In the past month, I have fielded several questions from parents in the community in the wake of their son/daughter completing another try-out with the area "travel" soccer team. All of these questions stems from a bitter result at that try-out. Here are some examples:
- The parent does not understand why the club would decide to move said parent's son/daughter to the lower level team as opposed to putting them on the highest level.
- The parent does not understand why the club would suddenly offer a "premier" team to parents (with a $300 up-charge) after try-outs are over and then expect a decision on playing at this level just two days before full payment is due.
- The parent does not understand why I would go out and create a team of my own when so many "travel" programs exist in the area.
- The parent does not understand...
Despite all of these questions and obvious frustrations, these same follow up this obvious frustration by begrudgingly writing a check in the amount of ~$1,500 - $2,000 to this club to cover the cost of the Fall and spring soccer seasons and some Winter activities. In most cases, uniforms cost extra.
Oh, and they also get a car magnet to proudly show off that your son or daughter plays for that soccer team.
Parents, if this process affects you that much, then why do you even bother putting your child through this stress? Think about it. Your payment feeds into a multimillion dollar industry, most of which is being collected at this moment\l. There are literally hundreds of soccer teams out there with professional coaches ready to take your money (by professional, I mean coaches that get paid to coach). You have options, LOTS of options. The local club with whom you have issues is not the only choice. $1,500-$2,000 is a lot of money to pay to a club whose initial decision making process disappointed you. Would you continue to go to the same restaurant over and over again because you have heard of the name yet you never cared for the food.
If you truly want to find the club that is right for your son or daughter, you must first come to grips as to what matters more. Are you motivated by your child being on the highest level team? Are you more interested in social acceptance by ensuring that your child is on that local club roster in any capacity? Do your research before deciding on a team. Google "youth soccer". Talk to the coaches. Find out what their gold standard looks like. What is their vision for teaching "travel" soccer? Are they a coach or an educator? By doing this, I can assure you that you will quickly uncover the difference between a high level club and one that is barely a notch above park district soccer.
Maybe that car magnet means a lot more to you than you lead yourself to believe.