We all hear it; we may even ask it… “Does your child play competitive soccer?” I have yet to hear the question that really matters: “Does your child participate in a developmental soccer program?” There is a lack of parental education in sports today. Parents should be asking better questions to ensure their child is at the right place at the right time.
While shopping for your club, here are 10 questions that you may want to think about asking before you invest you and your child’s time and resources:
1) Does your club focus on development? If so, how is this shown or where is the value displayed?
2) When I sign my child up
a. What team will they play for?
b. Where will they practice?
c. How often will they practice?
3) If my child is sitting on the bench for games, are there teams that they can play down to get game experience?
4) If my child is dominating the game and the level of play isn’t right, what means do they have to make a higher-level team so that they are challenged?
5) I live in ________, will the club’s seasons allow my player(s) to play for their high school?
6) Will my player practice with other kids at their level? How frequently?
7) What is the coaching education program for the club?
8) Is there an evaluation of the coaching staff during the season to ensure the right level of coach is coaching the right level of kids?
9) Do coaches participate and provide feedback to the players about the player’s goals, where they are in their development in achieving those goals, and what they need to do to achieve those goals?
10) What tournaments will my player(s) participate in this year? Will they be ready to compete at that level by the time of the tournament?
Please note, we did not ask about the level of play for the club but focused on the players and the team. That is because Union 10 FC feels each team will have their own level of play, their own goals, and their own path to success. Not all clubs are focused on development or provide pathways. Some focus on recruiting, others make promises to players and families they cannot keep. Please, parents, if you are looking at a club, do not go by the window dressing, go in, shop around, talk to others (high and lower-level players), and ask for proof of the hard questions.