I am often asked why I started the Soccer Parenting Association.
It’s a story that comes down to one word: QUALITY.
My daughter’s U-8 soccer environment was not one of quality. The fields and facilities were excellent but the instruction and inspiration for learning was lacking.
The lack of quality made me stressed – and while there are many stresses parents feel on the sidelines as our children grow up in the game – if I peeled back the layers of my stress – at the core – was the lack of a quality environment.
This is a challenging subject for any soccer parent to bring up to a coach or a club.
Often, the coach or club becomes defensive. Things can quickly get turned around and twisted to be an issue with the parent. All the sudden the coach or club often assumes that the real the problem is that you are a crazy parent upset with your child’s lack of playing time, or not willing to accept the fact that your child isn’t going to be the next Mia or Messi. Suddenly you are THAT parent…when in reality, you are not.
All you seek for your child is a quality environment.
Is that too much to ask?
Soccer Parenting was born from this ABSOLUTELY NOT sentiment.
Knowing there is strength in numbers, I looked around for the parents that were ready and willing to rally with me and help facilitate a change to a more effective developmental environment for our children – I couldn’t find many of them.
Learn more about the
Everything you need to help your child be inspired by the game!
When I looked around on the sidelines I saw parents who were complacent and appeared satisfied with the environment. They were not complacent because they didn’t want what was best for their child – most often, they were complacent because didn’t understand how great the best could be.
There were 4 primary reasons for this complacency:
- Parents didn’t have the soccer background they needed to understand it could be better and so they therefore assumed – since the club was large and had been around for many years and the facilities were amazing – that the environment was okay.
- Parents who did have a soccer background were second-guessing themselves – assuming their child’s lack of engagement and lack of enthusiasm and enjoyment was due to the pressure they must be feeling or their child’s lack of talent.
- Parents felt their child was doing okay. They were performing well and happy to go to practice. There didn’t seem to be a glaring issue at hand.
- Parents didn’t want to step up and raise their concerns to the coaches and club because they didn’t want to be “that parent” and for their child to possibly not make the team at the next tryout.
Parents need to be engaged, empowered and educated as to the possibilities that exist in youth soccer. We need to unite and work together to ensure our children are in an environment that promotes the Soccer Parenting Value Statements: Active Health, Coach Integrity, Life Lessons, Soccer Knowledge, Love of the Game and Balanced Outlook.
This is not an US VERSUS THEM situation…. This is an US, WITH THEM, FOR THE KIDS situation.
Our voices together are much stronger than alone.
Alone – we seem like crazy soccer parents.
Together – we become a movement.
And, that’s just what we need. A movement: A force that creates enough energy to ignite positive change in youth soccer.
- Our children must be treated well – challenged and out of their comfort zone – by a coach filled with integrity, professionalism and compassion.
- The coach must be prepared and engaged for practices – creating an environment of optimal learning, development and fun.
- The coach must continually seek education – so they have an appropriate level of soccer knowledge commensurate with the level and age they are coaching.
- The club must oversee the coach – establishing communication guidelines and minimum standards they can be held accountable towards.
- The organizing bodies – the leagues and U.S. Soccer – must keep ALL children’s interests and safety, regardless of their potential to play at a high level, at the forefront of their decision making process.
A parent (and like-minded coach) movement insisting on these minimum standards will be the foundation for the quality youth soccer environment we seek.
The Soccer Parenting Association seeks to enhance every child’s youth soccer experience by empower parents to learn more, have high standards and seek quality environments.
If you are not able to collaborate and communicate openly with your coach, club staff or Board – It’s time to ask for change. For me personally, after being witness to my daughter’s U-8 soccer experience, this entailed advocating for myself to be named to the Board, and being a (often uncomfortable) voice of change.
Seven years after my daughter started in the Club we now have a new Executive Director, a talented, committed and organized Board, a tremendously energized and growing staff of coaches and administrators, and a much-improved developmental environment.
More than anything, the Club is comprised of quality people who strive to continually improve.
Just like we seek quality for our children – we must seek it in our coaches, clubs, leagues and U.S. Soccer.
We need to surround ourselves with good people who seek to be better – because isn’t that exactly what we seek for our children – and don’t each one of them deserve it?