When someone joins the Soccer Parenting Association mailing list, they are sent a one questions survey: What is your greatest goal, problem, challenge, or frustration with the youth soccer experience of your child?
These are the stories of soccer parents. Stories are important as they demonstrate common themes, a vision for improvement and a shared perspective about how we can best serve our children.
If you’d like your story to be told, please JOIN THE MAILING LIST HERE or go direct to the ONE QUESTION SURVEY HERE.
|Frustrated with team work being emphasized in practice and then showboating during a game being rewarded.
It doesn’t matter who mades the assist. Only who makes the goal.
|We come from a small community and our program is just starting out. Community support is growing, but not fast enough to benefit my children. I wish we could get more players involved and get parents to see that soccer is a “real” sport just like baseball, football, and basketball.|
|As a parent, the greatest goal is help guide my son (9 yrs. old) to right style of development in youth soccer in order to perform well and see if he can reach his God given potential in the next level, whether college or pro. The challenge is finding good, licensed coaches in our area that are in clubs who care more about development than winning trophies. There are good coaches but many are not licensed or educated enough in their respective age groups.|
|The over physical approach that coaches instill into there teams at u7/8/9 and 10’s. I take it out of my kids so they only think of football as a creative expressive game and they are constantly encouraged to try new skills in their training matches. I run an u9’s and u12’s but why does our local league insist on creating cup competetions from u8 posting results, all mini tournaments are competitive and at u12 they have to go into a league system. Are we developing kids or teaching them to win as development or building to win are at opposite ends of the spectrum, winning comes last. Tactics, structure, discipline at what point are we going to allow are kids freedom to play and use there imagination which = creativity. Yet we wonder why our national football has been so poor for so long, we are void of expression. For years we listened to commentators saying how there was no personalities, characters in English football, is it any wonder why when we take it out of our kids at the most important time|
|Training sessions that fail to teach fundamentals and inconsistent coaching styles within a club.|
|My biggest frustration is when parents are not patient with the process of player development.|
|I am an experienced soccer player and youth coach; however, I feel it would behoove my son (7) to have just a coach and not a parent/coach. My biggest challenge is finding another coach who possesses the temperament, knowledge, and dedication.
I have no desire to groom my son to be a professional soccer player. I wish for him to have a coach who can continue to advance his skills by sharing proper techniques, while also promoting creativity, and building confidence.
|Too much emphasis on winning and not enough on player development. It translates to the big, fast kids get too much playing time at the expense of smaller, skilled kids because size and speed can overcome skill at the youth level. Also, no one has to coach speed and size, so that’s another reason it “wins” over skill at the youth level.
I could make a reasonable argument that if Lionel Messi were born in the US, he would never have even made it to the pros…
|One of my greatest frustrations is how some parents treat the coaches. Parents are often disrespectful towards them ~ not providing notice that the child isn’t attending a game/practice, not speaking nicely about them behind their backs, talking poorly about them to the players, etc.
My greatest goal is for my kids to learn to love the game. Yes, I want them to be the best player they can be but I feel that loving the sport will help guide them to becoming the best player. I want my kids to “want” to go and play not to “have” to go and play.
|Conflict with soccer player dad vs sons u10 coach|
|Fairness in the tryouts/selection process at the club level, particularly in older age groups. Too often, coaches know who they will select for their teams before the tryout process begins … makes it very difficult for the late bloomer to move up the ladder because there is a perception about his/her play from earlier years! A kid that makes ODP squads on merit should at least have honest consideration for a A level team slot, rather than the coach telling the parents ahead of tryout time “I’m happy with my squad as-is”|
|The focus of everyone on the 1% player and what that tiny pool of players need.|
|My frustration is the naturally-occurring divide between Town and Club soccer. With the amount of time that Club players spend on the pitch (both in-season and between-seasons), it’s challenging (or impossible) for Town players to keep pace … if, of course, they’re even expected to keep pace.|
|Poor coaching at the volunteer level, then the high cost to join a club for supposedly better coaching.|
|Our greatest challenge is communication from coaches. Our daughter plays for the academy and we pay a lot. We wonder, are we doing the right thing? It’s where she wants to be , this is her dream. We would appreciate feedback. What should she be working on. Is she in the right place for her development. I worry we could be just a number to help them pay for their program.|
|As a coach of youth and HS soccer, the biggest frustration is the parents. Youth leagues need and should be about kids learning the sport, not so much on wins and losses. Although the kids need to develop a will to win. As kids get older sports are designed to be competitive, state championship for example. Another issue the parent who thinks their kid is the superstar of team. Only sends them to practice, no camps or outside work. Then wants to complain about playing time at the higher levels of competition. Also I feel parents need to be educated in the sport, so they get an understanding of rules and styles of coaches. I don’t coach for the money, I coach to help the kids develop into better players, individually and to work as a team. A lot of life lessons can be learned through Sports.|
|It’s always the parents. Please trust the process and let the coach coach your son and daughter|
|unrealistic parental expectations|
|I want my son to learn the game and have a good time doing it. My frustration is with the constant barrage of the stories of referee abuse by fans. Here is my take on it. Young referees do not need to be exposed to this type of harassment by parents and by fellow referees, I have seen many young referee (AR) make a call only to be blown off by the head referee. That is a problem no one is talking about. They make a legitimate call and the person that is there to support and mentor them blows them off. Do you think this is a reason they are leaving as well?
Quit putting them out there in tournament games where people pay hundreds of dollars to play in. Train them at the lowest level possible. Evaluate them and see if they have what it takes. Do not move them up until they are ready. Unprepared officials will get a rouse out of fans. All officials should be evaluated not just the young ones. This is one of the few jobs where they are not evaluated. Conflict management. Train them in this.
|Finding a coach who is a teacher of the game and not simply a trainer or manager of talented players. Finding a coach that praises the kid who makes a good simple pass, the player who makes the overlapping run, even when no pass is made, closes down the space to delay the attacker,. A coach who shares the history of the great players and teams so that our kids appreciate the evolution and history of the game. Not just an ex college player who loves soccer but never shows passion for all elements of the game. By teaching our kids how to be students of the game, all kids no matter their skill can come to appreciate all sides of the beautiful game and enjoy it on a deeper level.|
|Seeing my son happy makes everything worthy! Frustration: my son club doesn’t have a home pitch so all of his matches are away. End pay to play or at least make it more affordable to families everywhere.|
|Putting club success ahead of player development at younger age groups.|
|Allowing my athlete to progress at their own rate without being judged/compared to players who have
superior skills at this age. In short, having progress measured in some manner other than games won (playing the
“best” players to maximize chances of wins).
|The subjectivity and unfairness in who gets chosen to advance as elite players. The way some scouts and coaches rely on their relationships to make choices and the impact that has on the kids who were elite under one set of eyes and not chosen for development under another. The lack of consistency and objectivity in choosing who will advance and who will be left behind. I have seen many elite players stop playing after getting benched or sidelined from an elite team because there is nowhere else for them to go. Moving down to a less competitive environment does not serve them or help them develop. At age 13, they have been playing at the top and want to continue to fight to develop but if a coach says otherwise what can a parent do? Intervening makes it worse. My son is still in at the elite level but I see others fall off & I wonder is it just a matter of time? Will he make it long enough to play at college? Or get cut at 14 or 15 and be one of the top players in his position in his region and not have a team?|
|My greatest frustration is the adults on the sidelines yelling directions to the kids and acting like the outcome of the game is somehow of paramount importance.|
|My goal is to teach the sport of soccer in a fun and engaging way to those who are still developmentally learning the game. Also, to create a challenging yet enjoyable learning environment for those who are further down the developmental path. My frustration at time can be partially with myself when I struggle to motivate players.|
|Ensuring my child enjoys playing the game and doesn’t look at it like a chore or grow to no longer enjoy it. My goal is for him to grow up being a fan and loving the game, like his Dad.|
|They enjoy going to practices and games, but they aren’t interested in practicing on their own.|
|Goal would be consistency,
Lack of coach availability and clubs thinking they can take your money and provide coaches who’s experience is clearly not to the level they are being asked to coach.
Coaches new to soccer not being taught leadership and coaching skillsets for the age group( or maybe not given the correct age group for their skill set).
Coaching 5 year olds is wildly different to 10 year olds, too many times I’ve seen kids being run around a field because they’re not focused on the coach!!!
Parents being mean to kids and sometimes not just there own…
|My greatest frustration with youth soccer is coaches that think of the team as ‘their’ team. Too often the coach is more invested in winning games and tournaments then actually developing players abilities. This is especially true with parent coaches who start off with the best intentions but become obsessed with winning at all costs and see the teams success or lack of success as a reflection on them.|
|The egos of many of the coaches at the Academy and Development Academy level is detrimental to the development of the child. Specifically U-13 and younger. There is a persistent prioritization on winning over the focus on the individual players need to be challenged and supported in their growth to be a better player. Too much focus on tactics over technical development. Many coaches believe they know everything about the game and think that every player is to be taught the same way. This is not all coaches but far too many.|
|The politics of club soccer…..the adults get in the way of the kids being able to play. I played at the college level, coached for nearly 30 years, was a club administrator, board member, Director of Coaching at multiple clubs, but as a parent of 3 soccer playing children, I have been continuously disappointed in the adults involved in the club soccer environment.
Therefore, my goal would be to simply the leagues/clubs/teams. We have too many umbrella organizations (FIFA, US Youth Soccer, AYSO, YMCA, State Soccer Associations, Regional Soccer Associations, US Club Soccer, ECNL, NPSL, not to mention public and private school teams and leagues). If a kid just wants to play, have fun, get better, enjoy good competition, it should not be so complicated, or expensive, or involve travel to places hours away, especially at the middle school or younger ages.
|Youth soccer is a joke. There are too many “premiere” clubs selling they are the best. There needs to be an actual limit on the amount of “premeire” to actually reflect the population of talent.|
|Trying to score a goal|
|Lack of transparency on the best training opportunities (private training, camps, clubs, competitions). Having no soccer background, it took us a long time and much effort to find the truly best coaches for my child. Hard to discover, much less evaluate, what opportunities are best worth our time and money. And not sure that even DA is best.|
|I am the parent of 4 -now older – sports children. All 4 played soccer at some level. With my first, I had now idea what the opportunities were and there was no information sharing locally, so if he did have potential to be great, we were clueless. That child became a nationally ranked tennis player. With my third son, I got more involved and I learned about opportunities accidentally because I was on mailing lists. But tad far as learning about opportunities, it was the same. The parents wouldn’t even share information about Super Y summer teams. My third was not the caliber player my fourth is, but loves the game. My 4th son is an amazing goalkeeper. It was a full time job to get him the training he needs to develop him even then, I was told by his coach that he was no good.|
|Greatest goal is to keep it fun and challenging for my kids. Challenge is to find quality teams for 15 and older teens for spring season to maintain their skills until fall season. frustrations include parents thinking they know they game and want to not only coaches their kids but tell the referee what to do and they do have required education.|
|irresponsible parent / spectator sideline behavior|
|The expectation of transparency from players and parents, but not the same given by coaches and clubs. We are part of a girls team in North Texas. I’ve had to fight the LARGE club for keeper training, all while keepers are required for 2 years before training is allowed. Also, coaches that have 9-10 teams, which doesn’t allow for development, but is just for cash flow. Lastly, coaches that don’t seem to have to perform continuing education or even have certain levels when coaching the pre-select kids. This club has DA girls teams, but it doesn’t appear their organization is really looked at as a whole. Sadly everything is about the coach and not really about teaching.|
|I’m a coach and a parent. The biggest challenge for my children’s youth soccer experience is keeping the parents from coaching from the sidelines. With my team, the parents and I have a good understanding and they try their best to keep quiet. I communicate with them frequently on why it’s important for them not to coach. However, when I go to my kid’s games, it’s not the same. There’s always one or more that think they have to coach. I think your org is amazing and I thank you for all you are doing.|
|Keeping my daughter healthy at the highest level with the practically year rounds demands of her team.|
|There is too much emphasis on winning rather than kids developing as a player.|
|The fact that even though the club says they want to represent and develop the whole child, the time commitments and financial commitments can be burdensome; they don’t allow for much else in the child’s life. In addition, all the research points to developing children not playing the same sport everyday of the week, yet there are 3 practices and at least 1 game every week. Not to mention tournament weeks-How do you begin to balance the demands on the growing body? Hands down, more time should be spent on the warmup and cool down in every practice. Just my 2cents!|
|Interaction and follow up between parent and coach. Youth soccer should have three meetings. One to set expectations. One to monitor progress and the final meeting. Did everyone do their part?|
|Lack of communication and lack of transparency with coaches, trainers, and the club my daughters play for.|
|The egos of adults ruining the game.|
|Parents not understanding the time and effort involved in Coaching. Being nagative on the other sidelines to the point that other Parents move away from them to try to enjoy the Game!|
|Out of control parents|
|It feels that coaches do not take enough time to provide meaningful and remotely adequate feedback to my child (or any, for that matter). As a result, my child never really knows where they stand, what they need to work on most, and how they can best improve. As a parent, I find that really poor and unprofessional.|
|The “always win” attitude over the desire to teach the kids the fundamentals, help them love the sport and help them learn life lessons through the game.|
|Communication, or the lack of it, from coaches and directors.|
|The focus on the win and not the development of all the kids.|
|Lack of confidence|
|Goal: fun, growth, enrichment, leading an active/healthy lifestyle
Problem: continually motivating and driving habits for self-improvement
Challenge: time management w/ other sports, school, family activities
Frustration: cost and travel time to compete at higher levels (elite clubs)
|The pay to play system and the lack of quality local programs.|
|Parents that act out on the sidelines and take away from the kids enjoyment
Coaches(doing the best they can) but not being able to get proper training or burdened with the high cost of certifications
Sometimes I think the kids would be better off by being dropped off at games and then parents should then pick up the kids after the games
|My greatest goal is that my child enjoys playing football and has fun. Unfortunately this is also a challenge and a source of frustration.|
|Accessibility. Competitive soccer is out of the reach of most inner city players. Players that can and do make a difference because of their will to get themselves out of poverty through the beautiful game.
|One frustration I have is that at a competative level there are too many teams. I see teams that are a few really strong players and then the skill level drops. If you are able to have fewer teams but really strong then as our kids developed through high school and college US Soccer would stronger. We need kids that have the ability to play at a high level to be push by high level players, NOT sub par players.|
|The coaches are not trying to develop players at our club. They prefer the older, bigger, boot the ball players over the smaller, younger, technical players who possess the ball and try to play the correct way. I get the feeling that all the clubs are this way and that is why they all have to do it, because if you can’t win the balls in the air against your opponent (because they are big) then what good are you? My son has been on the top team his entire soccer career and it has been amazing to watch.|
|We’ve been playing 2 years of recreation soccer. I was “voluntold” that I was coach or we wouldn’t be able to play. Fast forward to now and I am in love with soccer but have been trying to educate myself via the internet, books and people willing to help me. I wish there was legit training for parents turned coach with no experience.|
|The GOAL for my players (a sweet and talented group of hometown girls who are classmates as well as teammates) is to learn the beautiful sport of soccer and the life skills that come with playing on a competitive and collaborative team and to have fun!
My greatest FRUSTRATION is with a few of my parents who have taken their kids out of our club to play for ‘select’ teams (B teams – not even the A teams) because either they think the training/competition is better, their child will play a ‘better’ position or get more playing time or because they want to give their child a competitive advantage, possibly.
My biggest CHALLENGE is maintaining the balance with my GOAL and FRUSTRATION so I can keep as many of these players together. If I lose too many core players, the more competitive players will also leave which leaves me (and my daughter) without a competitive team.
The PROBLEM seems to be that there are way too many ‘elite’ teams and leagues that are tearing apart the hometown teams too early and unnecessarily. Parents are looking down the road to scholarships without enjoying/respecting the process.
|My biggest concern and the problem is playing time for the kids. Some of the kids they supposed to play as much as they can and not be sub but because other players on the bench while waiting to play . It doesn’t matter what the results of the game is they have to play.|
|That the sport has become too inundated with and dominated by academies which cost way too much and deliver too little in terms of real player development and growth. In many cases players are not even rostered or play at all if rostered so how will they ever learn and build confidence and ability on the pitch in real situations? What does that say about the #1 priority for these coaches? It’s winning at all costs of course….In addition the forced limitation not to play other sports (which a lot of the academies impose) at a young age is not a positive in my view and can lead to more injuries as well as missed opportunities in other sports for well rounded athletes.|
|Pushy parents who treat their kids as a commodity|
|My son U12 enjoys soccer and improves by playing in competitive situations such as 1 vs 1, 4 vs 4, and full scrimmages. However, there aren’t enough games and competitive situations at his club practices. Too much lecturing. Too many drills with lines and waiting. Too much performing skills with the ball with no pressure. Coaches seem to think we’d think less of them if 75% of practice was small-sided games. But that’s what kids want and need, at least at younger ages.|
|Team placement, training, and gameplay determined by politically charged administrators and coaches.|
|Increased costs coupled with inconsistent coaching levels. In our club, one of the main problems is coach consistency – from one year to the next, we could have a good or bad experience based on the coach assigned to our group. Increased costs coupled with this inconsistency and at times apathetic approach of over-extended directors can have adverse effects on the players.
The directors of our Club coach teams. Some even coach 3 teams which does not allow time for coach oversight and development. The directors and the Club do too much and cannot service the teams and players…
|My biggest frustration with youth soccer is the pay to play system. The whole arrogance of the parents and the culture that they create is toxic. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe in participation awards. Soccer is a simple game made complex by parents that think their child is the next Mia Hamm. Almost like they are playing on the field. What ever happened to being humble and working hard towards a common goal? The messages being sent to our children disgusts me. Not all clubs are the same.
Your site has been a breath of fresh air. I can see the girls who’s parents never played the game but get badgered by their parents to perform. You have to fail to succeed in anything you do in life. More importantly you have to go through it yourself. No class or manual will tell you how to get through it. This is what I love about soccer. Hopefully coaches realize they have the opportunity to have an impact on how to identify things, make a plan and execute. That takes creativity and I just don’t see it here in the states.
|Too much emphasis from fellow coaches and parents on winning vs development.|
|Everything in the news is very negative about youth soccer and American soccer in general and what needs to change. What about those of us with kids now? My kids will be out of the system in 10-12 years. My kids play with a club and coach that emphasize skill development over wins and they are really thriving. What else is an average soccer parent supposed to do?|
|Lack of an easily accessible “club” facility/ “home” fields that create team chemistry and a feeling of belonging, pride throughout the week (for players, parents, coaches and the neighborhood/village) as compared to those open, bare and naked fields basically reachable by car only rather than bike, bus or even just walking|
|The absence of meaningful player development in the US youth soccer system.|
|I suppose biggest challenge I’m concerned about atm is how to keep it fun and engaging and deal with disruptive kids during practice.|
|Parents that value wins over development. I have had my daughter on a team where the coach valued development and all the parents complained to the DOC because the team didn’t have that many wins and it ended up causing the team to break up. We then landed on a team where winning was the main goal but we saw no improvement of the team or in my daughter as the season progressed. While the wins were fun, seems like we spent an awful lot of money with nothing in return. Until the clubs and parents change their values club soccer will decline.|
|My challenge is that there isn’t a top level boys DA coach in our local area in my son’s age group who has all the qualities that I feel a top level coach should have. (I’m not talking about the license.). My son’s coach is good and he is doing a good job teaching the game to the boys, but my wish for my son is that he could have a great coach who really cares. I wish the coach could develop a great soccer relationship with the boys and that the coach could inspire my son and his teammates to be the absolute best they can be. I feel that the coaches these days are just out there doing their jobs, but that they aren’t truly passionate about mentoring and developing the young kids.|
|Finding the most apropriate training to match my chilld’s current level of development. Most clinics/trainers are doing a one size fits all curiculum|
|Coach-centered and not player-centered. Coaches focus on themselves and their role in winning, and not development and improvement (U6-U12 experiences).|
|Too much practice in premier. Takes away from family, siblings and well rounded children.|
|Their teammates don’t consistently show up for practice or games.|
|My greatest issue is lack of Coach/club communication on topics other than money. Have 3 kids who play – 117 emails about $ in some fashion (fees, team fees, camps, travel costs, etc)….0 showing appreciation, support, or feedback
This would not be acceptable in any reputable business. I know this varies across cultures….ours is far behind.
|Coaches split between multiple teams on game day leading to schedule conflicts.|
|The continual coaching and terrible behavior from many of the parents during the game.|
|The kids who have better skills get more practice then those who need it more.|
|Playing against teams who want to win at all costs.|
|Coaches who don’t understand the ages of the kids they are coaching and cause further problems trying to address the concerns.
Coaches/club more worried about winning than about the individual development of their players. This results in some kids not being placed at the correct level–this in turn causes problems on teams that result in the first concern we have.
|The coaches who talk like they are all about development of children but don’t practice what they preach. The hypocrisy inherent in all of it. Coaches step on the field and become different people in the same way that some players step on the field and become different people — not in a good way. In a crazy, competitive, win-at-all-cost way.|
|Parents who will step up as volunteer coaches.|
|Goal: To provide every child with a quality experience
Challenge: Finding volunteers who are willing to learn
Frustration: parents who want to pay very little but expect a professional coach to work for free.
|In a word– Parents. Specifically, parents who arrogantly think they know how to coach their kids when they really don’t, and parents who don’t control their behavior on the sidelines. I am a youth soccer parent and volunteer team manager. The two worst things about parents is that some of us, no matter how much we’re asked not to, coach from the sidelines, and some of us curse on the sidelines, which I especially hate because there are younger siblings of the players around. Also, as a team manager, I wish all parents would just read their email and do what I’m asking them to do. I try not to ask too much, and I do a lot to help, but there’s some things I just can’t do and parents must do to help their children. If, for example, I reminded you several times during the summer to get your kid registered with our club, then get your kid registered! I know we’re all busy, but there’s got to be a few minutes you can take to do what you’re supposed to do for your kid. And it just makes more work for me when you don’t.|
|Teams are too large to get enough playing time. Once the girls warm up and begin to flow as a group they are mass substituted.|
|Greatest problem is other parents who are criticizing kids on my child’s team during a game. You can tell that they say things to their kids too because of the way some of those kids treat other kids. I will miss silent September|
|My goal is for my son to play soccer @ College; my frustration is how the US Soccer changes the rules of the game and makes the USA even more disadvantage than the rest of the World, I am referring to the no heading allow for youth players.|
|The desire for perfection. We see soccer games on TV or attend a live game, and then we watch our kids play. We attempt to project what we see at the Pro level at the youth level.|
|They do not always get positive coaching as envisioned by the Positive Coaching Alliance principles, and they do not live soccer so much that it doesn’t matter to them – their enthusiasm was waned in part due to lack of positive coaching|
|Our biggest frustration is family dinner time. Our kids are usually not interested in eating dinner at 4:30 and dad isn’t ever home that early. We value that time together as a family and being able to sit down together for a balanced and nutritional meal, but when practices run from 5:30-7:00, it means late night dinners for the family and then bedtime directly afterwards. With 4 children playing travel soccer, we have practices every night of the week.|
|I don’t have an issue with my children right now because they are playing AYSO. AYSO (at least my region) though is far behind in educating the coaches and parents the right way. I have a little different view since I am a soccer professional, but my biggest overall frustration I think is why some parents are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for their kids to participate in cheer, dance, and music (4-5 times a week) , but when told the same amount of time is needed for soccer, the look on their face is, “Are you nuts?” While I understand the, “That is a lot of time for an 11 or 12 year old,” thinking- why is parent culture different for dance or ballet than it is for soccer?|
|Helping the weaker, less talented players find value in a sport where the stronger, offensive players seem to get all the credit. They are often overlooked and not “passed” to by their teammates.|
|Lack of training (good)|
|My biggest frustration/challenge is the politics involved in the travel clubs of today. The “It’s all in who you know or who knows your child’s name” Attitude is awful where we live. I understand that everybody is looking out for the best supposed interest of their child but going behind coaches’ backs and pushing to have your child placed on a higher level team is terrible. Especially when it’s just a status thing to the parent while their child needs more time at the lower level that’s right for that child to continue to develop the necessary skills needed to play at that higher level.|
|From a parent perspective: The cost vs return on investment. Paying way to much money for disfunctional clubs and lack of coaching knowledge and skills. Soccer loses the best athletes due to the cost and the elitest attitude.
For a coaching perspective: Too many dysfunctional clubs that lack philosophy, strategy, knowledge and organization. And parents unrealistic evaluation of their child’s athletic ability. Many parents in the soccer world were not athletes themselves but have their kids playing soccer to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. They do not understand the development cycle of an athlete.
|My greatest frustration that I have with the youth soccer and my context is based on my experience in Georgia as a parent of an ECNL level daughter, has been the focus on athletes over technical players. I’m tired of seeing track stars with no foot skill beat out hard working technical players simply because they hit puberty first and/or American coaches by in large are incapable of teaching possession (play from the back) and opt for direct, over the top soccer that caters to the track stars. It’s disheartening because the beautiful game is being taught that way and it carries over to D1 level too at some of the top ACC and SEC schools. I understand that the US women have dominated with this type of play or something like it, but Japan, France and the rest of the world will catch us soon, with skill, jenga and tactical advantages.|
|My son plays on a high level club team which brings many benefits but also much pressure. My goal for him is to have fun. Playing soccer is the time he gets to “play” with his friends. He gets to compete and learn and grow, but it only works if it is fun. It is a game, after all. As parents, our biggest frustration/ challenge is when a coach does not talk to his/her players. When a coach takes a few minutes to talk to his/her players to explain where the player is at on the field or why playing time is what it is, that goes a long way. Setting honest and realistic expectations through conversation is so important. When a coach does not do so, it only sets the relationship up for confrontation and mis-trust. Even when my son does not like the message he may hear at times, the level of respect he has for his coaches that talk to him never waivers. That respect and trust is not the same for coaches who don’t. So, please treat your players as people first.|
|My goal is to support my daughter and keep fanning the flame of desire to play|
|Parents who think the “investment” in their child’s soccer should have an ROI of a full ride D1 scholarship. Its a youth sport for your kids not a consumer product. People who think that way are the parents who are the biggest complainers on the sidelines about coaches referees etc|
|Lack of transparency regarding quality and consistency of coaching at any program (e.g., club, ODP, DA, camps).|
|I have 13 U7 boys and the biggest challenge I have is keeping them focused and engaged in what we are trying to do at practice. Game time doesn’t seem to have the same issue while they are on the field, but practice is a big issue.|
|Frustrations of not being able to get unbiased guidance or recommendations from my daughter’s travel soccer club’s coach and DOC on which path for my daughter to take for soccer development and growth in order to train and develop within her age group and compete at the highest level possible without the club’s fear that we would leave for another program.|
|Goal: provide fun & challenging soccer environment for the players.
Problem/Challenge: How to accomplish the Goal.
Frustration: there are so many frustrations – which one is the greatest perhaps is keeping my heart whole and together – keeping myself centered in the process.
|Helping kids see the value of training to reach their goals. They hate losing. But hate practicing (even on their own) more.|
|Communication!!! I know the coaches and directors always have my child’s best interests in mind, but the biggest challenge is definitely the inconsistency in communication methods and seemingly lack of administration organization.|
|My greatest frustration with girls youth soccer at the moment is the emphasis on physicality in game play over the use of foot skills. With the disparity in sizes at this young age U11/U12, the bigger team often wins thru muscle alone rather than skill. We are certainly more concerned about technical and tactical play but it’s frustrating watching kids get coached to play so physically- often times dirty.|
|Watching my child overcome challenges and enjoy playing soccer is a greatest goal. To accomplish that the next goal is to making sure my child is on a team with excellent coaching. Quality developmental coaching is key.|
|I want my daughter to reach the goals that she has set — not that others have set for her.|
|too many teams, too many levels, too much politics, best teams are too expensive|
|Getting them to focus on playing the game and not socializing.|
|I don’t get feedback directly from the coach on what my daughter should be working on and without soccer experience myself i struggle with practicing with her at home. I wish there was a parents clinic on how to train with your kids at home with minimal skills.|
|My goal is simple… to teach the game in a positive and nurturing environment. To develop good soccer players and good citizens.|
|A lack of transparency as to how decisions are made when setting rosters, who the coaches will be, why the best players are not on same teams, why we don’t level up talent until grade 5 when other towns do, etc. This has not been true in our club experience (switched to club and pulled son from town soccer) o date but, the town league has been incredibly frustrating in terms of getting a straight answer to the point we pulled son out for a year.|
|There are many goals, challenges and frustrations — all at different times/ages/etc…
Right now — we are frustrated with finding the right coach– we understand no coach (or person for that matter!) is perfect but hard to find a really good one that will help develop your child and work on technical skills, etc…
|Thank you for creating such an informative platform which allows the sharing of ideas and thoughts, as well as practical solutions to many issues that arise in youth soccer.
Although I have seen many parents display poor behavior towards coaches, refs, and youth players, I have not seen many articles that deal with the issue of coaches ‘purposely’ making incorrect decisions. Some of the reasons I believe coaches make wrong decisions is due to ‘politics’ and favoritism. But, I do realize coaches have very challenging job.
|Goal – to keep children playing soccer for life
Problem- tryouts and shuffling of teams every year
Challenge – to become a better soccer parent
|Poor Refereeing due to an inconsistency generated by US Soccer.|
|learning the game and proper respect for coaches, parents and each other.|
|Instead of teaching the skills of the sport coaches just want to win.|
|Greatest challenge on our club team is my daughter being one of the top nine girls on a pool team of 30 and her along with the other top nine not being challenged with more advanced skills. This is U12 soccer, they need to be moving forward with development not waiting for those not developed to catch up.|
|Finding the best pathway for my daughters to improve & thrive playing soccer.|
|Finding an organized league with committed coaches.|
|That it’s all about who you know and how connected you are, and not necessarily the skills or talents of the child.|
|I hate the tryout system for anyone under 13. Too much heart break for some of the kids.|
|Not enough endurance training and goal training.|
|I was coaching my 9yr u 10 team. We had an everyone play rule with a mandatory each player sit out for at least 12 min. The most frustrating thing was trying to explain to the team & my 9yr old why some coaches would not follow the rule & try to win at all costs including cheating.|
|I have been the head coach of my sons teams for nine years since first grade and the biggest challenge is keeping it fun for my son while balancing that with keeping him challenge.|
|Understanding the various levels of clubs (travel vs. premier) and choosing a club that best meets the needs and current abilities of my young player. it’s like car shopping where you are trying to buy the best product (experience and training in this case) while not being taken for a “ride”.|
|I find it challenging to find a club that matches the true philosophy of “kids first”. Their website may have a mission statement that looks and sounds great but their actions don’t actually follow this mission. The bigger the club, the bigger the problem (usually). Additionally, they may have a code of conduct that must be signed by the players, parents and coaches but you still see inappropriate behavior from all. I want my daughter (U10) to first learn to love the beautiful game. This should entice her to want to learn more about it, practice and be her best.|
|I believe that we need to remember that we are doing this for the kids and not for our own egos or aggrandizement.|
|No respect in the US, less chances for recognition in rural areas for recruiting (pro, div 1 college, etc), always trying to emulate other countries instead of adding and using strengths, push to have 1 sport vs multiple..I could go on.|
|Other parents who grip about every little thing but refuse to be apart of the solution.
We don’t have a huge problem with parents because some parents just don’t care.
|Leagues, Coaches, Teammates, Parents and Competition who practice & preach good sportsmanship.|
|While attempting to be a good soccer parent, keeping distance from practices and games. Not instructing player, cheering positively etc.
I find that it’s not possible to understand the coaches expectations of the team or ‘my’ player. It makes it very difficult to know if we’re making progress or just going through the motions. I don’t care about shorelines but I’m vitally interested in making progress toward better play.
|The competing teams parents that talk badly about our girls. The yelling and behavior of some parents as opposed to other sports they are involved in travel as well; basketball, and lacrosse.|
|When the girls’ director of coaching told the group of parents that after age 12, not to expect your player to be able to move up a team. It just broke my heart. That is the mentality of coach I now know to avoid. It is difficult, though, when there are only two big clubs within driving distance. Luckily I have found a top coach that literally looked into my daughter’s eyes and said, “I believe you can do anything.” But we have met quite a few toads along the way. The guys who think they can identify talent at 12 are poison. Period.|
|Not enough conditioning at practice|
|I find very frustrated w/the 2004 academy team my son is on mostly due to the nepotism and favoritism shown to a few specific players. Communication is prohibited between parents and the coaches. Only the 12 yr olds are allowed to to send a question or let them know if they are too sick to attend practice. I understand the theory behind this but also know that the connected parents have frequent contact w/said coaches. We thought the political crud would not follow us to academy but not so. And as one of the unconnected parents, we have nowhere to voice our concerns.|
|The emphasis some clubs put on winning over player development at young ages.|
|To have a positive experience for all, from the parents/friends on the side lines, to the players both on the field and on the bench, to the refs regardless of the negative chatter occurring.|
|I believe it’s the way club soccer is not dominating the sport. Rec soccer has become so frowned upon, many kids are embarrassed to play it. That in itself isn’t the problem, it’s that coupled with the pressure of clubs to help kids get scholarships, and let’s not forget US soccer’s role in making the drastic birth year change in order to help our development of players for the National team. What percentage of players is that? Clearly less than 1%.
We need to get back to allowing some kids to play for fun and not feel pressure to play in college and not have their classmates taken away from their team because of the birth year change. We tell kids to go out and have fun…. but our actions speak louder than words, and all actions say it’s not about fun, it’s about playing in college or internationally. Very sad.
|The politics that comes w the clubs!!|
|Dealing with parents on the sidelines who openly put down the play of other kids to make their child appear “better”.|
|Lack of cohesiveness and understanding the overall gialsntules and regulations.|
|As a referee it has to be the uninformed parents and coaches who constantly bash the officials.|
|Abuse from coaches, parents and players – its the culture of the game (older generation say “but we’ve always done that, it’s part of the game”)|
|Abusive parents and coaches. Also board members who refuse to act.|
|More development. Teams are too concerned about winning at an early age and not developing the players ability. Yes, winning is important but not enough to move down to beat less talented teams. For the money we pay for club soccer, there should be more development and a focus on improving skills.|
|Extreme competition for young children in soccer versus focus on skill development and the love of the game. I think if a child plays for years it can cause burnout.|
|the abuse of match officials by coaches, parents and players|
|Most of my focus now is a mix of the following:
college recruiting for girls
DA versus non-DA
will ECNL still be strong
is ODP still important now that DA doesn’t even let you participate
play High school or not
|Greatest goal is to have my kids learn good sportsmanship while realizing their competitive and physical potential.|
|Even playing time|
|There is a huge difference at our club between the first and the second team in each age group. ECNL seems to get the best coaches, the best fields, the best practice times, and the best referees at the games. As a parent of a child who has been achingly close to making the EC NL team but not making it, I’ve watched the gap grow ever wider so that it’s almost impossible to catch up.|
|Parents lack of education allows Clubs to pass off winning, no matter how they do it, as proof of development.|
|Although I have a deep desire for development of players/teams, we forget that they are kids out playing soccer for the fun of it. The “recruiting” (ie. poaching) that occurs in youth soccer is absurd, parents jockeying to teams/clubs so that little U8-U15 can be assured of playing collegiately is mind numbing. Let the kids be kids, let the true “stars” shine and be recognized…but don’t drive the kids away from something they like (and bonus…it’s exercise) because we drive them to be something they may not want to be.|
|Communication from the club/coach. Also always wondering if my kid should be doing more/less, are they in the right program, is the club doing things right, etc.|
|At a game right now, U9 girls Rep. As a parent sitting on the bleachers (indoor) the yelling from parents and the manager. As well as the coaches yelling from the other side of the pitch….all the yelling is deafening, distracting and discouraging. Completely takes away from the game and what successes the girls are having on their own. Very sad.|
|As a parent, I have 2 children playing soccer. My 9 year old plays Rec and we have struggled with parent coaches giving priority focus to their own children. My other daughter is 8 and again as a parent, would like to see more opportunities for girls her age within our club and community around soccer. As a coach, of U8 girls I struggle with clubs focusing on supporting male coaches and not providing the same support to female coaches and female players. An arrogant Technical Director also can make the experience/season challenging. Thank you.|
|Parent/spectator behavior, specifically on game day, and how it damages the overall experience and creates an atmosphere nearly impossible to teach in.|
|The lack of transparency with the coach and club. I have twins and they seem to prefer one and play her all the time and only give her twin minimal time (10-20 minutes)|
|Teaching the kids that winning isn’t everything, want to win is. They are preoccupied with their parents obsessive need to win games, when we first must teach the kids, they need to find the desire to want to win within themselves first.|
|Knowing exactly where they should be playing for their long term potential|
|The challenge is to ensure the game is played in the right spirit, and to show people of all ages that it can be played that way|
|The leadership and quality of coaches in our soccer academy is erratic at best. Parents are seen as the enemy. There is no way to address concerns about a child and feel confident that there won’t be repercussions. You can simply leave the program if you don’t like the coaching. Would love an ANONYMOUS suggestion box. Or a director who would give serious parental concerns attention and consideration.|
|Coaches wanting kids to specialize in soccer too early.|
|Soccer in the United States is a secondary thought and does not have the exposure that other sports like baseball, basketball, and football get. As such, short of private lessons, it is difficult to get quality training.|
|goal – for the kids to understanding the game . For the parents to stop coaching from the side lines .|
|Getting the coaches and parents to understand that this is just children’s soccer, not the FIFA World Cup. Everyone takes things too serious!! I just want to know that my son is having fun and is enjoying his time on and off the field with his team. I do not want to see/hear/hear about the coach dressing-down an 11 year old boy in front of his team because of some small blunder on the field. The same thing goes for the parents.|
|When the coach is a child’s parents and they show them favoritism.|
|Goal: To foster a love of soccer in my child and provide an opportunity to develop skill, responsibility, accountability and good sportsmanship.
Frustration: Organizational in nature…decisions that hurt the entire local organization were made last year and now I feel my child is not on a team with equally skilled players, so his development is stymied. I’m glad he is able to help others improve.
|Getting coaches to give young goalkeepers enough time in goal during practice.|
|When watching a game how do you tune out the sideline coaching by parents?|
|The greatest problem is getting a clear and honest assessment of the development of my child. I know my child is not a superstar but I also know every child can improve.|
|As a club director and coach, I am one that typically helps families understand their options and opportunities. As a parent of a high level player, I have few places to go to get advice for my own son who is currently in the USSSDA system. He gets very little playing time with no feedback from the coaches or administration, the club as a policy, does not speak with parents. He is at a critical time, does he have a future with the DA, should we consider a residency program, should we consider the opportunities overseas? He is a highly technical player of a small stature (late bloomer) and our system continues to favor size and speed….|
|Knowing when to suggest my daughter to take additional soccer lessons/camps/etc. or just let her play club and that’s it. I feel we have a responsibility to let them know what opportunities are there and let them decide if they act on it. However, by merely suggesting I feel like it seems to them we are pushing it on her.|
|I’m a children’s coach. I was with children for 4 years from 2012. My parents betrayed me. They do not need development, but the result. They now have another coach.|
|We live outside a major city and the soccer is pathetic in our community so we have to drive an hour for my daughter to play soccer.
Also, there needs more info on ENCL and opportunities for children that are good to reach their goals.
|How do I ensure that when talking to DOC’S or even Program coordinators I am asking the correct questions to get the answers my child needs to make informed decisions. For example, When choosing a club some questions that come to mind are : style of play, development, DA Academy vs ECNL vs NPL 1,etc….|
I come from Europe where playing soccer is not related to how much I can afford to pay!
|The lack of Technical skill developments.|
|My biggest frustration is trying to make decisions with my child’s overall best interest in mind. Three issues come to mind. First: Most children are not clear on their goals and commitment level from season to season, year to year. Second: Couple that with their actual development and true potential in which we rely on a coaches feedback and gut instinct to determine next best steps. Finally: Program pressure to commit more and more time, more and more money. I wish I had an expert personal consultant that was committed to my child and my family to guide us!|
|My greatest frustration with youth soccer is parental involvement with coaches. Even though my children both played on club teams parents managed to be in the coaches ear. Giving a feeling of the team being coached by a parent.|
|Coaches yelling at his/her players, referees and at times opposing team.
I’m a soccer coach and there isn’t a game that goes by that I don’t see the his type of behavior from coaches.
|Right now I’m extremely frustrated with the lack of communication from our coach & leadership. We have no idea on the goals for the team or path forward. And I am the team manager.|
|That parents go for glitz and wins instead of growth and development of their children.|
|The dark side is taking over soccer. Larger clubs are taking up all the field spaces and making a ton of money off the kids! This includes tournaments that are making over $1,000,000 with the stay and play/pay rules in effect. Ethics are no longer important as clubs are out to win and that means cheating etc….|
|The greatest goal of youth soccer is to play and achieve the best quality training while maintaining the fun aspects of the game. The greatest problem at the grass roots level is involvement from the community in getting quality coaches or facilitators. I’m president of my local soccer club and just getting volunteers can sometimes be challenging but we never limit our numbers based on lack of volunteers we try to ease our parent coaches anxiety by offering training and support|
|Lack of communication from his coaches|
|Coaches may have the Soccer background and teaching methodology but do not have the understanding of Child Psychology and responsibility under the law. When 70% of children are leaving the sport…..are we pushing too hard too early. Are coaches not aware of the law as it applies to their care and welfare of a player BEFORE and AFTER training and matches.
I believe we need a nationwide educational program to insure that youth coaches fully comprehend that the welfare of that child is THEIR responsibility at ALL times.
If there is an area that schools have over clubs this is that area.
|Over aggressive coaches and players in the recreational leagues.|
|I wish kids could/would play pick up soccer games. I did all the time growing up. No adults involved.|
|As a USSF certified youth coach myself, former player and mother to a daughter who plays select soccer, I have a bit broader understanding od thef the challenges on all sides and tend to take a “how can I help” approach more than anything else. My greatest goal would be to educate parents to understand their child “athlete’s” temperament and lifestyle along with setting realistic expectations for themselves as parents and their players. Knowing how to interview and determine what club/coach and system best suits their child’s needs has a significant advantage in developing both the child and the player. Needs vary from child to child and you see a lot of movement of children from club to club here in North Texas 3-6 months in because the parents don’t know how to do the upfront work. On the back end the clubs aren’t all providing focused programs for players and parents either.|
|Lack of communication from the coaching staff.|
|The new rule breaking up our kids into different groups based on birth year versus their own grade. Very sad it was done for a few at the expense of MANNY.|
|Parents coaching from the sideline|
|My one greatest problem is the adults that are involved (mainly coaches and parents) are doing a disservice to our youth with their priority of winning. Their behavior gets out of hand. They berate other coaches as well as our up and coming youth referees.|
|Adults need to let kids be kids.|
|Inconsistent experience with coaches has caused delayed development of skills.|
|Fear of questioning the coach and worried that the questions asked may somehow penalize the child’s growth opportunities with the future of that club.|
|My frustrations lie with the poor quality of American soccer coaching. Clubs function not by developing high quality coaching but by aggregating the best players to win the most games. Players develop on their own just by virtue of practicing with and playing against other high quality players. However, player weaknesses are not pointed out and strengthened through deliberate practice and they stagnate. I cannot tell if the coaches are oblivious to their poor quality (their teams win! they must be good coaches!) or whether they consciously don’t care (I’m getting paid!). One can “seek out” the rare good coaches but frankly even if you can convince your kid to leave his team-mates, chances are that after you’ve switched clubs and endured longer commutes, you’ll end up back in mediocrity the following year.|
|My frustration is the fun and enjoyment being taken away from the early years soccer experience. My little boy just loved to kick his ball around our house and garden, so I signed him up to some local classes. What a big mistake! It was all so serious, drills and rewards withheld for poor performance (he was only 2.5 years!). The fun was sucked out of the game for him. The lesson I have learned is no more Lessons for him until he is at least 6 years old and then they will be carefully vetted/monitored for the all important fun factor.|
|I would like my children to thrive in a positive learning environment. But my frustration is some coaches want to win more than develop the players and put the team before the individuals. I am also concerned with the expectation that they play all year long at young ages, 8-14.|
|To improve communication between the club and parents to elevate the game and ensure a healthy environment for players to thrive. Right now it feels like an us against them set up where parents are marginalized and not informed in a way to support the goals of the club on relation to the player.|
|Getting quality coaching programs and support to get coaches the education they need to meet the needs of the entire child. (Mental, emotional, physical, etc).|
|As a coach, getting parent buy in with development down the long road may not look like winning at u9|
|Knowing how to navigate the whole soccer structure set up. When I played soccer as a youth, I played on the recreation soccer teams until high school and then made the high school team when I was in 10th grade. Now my kids have a whole competitive soccer league set up before high school and there is all this discussion that you want to be on the highest teams possible. I think its important to stay community based- so I’ve stuck with my community league. But they don’t always have teams in all the levels. I think its tricky to know if I should support my league or go find another one with a group that has my kids’ level. Two of my kids have not made the upper division teams and two have. The coaching and push from the upper level teams are really quite a bonus and help my kids improve. The lower teams seem to struggle keeping kids over time to build the program- especially if the team loses all of their games. I think a team needs to win some games to keep it a positive experience for the players. Also, I have always helped coach- when we’ve played in recreation league, but with the competitive league, you need a certificate. I’ve started working on it but I think its an interesting dilemma to know if I have a good enough coach who is already certified and I can support that coach or if I should pursue the training further. I’m not an aspiring soccer coach. I’m just a parent who played soccer and wants a good experience for my kids. I guess thats 2 problems or frustration with the youth soccer experience. Thanks for your education. I’ve enjoyed the information I’ve received from you.|
|My child is dedicated to her team and is tired of the other girls on her team who are not dedicated to soccer, who don’t want to be there and complain the whole time. Or the girls that miss practice for who knows what reasons|
|Inconsistent coaching through the years. As my son put it, “Most soccer coaches are good at developing players, but few are good at developing people.” My greatest frustration is that I’m not sure that coaches realize, or think about, the effect (positive and negative) they have on children’s lives on many different levels.|
|Trying to get honest, constructive feedback on how to help my son develop. Politics and finances play such a large role in youth soccer that the development of the player is fogotten. If less than 5% of players jay in college then it is really important to get as much development as possible.|
|Boys teams getting preferential treatment over girls teams at the younger levels.|
|Inconsistency of coaches-in commitment, in relationship, in feedback, in their own knowledge base and in communication. As a parent, you feel at their mercy with no control and yet you know how much they effect your child’s life.|
|As with all sports, my greatest concern is getting kids on the fast track too soon and specializing in soccer too soon. Our granddaughter is having a wonderful experience in soccer with a club. She didn’t start with the club until she was almost 10 years old, giving her a chance to try our some other sports and activities (e.g., swimming, gymnastics, dance). She love soccer and her club is outstanding. Still, I hope that within the soccer development program for our granddaughter there will be some room for playing other sports, at least for the next year or so. Also, I hope that her club will place some emphasis on upper body strength as well..
|The biggest problem with youth soccer today is quite simply the emphasis on winning over development, from 3v3 through 11v11. Our system emphasizes the decision making of parents preparing their player for college scholarships, coaches getting paid as much as possible and clubs for maximizing revenue by winning championships, often at the expense of kids’ enjoyment of playing the game and developing at an age- and skill-appropriate rate.
This is not unique among youth sports today, sadly. But as we often wonder why our US Soccer Development program struggles to produce top-quality, instinctive talent, we ignore the simple fact that kids are not encouraged at the younger ages to ask questions and play “uncoached” in pick-up style games, and therefore they lack the creativity and savvy to become impactful and instinctive playmakers as they mature. Instead of being outmatched physically, we are consistently out-thought and out-techniqued.
As a country, our approach is outmoded. I hope to see sites like soccerparenting.com succeed in creating more momentum for improvement.
|I played college soccer and now have very young kids (ages 5 and 3). My greatest frustration is that it seems like there is so much focus on games rather than on individual development and enjoyment of the game.|
|I believe this is my goal, challenge, and frustration. Having played the sport when American parents did not take the sport seriously (1970’s), I did not experience it until I became a parent. Parents need to cheer and encourage their children when playing. Parents do not need to coach and/or referee on the sidelines, unless they are actually the coach or the referee. Too many parents confuse the kids when the parent contradicts something the coach is trying to get the kids to do. During games parents who berate the referees drive me crazy. I have said on too many occasion that if they want to be a referee, the cost is about $100 and a day out of their life to get their referee license. Until then cheer for their kid and let them do their job. More often then not, the parent only embarrasses the child by their actions. I have become the parent who sits down at the corner of the sidelines away from all the parents so I do not hear and then say something to make things worse.|
|Frustration – The coaches and higher-ups do not have the players’ (or the family’s) best interest in mind. Very few of our coaches have teenage children of their own and they do not understand the academic demands of the players.
Right now – they are running 4-practices/week. Several of these practices end at 9:30pm! Then they throw in strength training on other days. All of it is “Mandatory”. Most people drive 30-60 minutes to practices and this is a major commitment, especially if we have to juggle other kids.
I really believe that they are losing their way by asking for too much of a commitment. Most of these kids are very passionate about soccer and love to go to practice, but they are also getting stressed from staying up late and trying to find time for school work.
Just 2-years ago our club only practiced twice a week. Now we are at 4-5 times. Starting with kids that are only 13-years old, this is a recipe for burn out.
When the kids only had 2-3 days a week commitment – they would still do training on their own. Or maybe play other sports (the crime of it!)
It seems that these coaches are just making decisions regarding the amount of practice on their own, without any parent input.
|Lack of coordination (at best; antagonism and condescension, at worst) between “competitive” and recreational sides of club.|
|When in your opinion is the time to go with special phisical training for youngsters?
Is it necessarily?
|Too many games not enough practice|
|Greatest Goal: To have fun and exercise.|
|Trying to support my child’s love for soccer while dealing with the politics playing at higher levels of play. How do I teach my son to compete at national tryouts where he should be looked at fairly and then when not chosen, because of the politics, can still hold his head high and continue to work hard for this sport.|
|Commitment of the coaches and club culture|
|Convincing spouse and daughter that year-round soccer and heading are harmful.|
|Frustration at the lack of care for the players as a whole person. Focus seems most on winning and not on player development or growing skills and confidence.|
|No Academy training past U10. So they are forced back into “rec” or club – neither of which I think is beneficial to them right now. That age range between 11-15 (when they get into High School) needs to have a lot of focus so they are not stuck going back into rec or paying high fees for club.|
|Coaches who care more about winning than developing talent.
A close second is that US soccer broke up local teams by changing age groups with no regard for the social bonds teamates had at a recreational level. This is really just an example of the first frustration.
|I am frustrated that kids are expected to play year round. There is no room for other sports (if you can even afford them), despite the fact that studies have shown playing multiple sports is beneficial for children’s development. I worry about repetitive motion injuries because kids spend so much time playing one sport. Also, if you don’t have your child playing year round, you are made to feel that you aren’t doing the best you can to help your child excel in an activity and that they are not going to develop to their full potential. What parent wants to live with the thought that they prevented their child from excelling??|
Convincing youth sports parents of two fallacious lines of reasoning-
1-earlier is better;
2-more is better.
|Too much focus on winning and not learning.|
|The focus of governing bodies via emphasis and funding on the elite divisions and players rather than a more balanced approach that supports the impact soccer can have on citizenship and social change.|
|Kids are pushed into activity after activity – adults fill up their children’s schedules with the best intentions.|
|Having them understand that less is sometimes more. We don’t need multiple long training sessions, tons of games and tourneys. Quite often rest is a good thing as well as time away from soccer for other sports, family time, vacation, school work.|
|Unrealistic parent expectations stealing the joy from youth sport participation.|
|Over involved parents|
|Goal: instill a love of the sport for life in as many players as possible, starting with my children
Challenge: most people at in the game to ‘win trophies now’
Frustration: coaches who do not allow the kids to play, especially at the grassroots (U12 and younger) age groups
|Problem/frustration: Too high a percentage of coaches focused on the team winning, rather than on each individual player improving. Too hard to tell what the coach really believes until you have already committed to the team (pre-tryout talk does not equal in-season actions).|
|As a basketball coach I am shocked how often parents push their daughters away from multi sport participation to year round soccer. The delusion is rampant. Clubs are selling the D-1 scholarship lie to the parents of many many players that have no chance to compete at that level.
Please note my daughter played 4 years of D-1 soccer on an almost full ride (90% ride)
|The lack of discussion of league and team goals for the team…there are so many different levels of play and focus…when it is not clarified it leads to lots Of problems…it would be good if someone create a basic guideline of skill and goal levels that programs could use|
|Play time for young children
For coaches it just seems to be about winning even at an early age
|Greatest goal: Having my children reach their potential.
Greatest problem/frustration: My children informing me that while they are always focused on trying to improve they are on teams with teammates who don’t have the same focus, cause disruption, and make it difficult for them to improve and enjoy the environment.
Greatest challenge: Having coaches who honestly tell you about your child’s development and it translates to them rewarding them for that on the field.
|The fact that coaches assume that all players are playing for a college scholarship and/or to “make” the US National Team.|
|Lack of quality coaching and opportunities in my area.|
|My kid’s greatest challenge is being fast enough. They play at one of the best girl’s ECNL club’s in the US where technical ability and improvement is trained, preached and emphasized but when picking top teams – speed tests weigh as much or more as anything they look at. A proven soccer speed and agility regime – by proven – I mean proven – that really works when it is measured would be a great help. They all train to get faster but how much proof do I have that what they are doing works and works best?|
|Parents who either have unrealistic expectations and/or are living vicariously through their children|
|Lack of quality coaches and playing opportunities. We live in a rural part of the state and our club is very narrow minded in their approach. They claim to have a mission but it is not at all adhered to, except for with the club director’s child’s team.|
|No to very little unstructured play for youth 8 to 12.|
|Consistent developmental style coaching at the young age groups|
|I realize that 90% of youth soccer players are 1st generation players and that that number is down from 98% 20 years ago. This ratio will drop to 70% or 60% in the next 20 years and eventually we will start having 3rd generation players and 2nd generation players as a majority of the youth players. Maybe when children have parents who played soccer and grandparents who played soccer, the problem that I consider frustration with you soccer will solve itself. Currently. the biggest problem in youth soccer is the inexperience of the coaches. The quality of our coaches, for the most part, is appalling. There are almost no coaches teaching the kids what to do when they don’t have the ball. (at least not effectively teaching) I can take any team in the bottom half of the table in any division and move them to winning over 50% of their games within 3 games, and have done so on several occasions. This is easily done by teaching the players what to do when they don’t have the ball, particularly when the other team has the ball. In todays youth games, (and largely in the MLS) there are typically 2 – 3 players from each team involved in the play at any given time. As a starting goal, this needs to be reversed so that there are only 2 – 3 players on each team who are NOT actively involved in the play at any given moment. We must start teaching our youth that if their team is not in possession of the ball, then they are defenders, regardless of their assigned position on the field.|
|It is to fragmented in how we develop players thru the ages. Every team has values, shared beliefs and convictions that guide its decisions and ultimately determine success or failure. For some teams, values are super clear so decisions are easier and more is accomplished with less time and resources. When values are vague, time and resources are misspent and often wasted. We seem devoted in meetings, but when given the opportunity, we take shortcuts. in letting players figure out the game…. To be fair, this may be the fault of leadership.|
|The pressure to succeed. It feels like it’s never about development…just athletic prowess.|
|Clubs that have lost control of their coaches and/or don’t bother to set and enforce downtime and training for recovery and fitness and instead have players on a socccer field multiple times per week for 48 weeks of the year.|
|My greatest frustration with my childrens’ soccer experience in our area is our local clubs misguided belief that we are a premier club – we are a recreational club and will forever be one. Let’s make decisions that reflect that fact and stop pretending to be something that we are not and will ever be. Let’s be the best club we can be in our state for our recreational players. As you have mentioned so many times, the most we can hope for are high school-level players who love the game, have a healthy activity they are competent in for the rest of their lives and have been treated with respect and dignity throughout their career.|
|PARENT EDUCATION on LONG-TERM Player Development!|
|Parents don’t believe in development, they feel their child(ren) need to win to grow, they feel results (the only thing they understand) are the measuring stick.|
|Over-involved parents consistently yelling and coaching from the sidelines and clubs / refs / coaches not making it clear and then ENFORCING any rules that prohibit that behavior. It is so toxic and absolutely ruins my enjoyment of the game while it impedes the kids’ growth and I have not figured out how to change this culture within my own kid’s team.|
|Politics. Certain players getting opportunities due to their parents on boards or friends with the coaches or managers. Perception is reality when it comes to sport teams and although this may not always be the case, optics prove otherwise.|
|Direct and clear Communication from coaches|