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Julie Foudy, Anthony DiCicco, Ian Barker, Jay DeMerit

Soccer Leaders Chime In On “Why Parent Engagement is Important”

The term “Parent Engagement” has become a buzzword in youth soccer recently. Clubs are working to develop Parent Engagement Programs and, likewise, parents are being encouraged to get more involved.  There is some confusion though.

What does Parent Engagement mean?

Parents often are confused because historically they have been told to DISengage.  Parents know they don’t want to hover or be a helicopter parent, they don’t want to be labelled a “crazy soccer parent” and so the concept of Parent Engagement is confusing.

Coaches are confused because they have been told by mentors to not get too close to parents, or to ignore them all together. Perceived and actual barriers have been constructed between coaches and parents with the idea that this will make the youth soccer environment better.

To build some clarity around the concept of Parent Engagement, I asked every speaker (yes, all 21 of them!) from the Soccer Parenting Summit:

What does Parent Engagement mean to you?  Why is Parent Engagement important?

The responses (see video below) from the youth soccer leaders, coaches, and performance experts were varied.  Clearly there is a lack of certitude around the topic, even for our youth soccer leadership.

However, common themes emerged.  Parents must feel responsible for asking the right questions when searching for soccer environments for their child.  Parents must feel empowered to ask, in the right way, for an environment that best suits the development of their child. Parents must be informed.  Parents must feel the door is opened to them by clubs and coaches.

Our youth soccer landscape needs improvement. Not everywhere.  Not in all ways.  But we can do better.

Parents are the ones responsible for holding clubs and coaches accountable to these important and essential changes.

Parents must be ACTIVATED.  The switch needs to be turned on and the Level Headed Parents need to be called to action.

What more can be done to activate parents?  Please spread the word about the Soccer Parent Resource Center: SoccerParentResourceCenter.com - a parent education platform brought to you by SoccerParenting.com.

Join us and help us find the path to a youth soccer environment in which all children, and the next generation of soccer playing children, will thrive.

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Skye Eddy

Founder, SoccerParenting.com
Skye is a former All-American goalkeeper, professional player and collegiate coach. She holds her USSF "B" License and USSF National Goalkeeper License and is an active youth coach, soccer parent and coach educator.