Have you seen this before? You know a player on your daughter’s soccer team is just not at the same skill level as most of the kids on the team. She really has not progressed at all over the last couple of years and, really, no one expects things to turn around overnight.
Worse yet? When’s a good time for the coach to make the call and cut her loose? Next year’s tryouts? Now, with four games left in the season? The girl is not going to take this well as the team has been a big part of her life and she loves her teammates and the comradery.
It is very difficult to cut players from a team. It can be very emotional for the coach, the player and the parents. Parents are protective of their children and emotions can be quick to heat up. Coaches may want to consider making arrangements for the player with another soccer club program. While this is not really a coach’s responsibility it is something that might alleviate to some degree the tensions between all involved.
One school of thought says the coach should have her attend only the tryouts; there may be a slim chance that she still might make the team. The parents need to be told exactly what she needs to improve on and what kind of showing she needs to have to make the team.
She may surprise everyone and do very well at tryouts and have a great performance. If not… the parents need to be told that she may be cut from the team (assuming she makes it). This may also put some nice pressure on the parents to be proactive and pull her from the program if they see a cut as inevitable.
An opposing view may be: she should be told before the tryouts. If it’s clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will never make the team then she should be told at that time. The coach should not waste his/her time, the player’s time or the time of the parents. This will allow the parents to find another team or club and afford them time to regroup and explore if she wants to continue with soccer at all. This may not be the most politically correct course of action…but it’s fine by me – stop stringing along the struggling soccer starlet.
Note to the coaches out there. Ultimately, it is the player’s responsibility to do what it takes to improve and make sure they have a spot on the team next year. This is not a right – she has to earn it. Next line of responsibility falls upon the parents. It is their duty to nurture, provide and guide their child. As a coach you may feel a responsibility to the player and this is admirable, however, you have worked with her, counseled her parents and seemingly been as encouraging as possible. How much can you do?
If this hits too close to home and sounds like your kid it’s never too late to get back into the game. There are many valuable resources to try. One that has been received well by many readers is Epic Soccer Training.