory Attendance and Punctuality
Kids learn quickly about showing up on time for practices and games with club soccer; this is serious business and very competitive. They may get some ribbing by the coach (or worse, their peers) or may be benched the next game.
Director of Coaching
Soccer clubs usually have a go-to person designated as the Director of Coaching who coordinates… yes, coaching. Towns normally have the athletic director for the high school or someone if the recreational department who has a little of experience in many things (or no experience in anything).
Life After Soccer
The bonds kids form playing club soccer will last years; when you practice and play that much together you have each other’s backs and tend to develop some great friendships off the soccer field. When you make the club you make the friends.
High Level Of Energy
Certainly a faster pace than other soccer programs club games, because they tend to be very competitive, have a higher level of energy and urgency. It’s fun to watch how these kids can turn it on and off so quickly.
No matter the position and what you’ve learned being creative in the split second to get around an opposing player and advance the ball can be exhilarating. You may have learned a particular play to do just that but the plan may have to be altered and now you need to be creative on the spot.
Sense of Inclusion
A passion for playing soccer and surrounded by your peers who share the same. They all come together and gel as a team (one hopes).
Many soccer clubs have a talk at least once a season about proper soccer nutrition and may make these mandatory; clubs want to kids to take care of their whole body – and not just the parts that are used to play soccer. Larger clubs will have a guest speaker from a local college speak to the kids.
[Believe It or Not] Quieter Parents
The more games parents watch they normally get a bit more reserved.
Drop by a town game of really young kids and you’ll pop an ear drum as parents are enthusiastically cheering on the team (well, their kid). Older soccer players’ parents have seen just about everything and are a bit quieter – until there’s a controversial call on the field anyway.
Ability to Try out For Several Clubs
If you can manage it there’s no reason why you can’t fit in tryouts with several soccer clubs. Tip: keep it to yourself and don’t let on to other parents that you may doing so as it may spread like wildfire especially if you considering leaving your present club. Town soccer affords you one program – theirs.
Multiple Facilities Within a Club
Larger soccer clubs have multiple facilities. If a prospective club seems far away to you they may actually have a field/complex close to you; ask as you may be surprised. These facilities are well maintained and may be lighted for night games.
Quicker in Soccer
Club soccer players are quicker by nature. You can usually spot the club players if you are watching them in a town/high school game. Better high school teams are usually stacked with club players. Ever wonder why?
Finish Homework On Time
You’ll find club soccer players need to be better organized as there time is managed during the week by school, soccer and other activities. They’ll get into the routine of getting the homework done before practice (could be in the car on the way). Few kids want to drag themselves off a practice field and do their homework late at night.
Bullying of soccer teams is the real deal. Bullying in soccer happens more often that you think. With club soccer this will be addressed as soon as it is brought to the attention of officials – if is it not then you need to bark louder about it. They have a brand in their club and don’t want it tarnished.
Looks Great On A College Application
The fact that a kid can stay with a soccer club programs says a great deal about him/her. It demonstrates hard work, discipline, and perseverance.
You’ve surely seen town games/practices where kids jump out of their parent’s care and scrambles over to the field to start. Club soccer players stretch, warm-up, and do drills before they get into it – all part of the overall fitness of a soccer player who wants to perform better.
Also, at the beginning of the season there will be more aches and pains – especially shin splints. Learn how to treat soccer shin splints.
You’ll notice after some time the maturity level of your club soccer player. Many times they need to direct each other on the field and develop con and learn to lead (and follow). Many a leader has been created on a soccer field.
90 Minutes of [Hopefully] Intense Soccer
Critics of soccer, or those who simply do not understand it, will ask “how can you spend 90 minutes watching a sport and a chance that the score will be 0-0?” Every minute is fought like it’s the last minute of the game – with each player thinking that the next goal will be the one to win the game. It’s the ultimate in sports!