Stay with one club all youth?

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by NewDadaCoach, Nov 20, 2023.

  1. NewDadaCoach

    NewDadaCoach Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Sep 28, 2019
    Wondering, if a kid stays with one club for their entire youth is that good or bad?
    Is there value in playing with a couple different clubs if for nothing else than exposure to different systems/players/coaches?
    I'm guessing most kids play in at least 2 different clubs.
    How many clubs did your kid play with?
  2. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    DS had three...
    Local club from U8-U11. Then a couple members of the team said they were going to leave and we saw the writing on the wall that the team was going to break up.
    U12-U18. Same club, multiple coaches. But after the U17 year, we had six starters leave. Three went to an MLS Academy, three dropped soccer. We still stuck with it for a year but the quality had definitely dropped.
    U19. Made a jump to another club hoping the quality would be better. It was, but only slightly.

    DD had one. The same local club DS originally played for. She started at U7 and this will be her last year at U18. It vary rare for the club to have a team stick together for the "career", it usually peters out around U13. This year they have a U18 boys and girls team. The core group of girls have played together since U10.

    I don't think you (general) should change clubs just to change clubs. I think you should change clubs to benefit the player. "Better" coaching? However you want to define that, just know that team will probably have a new coach in a year or two. Maybe better exposure? More of a challenge? Cheaper (yes, that can factor in)? Closer? There's a lot of reasons to change clubs, but IMO "change" isn't one of them.
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  3. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Played 'community' type soccer through 1st grade at a couple of different places. Played club at a '3rd tier' club (not the state big dog club or the layer of clubs below that) from 2nd to 8th grade. Invited to MLS in 9th. Probably would have stayed through 9th grade otherwise. The team numbers dwindled at the club in the older ages.
    NewDadaCoach repped this.
  4. SoccerNet101

    SoccerNet101 Member

    Feb 9, 2022
    Play where your player enjoys playing and move when he/she isn’t getting what they need or desire.

    it’s as simple as that. No one cares if a player stays or switches or switches a few times.
    NewDadaCoach, VolklP19 and ThePonchat repped this.
  5. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    “Club” is overused in the US.

    What we have is more of an organization with multiple teams, often in the same age groupings as well.

    There is little interaction within the US “club” from team-to-team and even coach-to-coach. Even more so, from director(s) to player, coach, and team.

    So, in the end, kids (and families) are better suited for just enjoying the game as much as they can for what fits the player’s (and family’s) needs. Could be playing with friends. Could be better competition (largely minor gains). Could be less expenses. Could be less travel.

    Find what fits for the player (and family). Coaches will be hit-or-miss in the US soccer landscape. Even in a single “club” there’s a massive scale. There’s just not enough coaches around to say there’s a huge difference in level of coaching.

    Try to enjoy the game. Get better. Play with friends. And, the game will be enjoyed at a greater scale than trying to figure out “what’s next.”
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  6. NotAmari

    NotAmari Member

    My Kids Teams/My FPL & Draft Teams/Crew
    United States
    Nov 1, 2022
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My older son (2009) played travel for a few years and then made the move to club (and has since moved to a different club) just trying to find the right fit with positions/level/commute time for practices.

    My younger son (2013) did a year of travel and then moved to the (IMO) top club in the area. No reason for him to go anywhere else at the moment and he'll likely stay there until/unless an MLS Academy comes calling (which would be tough for at least a few more years based on where we are).

    I guess it breaks down to: move if there's a reason to move, but don't move just for the sake of moving. IMO.
    NewDadaCoach repped this.
  7. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member+

    Jun 23, 2010
    #7 VolklP19, Nov 21, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2023

    Club one (4-13 years old) claimed they developed players - most definately not. We left when there were not enough quality players for the 2nd team which my daughter would have been on.

    Club two we went for an excellent traininer who taught my daughter what club one didn't - 1 v 1. However the clown of a DOC switched coaches and we left with 4 other players. Two years later the rest of the team grew tired of mis-management and left as well. Went from the top club in the area to now the bottom club in the area with mostly C & D teams and the occasional B team.

    Club three we went for the coach - who was my older daughters coach. We also went there with one other player from club two - they became best friends. After year one, that coach left for a job out of State and we ended up with a coach who rarely spoke to the players. After a horrible season of losing basically everything - because there was no training... We left

    Club 4 was local - my daughter was now driving and I could see her passion decreasing for the sport. We picked an excellent coach who lit a fire but also spoke to his players and cared for them genuinely. I said to her "Thanks for finishing what you started" She said back at me... "Thanks for getting it started."
  8. MySonsPlay

    MySonsPlay Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Oct 10, 2017
    My oldest son spent his entire youth career with the same organization. Started out on the top team at U9 by U11 we had asked to move down to the second team for all the other commitments that we were asked to put on the back burner. Best move we made for him. He is a good athlete and enjoyed all his sports. But it was his coach at U11/U12 that really gave him the soccer bug and his love for the game. (Just won his 2nd Sunday League championship at age 28).

    His middle school years were the most challenging, a few bad coaches, but he was made into a competitive athlete by his middle school basketball coach, simply the best coach he had, that includes his college soccer coaches.

    High school years were good, committed fully to soccer, ( I felt he should have played high school basketball). Brought back up to top team at the club, but it was his freshman year of high school soccer that made him into a soccer player. Last year the USDA Academy kids were allowed to play high school soccer, his high school team was full of future D1 players and he got the opportunity to practice with varsity while still starting all the JV games as a freshman. Hugh learning curve. All led to a college career that was a little less than satisfying.

    All is well, he will be finishing up his PHD this spring and is happily married to his high school sweetheart.

    To be continued with son number two, later

    Youth soccer is journey, just as life
  9. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd agree with all who've said here that parents shouldn't move players around if the players are happy, enjoying soccer, ...

    But if they are game to move -- and by game I don't mean "can be talked into it by an ambitious parent" -- or if circumstances like a family move or the loss of the ability to handle a long drive to practices force a club switch, I do believe there can be advantages in playing for different coaches who have different styles.

    My youngest has played for 13 years and counting and played for two clubs (plus various summer-only groupings of players, indoor teams in the winter, ...). Club No. 1 shuffled him through three primary coaches over six or so years -- each was good in a different way and a good fit at the various ages they were coaching my son and his teammates. About two years was also probably the point when he and his teams needed a new coach in each case.

    He followed a few teammates to club No. 2, initially with great reluctance from mom and dad because of increased distance to practices. But he was looking for a higher level of competition and found it. In the four years with that club, I'd say six or seven coaches worked with his teams. One was very accomplished and ran the best practices my son and I had seen to that point and his teams were good, but the culture he cultivated was borderline toxic. The other coaches were all varying degrees of OK to good.

    At older ages, integration into an established team can be tough, too. The last version of club No. 2 I mentioned above rolled the remnants of a couple of long-established teams together. They had great success but, outside of winning, I doubt most of those kid would say that team was fun.

    Be sure your player really wants a move and be as sure as you can that there's a reasonable chance of more upside than downside. There are no guarantees.
    NewDadaCoach repped this.
  10. MyKidsPlayFutbol

    MyKidsPlayFutbol New Member

    Oct 11, 2023
    Kid 1 - same club, two coaches for the past 8 years or so. Might have hindered kid's development as a player, but made it for a very enjoyable experience for the kid.

    Kid 2 - 3rd club in 3 years. Left the first two due to either mediocre coaching or low commitment from other players. Current club has much better coaching and players who enjoy the game and want to play. This already has made the kid a much better and more committed player. Exposure to different coaches/players certainly helped, as the kid is figuring out what/who is good and what/who is not. This is a newish club with a new team for his age, so the kid feels less of a journeyman. The hope is that this will ne kid's "home" for a while.

    A good book I read suggested switching coaches/systems every 2 years. Looking at my kids, I tend to agree, but want to add that this will come at a cost - kind of like profession vs a hobby. Not saying it's bad, just a little bit of a trade off.
    NewDadaCoach repped this.
  11. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Our kid played at three different clubs, and ended up at the same one he started at.

    In retrospect, leaving the first one in the first place was a mistake. On the other hand--and I've said this before--for our son, it probably would have been fine to quit club altogether in high school. Not that I would advocate that for every kid; just for him, he got everything he could get out of club soccer by Middle school. Between his HS team and all the pickup he played, club was just more wear & tear on his body that he really didn't need.

    But...that's not the case for everybody. Just saying--we moved around looking for the "right" fit only to realize in retrospect that we were just rearranging deck chairs.
  12. WI Soccer Dad

    WI Soccer Dad Member

    May 2, 2022
    My daughter started playing with all of her friends and neighborhood girls at age 5. At u8 she got separated from her friends when select happened and her teams all made one team and she made the other. We were told it wasn't a "A" and "B" team. But it sure looked like it. My kid stayed and played at that club through u10.

    At u11 she didn't make the "A" team again and her friends did. It was then that we as a family with her input decided to try a different club as I wasn't very pleased with many many aspects of that club. So we went to open practices and the poor kid was so nervous she was damn near throwing up. I kept telling her it was ok to leave and try again a different day or never. But she trained with them, signed up with the team which is her current team now. She just finished her U15 fall season last weekend. The girl's played their best game of the year in a competitive loss to St Louis Scott Gallagher and she knew it as well and she was in a great mood after the game Saturday night.

    From that tryout 4 of the girls at u11 are still there and combined with another 3 girls who came at u12 formed a very good core.

    So u8 to u10 at club A. u11 and beyond at current club. After we left club A. Club A "merged" with another mediocre girls program, then a year later that folded all together. All of her friends except for 1 quit soccer for other sports.

    At her current club, the president just changed (and by changed I mean left to the west coast) but the DoC has been the same throughout, and she has had 2 different female coaches who were both great.
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  13. MySonsPlay

    MySonsPlay Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Oct 10, 2017
    My youngest son played all but one year of his youth career with with the same club as his older brother. Took to the game immediately at a young age, maybe chasing the big brother. Had a really good coach at U7/U8, in fact the same coach his older brother had at U9/U10 that almost drove the oldest out of the game until we move him off the team. Just different personalities. This same coach circled back a couple of years later to coach my youngest at u13/U14, youngest always enjoyed playing for him.

    Most of the coaches my youngest had were rather mediocre by my standards, only the one mentioned above and his last coach at this club were any good. The last coach came in the middle of his freshmen year in high school. He is currently a D1 head coach, and my son was 90 minute player for him at he club level. This coach helped him with his move to the local USDA academy team his senior year. Until he left that club team, he was the only player who had remained on that top team for the club from U8 thru U16.

    The move to the USDA academy helped with his college choices, he chose a college more from an academic viewpoint, but being on a USDA team helped him secure a spot on the university's team as an unrecruited walk-on. College career had it's ups and downs, secured a starting role his sophomore year but only to have that cut short with a serious knee injury 8 games in. Rehabbed, won back the starting role junior year, team won conference championship, got knocked out of DI tournament in the first round. Senior year axed by COVID.

    Went on to Grad School, played at a DIII school for his COVID year. Had a real fun year playing, the DIII was a high academic level school and guys he was playing with where all high academic achievers. He enjoyed playing with this team. Made a disappointing end to the D1 career a positive.

    All is well, he is now living the life of a 25 year old professional in NYC, running marathons and playing as much soccer as he can find. Hopes his current team gets promoted to the top division this season. Guest plays on other teams as much as he is asked, even plays on teams that are full of guys from his arch rivals in college. Loves the game.

    It has been one hell of ride for his parents
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  14. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    My DS started at age 4 with a lovely community club (in-house community league, plus multi-year travel teams that he started playing with at age 6). Good development at first. But it was mismanaged and alas no longer exists. At age 9 we moved to the opposite end of the spectrum, moving to a club with five teams in his birth year. We were there for three years, but I don't think that the club cared much about development (warehousing talent? Yes. Shark-tank mentality for top team? Yes.). So we're onto our third club, which is an ambitious, expanding club that has to try to develop its players to get where it wants.

    I would much rather have stayed at one club. If the club is big enough the players get exposed to different coaches and different playing styles. I certainly wouldn't move for the sake of moving--that just results, as was well stated earlier, in rearranging deck chairs.
  15. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    A handful of my son's long-term teammates who changed their minds about trying to keep playing after high school did this, heading back to the local club where they all started for their final club season. From what we could tell, they had a good time playing out those last few months.
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  16. CaliforniaSoccerDad

    Mar 29, 2022
    I think it's really hard to say one way or another because it'll depend on where you are and sometimes you sort of have to move... (yes yes, to chase the letter leagues... ECNL... MLS Next...)

    The argument FOR playing on different clubs/teams I've heard from a trainer/coach is exactly what you mentioned... that the kids can get exposure to differing playing and coaching styles and it'll help them to adapt to different situations and coaches when they are older...

    My kid did start out at a club close to home and then moved him a year ago to a team with ECNL/MLS Next pathway.... and we intend to stay here... but you never know... who knows what'll happen...
    bigredfutbol repped this.

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