Lavers: How to navigate your child’s youth soccer path

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Lavers: How to navigate your child’s youth soccer path

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider. It was written by Christian Lavers, President of the ECNL.

The choice of where to have your child play youth soccer can be very difficult. Multiple clubs, “select teams,” or leagues will tout their services or programs, often with promises of glory down the road. There is no shortage of choices for where your child can spend the next year of development – and in the United States, parents have more choice than in any other country.

The number of choices can be overwhelming — especially to parents without a soccer background. When there are different people selling different services, often in different leagues, and all emphasizing the importance of choosing their club, it is no surprise that people make choices that they will regret in the future. This raises a key question:

How do I choose a soccer club for my child?

While there is no easy answer to this question, there is one key principle that should guide your decision: the single most important external factor in any player’s development is the quality of the coach working with the player on a regular basis. The impact of this individual, especially at U8-U14, far outweighs the league the team plays in, the success of the team, or any other factor. Quite simply, great coaches at these ages help motivated players maximize their ability.

Read the entire article here.