Advice sought

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by jvgnj, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Here's the background. My '09 son is in his 3rd year at his club. Really like the coaches and love the location (practices/home games 5 minutes from my front door). This is extremely helpful as he also plays football in the fall and baseball in the spring and this allows him to get to multiple events on the same day, if need be. He joined them when they started up, so they're fairly new and the player quality varies pretty wildly from age group to age group. With all the caveats of him being young and how things change over the years, he's a kid with a really high "sports IQ". My and my wife's families are both very sports oriented and there's always a game on the TV or people playing catch/shooting hoops, etc at family gatherings. He watches a ton of college/pro sports and works on things by himself all the time.

    His team is one of the weaker ones in his club and last spring and this fall are wearing on him. Not the losses so much, but things like kids not being able to control a pass or not moving into space. For whatever reason, there are some kids on his team that just don't seem to be improving. He's getting steadily more frustrated each week and, for the first time yesterday, said he wants to play on a better team. Even mentioned that it wasn't fun right now, which is what made me pause. The bigger clubs by us aren't really feasible at this point because the time commitment (including drive) would probably preclude playing other sports, and he does not want to give that up. At some point he will have to cut back on a sport or two but we're trying to push that date as far into the future as possible. Any suggestions on how to keep him engaged and happy in this situation?
     
  2. nysoccerdad

    nysoccerdad Member

    Apr 18, 2016
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    is play up or practice up an option?
     
    ThePonchat repped this.
  3. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    They let him practice with the '07 team in the Spring since one of his team practice days conflicted with baseball. I asked for that accommodation because of the scheduling conflict and honestly felt guilty asking for any "special" treatment. I'm definitely rethinking that in light of his recent frustration.
     
  4. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Regarding going to a bigger club... do you know that there aren't other kids in your area who are in other clubs in your age group?

    DS has been fortunate. When we jumped clubs after his U11 year (his small town team had too many kids dropping out), 2-3 other kids bailed at the same time and we've been able to car pool to practices/games. That's worked every year since and we're getting ready to start U16.

    Other than that, I suggest talking to his coach and/or club DOC to see what options there are to remain at his current club.
     
    bigredfutbol and ThePonchat repped this.
  5. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Best advice right here. Tell them your/his desire to remain at the club and you want to do everything you can to stay there while also providing the best opportunities for your child.

    If they aren't willing to work with him, be honest, or any other solution, then it's not a club to be at.
     
  6. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Thanks.

    There are at least 3 bigger clubs that work from a distance standpoint. We know local players at 2 of the 3, so if we went that route there would be carpooling options. The bigger issue (for us, at least) with both is that they discourage you playing other sports. He's played in summer/winter leagues with coaches from both clubs and they've asked him to try out, but they're up front about what they expect from a commitment standpoint. I don't necessarily agree with that approach but respect that they are clear about their expectations. We've discussed it with our son and he does not want to give up football or baseball, nor do I want him to given his age.

    We are going to discuss it with the head of the club. We have player evaluations coming up and I think he'll be amenable to working with us on a solution as it's to everyone's benefit. I realize that if he wants to play any sport at a high level he will eventually have to give some things up. But my main goal is that he enjoys all of them until that day comes.
     
    bigredfutbol and ThePonchat repped this.
  7. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    I can say from experience - sometimes change is really good!
     
  8. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Not ruling that out, but it's not a decision we'd have to make until tryout season in April. The reality is that no situation will be perfect and will involve some trade-offs. I do think his current club ticks the most boxes of what he's looking for at this point in time, but not if the one negative keeps taking the fun out of playing.
     
    bigredfutbol and ThePonchat repped this.
  9. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    If all it takes is the performance of a few weaker teammates to take the joy out of playing a game, then perhaps he needs to learn more about being a good teammate. I mean playing sports isnt all just about skills development, right?
     
    ThePonchat repped this.
  10. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Never argued sports were just about skills development. The only reason I raised it at all is because it's affecting his fun, which I view as the first priority. It's not something that happened overnight, but has been building over months. It's led to discussions on what it means to be a good teammate. We've discussed with him how everyone's trying hard and they're all learning. It's not like he's b*tching out teammates on the field.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  11. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    I guess what I was trying to say is that besides developing skills, playing sports can also be used to develop sportsmanship and how to work well with others including accepting mistakes and helping each other to improve. The latter may be a better skillset to having fun than the former. So perhaps explore more from that angle. Personally, I lose sight of that all the time so I wasnt trying to take a dig at you or your child.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  12. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    Understood. Yes, those are the most useful skills to take away from sports and something we emphasize with him. There's more long-term benefit when you have to fight through some adversity instead of being on a team that has the best players and beats everyone. But the process still has to be fun and that's slipping away from him with each frustrating game.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  13. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    In my opinion--and this is just an observation--this is sensible advice for an older player but I'd point out his kid is U9.
     
    mwulf67 and sam_gordon repped this.
  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I really do think that having fun needs to be a key component right up through early adolescence. We lose far too many players around the ages of 13-14 in no small part because it becomes a bit more of a grind at that point and if they've already lost the joy of playing they won't be able to draw on their love of the game to carry them through.
     
  15. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Perhaps so. There is joy from playing and there is joy from competing. I've seen a few kids at that age direct their teammates and offer positive encourage during and after games/training. I've also seen some prima donas. Every kid is different, that's for sure.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  16. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No doubt. But for an 8 year old I think if they're not having fun then something needs to change.

    EDIT: That "change" doesn't have to be anything drastic like switching clubs. Perhaps a simple change of perspective.

    On the other hand--there's something to be said for having teammates who are roughly at the same level in terms of ability and commitment.
     
    pu.ma repped this.
  17. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    This is exactly where I am at. I always say when coaching other sports that our #1 goal is to get them to want to come back next year. Had he not made a comment about the game not being fun right now we wouldn't have thought anything of the situation. At some point he will need to make some decisions regarding what sport(s) he wants to play but (i) I don't want that day to come prematurely and (ii) I'd prefer he not eliminate something because it's not fun.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  18. MySonsPlay

    MySonsPlay Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Oct 10, 2017
    I've read this thread multiple times and I can't give you much better advice than what has been presented but I can share my families experiences.

    At about the same age my oldest son got very frustrated with the rec soccer team he was playing on for the same reasons your son is expressing. He loves the game, and he was more skilled and more competitive than his teammates and told me that the the other kids were not being coached very good (I was the coach).

    So we were fortunate enough at the time to find a newly formed soccer club. Went thru tryouts, he makes the top team at the U10 age group. The worse year we have had in soccer, coaches were just not a good fit. Wanted to win to much. Son got limited playing time at various tournaments.

    After some hard conversations, we decided to play one more season but we requested to be placed on the second team (this was going to happen). The next two years absolutely solidified my sons love for the game. Main reason: the game was fun. The coach had everything in perspective.

    Those two years made our family a soccer family. I am indebted to that coach. In fact I just saw him at a local college game and he enthusiastically ask how my son was doing.

    Son goes on to have a great club career, eventually makes it back on to top team.Has a great high school career and gets the opportunity to play D1 soccer. Plays four years and graduates. Very blessed. Now playing on multiple adult teams and getting more calls from former teammates to play. With a job and other responsibilities he cannot find the time to play with everyone. He is still having FUN.
     
    Plizzle, StrikerMom, ThePonchat and 4 others repped this.

Share This Page