10 Rules for Soccer Mom Survival

From the ForumThis  guest post is one of the best posts to the forum in a long time.  We share it on the blog for all of you!

10 Rules for Soccer Mom Survival
(A Survival Guide for Navigating Youth Club Soccer in AMERICA)

I offer guide below in the hope of some semblance of reason can be restored the culture of apathy which has engulfed American parents especially those of female players with the astonishing explosive popularity of women’s youth soccer in the US. I hope it can be seen as a voice of reason and roadmap for others given what our family has learned over the course of 10 faithful years in the sport.

It is a set of rules or lessons we have gleaned amidst a sport that has become drastically over-professionalized, over paid, and over-hyped. Fundamentally, America is a competitive country and we should all strive to be our best. As parents who pays $3,000 – $5,000 per year per kid when you include all ancillary costs; we are by our nature A type personalities and generally the more successful and driven in the pack. As are our children!
Most players will tell you they play club to hopefully advance to a “D1 college program and/or scholarship”. The good news is any kid who plays soccer for any amount of time in any organized fashion can find a college program to suit their interest. This is still America you may not be headed to Chapel Hill but if you can kick a ball you can play somewhere.
The rules that are below are empirically tested and may seem counter intuitive to your protective nature you have with your child. Trust me they are constant, time tested and you player will benefit emotionally and psychologically. Continue reading

Next CAYSA President Faces Challenges, Needs Vision

As Art Brown’s time as CAYSA president comes to an end, CAYSA membership would do well to reflect on the changes that CAYSA has undergone, the challenges facing the organization, and how it can assure itself of continuing relevance in the soccer community.  Art has shepherded CAYSA through a time of change.  Now CAYSA must act on that change.

Twenty years ago, CAYSA was a dominant force in Western District and STYSA soccer.  All Centex clubs registered all their players through CAYSA and represented the organization throughout the state and often into regional play.  CAYSA tournaments were well attended, annual events sometimes drawing teams from Mexico.  Every winter, the CAYSA convention offered clinics, workshops and help in the nuts and bolts of running a soccer organization.  Everyone from the U6 crowd to the D1 only clubs with *gasp* paid coaching directors were united under the CAYSA banner.  As the organization neared 20,000 players, land was acquired, fields were built and all seemed rosy for CAYSA’s future.

Continue reading

What’s Better: Paid or Volunteer Coaches?

Courtesy Mike Slatton

Paid vs. Volunteer Coaches

From the street or parking lot, club soccer looks like a well structured, purposeful machine that is busy developing the future of American soccer. From the sidelines and the clubhouse though, it’s obvious that club soccer has no real direction at all.  Over the last couple of decades, clubs have started PAYING their volunteers and treating youth soccer like a franchise. Soccer clubs are acting like publicly traded companies, putting revenue ahead of everything else, most importantly: player development. The youth players of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s are now all trying to make a living in the game that they love. The predominant reason for the MASSIVE increase in youth soccer club fees over the last few years is that soccer clubs all around the country have started paying their volunteers.  From the top to the bottom, EVERYONE is getting paid (see the article: Where does all the money go? (Youth Soccer Fees).   This means that most youth soccer clubs have moved past the role of community (oriented) service provider to just service provider.  The service, of course, is to provide a safe, controlled environment for children to play soccer.  The PURPOSE of youth soccer clubs has nothing to do with training or development.   There are however a few hold-outs; there is a minority percentage of clubs that are still community oriented and have volunteer coaches, administrators and facility maintenance, and charge fees that are a small fraction of clubs that are just in the business of service soccer clubs.   This therefore leads to the question, “Which is better: Paid or Volunteer coaches?

Continue reading

Considering Changing Clubs? A Soccer Mom’s Advice

From the ForumI found this forum around a year ago when my youngest was considering changing clubs. I went here hoping to find information about the various clubs in the Austin area to figure out where would be a good fit for the youngest. While I did find some useful information, I did have to wade through a lot of mudslinging, chest thumping and crazy generalizations made by hopefully well-meaning parents (and probably coaches) to help youngest figure where (s)he should look.

I’ve come to love reading this forum (who doesn’t love a little bit of the crazy mixed in with good info?) so to contribute, I thought I’d offer up advice and some perspective based on our experience last year. It’s a very stressful and confusing process; especially if you’re leaving a club for the first time after many years. (By the way, I’m purposely being vague about my kids gender and what clubs were part of our decision in order to avoid any speculation of who we are. Not that it’s a big deal, but the only attention I want my kids to have from soccer parents/coaches is when they’re on the pitch.) Continue reading

Dallas Cheer Coach Arrest Highlights Limits of Criminal Background Checks

Courtesy SoccerRisk.com

A Dallas area cheer and dance coach was arrested while attempting to board a flight for France on charges of molesting three of his students. (Full Story Here).  A variety of stories are posted on the internet that detail various aspects of the case.  These articles paint a picture that is far too familiar.  Moreover, the articles and the comments of the police highlight a growing myth in risk management that frankly is reaching the point of creating as much or more risk to the participants than it prevents.  The issue again, is the over-reliance on background checks, and the myth that conducting a background check somehow absolves the association of the need to do anything further.

Continue reading