In varying countries soccer is a relatively new sport, and often parents have no skills of the inside reach soccer scene or how to choose the superior soccer club for their child. Selecting the superior environment for your child is paramount to ensure that they enjoy playing soccer and develop, not only as fit and wholesome soccer players, but even more importantly that they develop as good people, socially aware, supplied to deal with success and failure, embrace a team spirit and learn about responsibilities. Playing soccer can aid develop all of these qualities as long as the environment that they are playing in endorses and promotes these qualities.
Your Initial Short List
It should be relatively easy to find varying soccer clubs in your inside reach area. Clubs normally belong to "An Association", and often there are varying associations that operate in a city or area. For instance, in Melbourne, where I stay, in a city of 4mil people there are at least 3 associations, The Football Federation of Victoria, The Churches League, and the Bayside League. A simple Google search for "soccer clubs Melbourne" should bring up an inventory of locally based soccer clubs, and from that list you should be supplied to narrow all the means down to 5 or 6 that are inside reach, say inside 5km from where you stay. By looking at the clubs website, you will probably be supplied to gauge how suitable the club is for further investigation.
A club visit
Before you take your child to a club, it is worthwhile to get in touch with the officials of the club to ask varying questions and further satisfy yourself that your child could be in a secure and nurturing learning environment. Having said that, most clubs are run by volunteers, unpaid mums and dads, just like you, so you may need to modify your expectations. Most of the admin work is done "out of hours" and also on a non paid volunteer basis, as is an awful lot of the teaching. So although you may have a budding "Wayne Rooney" on your hands, don't expect that the red carpet is laid out for you. Most clubs welcome new members and will treat you thoroughly, but there is an expectation that parents could be supplied to assist too. Just remember that although you are paying costs, the fantastic majority of grass roots clubs run on a shoe string budget and in general rely on well meaning parents to keep the ship afloat. I am heavily involved in the club that I played for, which is the identical club that my two boys now play at. I have been involved in all aspects of the club, teaching, coping with, fund raising and website building, you name it, I will have done it, and all for nothing – well nothing but the sheer pleasure of contributing and helping my club have a astounding environment for the children to play in.
Club Culture and Policies
A good club will in general have set policies for the teams, coaches, players, managers and parents to follow. Such things as playing time, team selection, volunteering duties, parental behaviour, coach selection and guidelines for team leadership are all part of the policies that a club should have. If the club website does not have this information, then contact the club and go and meet with the club officials to see what style of guidelines they have set for the club and spend some time discussing how the club operates.
When you visit the club, it doesn't take long to identify if the facilities are good. If you go down in the evening, when an awful lot of training is done, are the playing grounds and facilities adequately lit? Are the teams that are training there using well kept equipment (balls, bibs, cones) etc. Is there enough space for everybody or are all the teams playing on the leading pitch? Do they have exchange training venues?
So what do you choose?
Some clubs operate only junior teams, some only girls teams and some have policies to encourage players of only elite skill. Generally, for junior players, the emphasis is on playing for fun, whether it be a beginners team or and sophisticated team. The club you choose should be supplied to satisfy your child's immediate needs and also supply a pathway for your child to develop to a much better standard.
After you have done your research, your decision should be based on
Will my child be supplied to develop to a high standard?
Is the environment secure for my child?
Is the culture of the club something that I will enjoy too?
Does the club appear organised and well run?
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!