Selecting the right environment for your child is paramount to ensure that they enjoy playing soccer and develop; not only as fit and healthy soccer players, but even more importantly that they develop as good people, socially aware, able to deal with success and failure, embrace a team spirit and learn about responsibilities. Playing soccer can help develop all of these qualities as long as the environment that they are playing in endorses and promotes these qualities.Registration fees and what is included with those fees,
A good club will generally have set policies or guidelines for the teams, coaches, players, managers and parents to observe. Such things as playing time, how teams are selected, coach and parental behavior, etc are all part of the policies that a club should have.
Learn about what you can expect to pay for your child to play soccer as fees vary from club to club. You should be able to find information about
Any additional out of pocket costs you can expect to pay, like uniforms, additional training, necessary soccer equipment, etc.
Registration fees also vary depending if you are planning to participate in recreational or competitive. See How to Choose the Right Competitive Club for more information
Become an educated parent!
Most clubs will have a Frequently Asked Question section (FAQ). This section should be able to answer most of your questions. If the club website does not have the information you are looking for, contact the club. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Like most organizations, soccer clubs have a Board of Directors. Look for their contact information on the website. Look to see who has what responsibilities within the club and contact that person. While each of them has knowledge of the club’s programs, they may not be best suited to answer your questions. You would not want to contact the referee assignor for information on recreational programs nor would you want to contact the Vice-President on how to become a referee. (Please do remember when calling, these individuals are normally volunteers. Leave a message or call later in the evening when most of these individuals are home from work).
The club you choose should be able to satisfy your child's immediate needs and also provide a pathway for your child to develop to a higher standard.
After you have done your research, your decision should be based on
Will my child be able to develop to a higher standard?
Is the environment safe for my child?
Is the culture of the club something that I will enjoy too?
The overriding decision should be based on
Will my child have fun?
If your child enjoys themselves, then you probably will too.
There is nothing quite like seeing the smiling faces of happy soccer players!
How to Choose the Right Competitive Soccer Club
When looking for the right Soccer Club for your player’s competitive soccer needs, you need to consider several things. First and most important is investment, this includes money and time. Joining a Competitive Soccer Club is an investment in your child's future. It is education, training and a lifestyle.
You must consider the cost of registration fees, coaching fees, and associated travel expenses. Time commitment involves several weekday practices/training and weekend and sometimes weeknight games. Family time is spent mostly on the soccer fields and in the car (or sometimes airplane) travelling to. Hotel and other travel expenses have to be considered as well.
Each club is different and so are the fees you can expect to pay, so be sure to ask for all information before you commit. Be very pro-active before hand, be an educated parent. Learn as much as you can before you commit to a a team.
Some clubs have volunteers overseeing the operations while other clubs/leagues have offices and an administrative staff. Some clubs have volunteer coaches; some have both, while others only use paid coaches. Remember, club expenses must be covered to operate and these costs are shared by the player’s.
Player participation registration fees can range from $150 to $3000 depending on what is included.
Monthly coaching fees can vary from $25 to $150 per month. Ask if it is included in the player participation fee.
Administrative costs sometimes are not included in the player’s participation fee. Some clubs will ask you to pay these fees separately and often after you have committed to the team so ask in advance.
Uniforms are not normally part of the fees. Ask what you will be expected to pay and be prepared to pay for these immediately.
Costs for tournament travel and accommodations for player and family. Ask what tournaments the club is expecting the team to participate in. Travel expenses associated with tournaments are the responsibility of the family.
Depending on the league and tournament participation, you may pay additional fees per player for tournament costs such as for the coaches’ travel and accommodation expenses.
Player participation on another team. Sometimes a player is asked to help out on another team and then receive a participation fee. Know the fees in advance before you agree to help another team. Player’s are always expected to cover their travel expenses.
Like anything in life, you should know all the facts before you proceed. You should expect a return on your investment Reputable soccer clubs will not only train your child to be the best but they will also help your child get the exposure they need if they are planning to play in college. They learn how to function in a team environment as well as learning how to be individual contributors. Each team member learns leadership and support skills.
After considering investments, you want to begin comparing the reputation and accomplishments of the soccer club and its coaches. Most club websites will display the accomplishments of the club, and its teams. They may even display coach's resume.
Follow up on the claims of which organization they belong to and for which organization the teams participate in. Check out the team standings on that organizations website. Each club usually has a link to their state website. For Hamburg Community Soccer Club, we belong to the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association (MSYSA) which provides uniform rules and guidelines for all soccer clubs affiliated with them. Some soccer clubs do not have rules or guidelines to adhere to.
Our competitive teams participate in the Western Suburban Soccer League (WSSL) or in the Michigan State Premier Soccer Program (MSPSP)
If you cannot find out any information about the teams on the organizations that the club claims they belong to, ask questions. Be leery of answers such as “Well we plan to be” or “That is where we have applied to”. It should be in place before try-outs and you commit to the team.
The more you know about a soccer club the better you will feel about your investments. If you know current members of the club, they would be a good source to consider for inside information about the clubs.
There are many soccer web sites that you can join to get additional news and helpful information about soccer clubs, tournaments and standings.
Finally competitive soccer clubs demands commitment from both you and your child. Your son/daughter must be on time, attend all practices, and be ready to play through all types of weather and conditions. Most reputable clubs will ask both you and your child to sign a commitment letter. This commitment requires a lifestyle change. At time, you may feel as if your life is not your own and that you live and breathe soccer. Your favorite chair is no longer in your living room; it is the camping chair in the trunk of your car. Parents become taxi drivers, nutrition specialist, part time player's agent, medical trainers and travel agents. Map quest is your friend.
Commitment is highly regarded and expected on and off the field. So do ask yourself am I willing and is my child ready for this type of commitment? Kids who participate in team sports have a better chance of staying out of trouble and if they are truly dedicated to being a player they may even get a full ride in the end. They gain confidence and learn how to make good choices that will benefit them for years to come.
Soccer is an exciting sport. If you don't know the game then read a book on the rules. Watch professional teams and referees to gain some understanding of the game and how it should be played. Know who will be coaching your child, how much time and money you will need to invest and your commitment level. In these economic times we all need to make wise decisions. Selecting a club that is right for you and your child can be very rewarding. The proper fit will give both you and your child an experience that you will not likely forget.
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