Perception vs. Reality-it’s a tough thing to overcome!

Just when you think you have heard it all, I over hear a conversation between a few parents that leaves me dumbfounded.  The conversation went something like this:

“I cannot believe the club switched the location of the small sided soccer field to the upper field area where the full sided used to be. I heard it was because they wanted the full sided field closer to the parking lot because that is where most of the board members kids play their games.”

Where do people come up with things like this?

Whether you are a coach, administrator or board member we all hear the rumors and misconceptions about how decisions are made and why they were made.  It is about time for these complainers to step up and volunteer their time or keep their mouth shut.  They need to trust that the volunteer decision makers are making unilateral decisions based on what is best for the kids.

FYI-The reason the field was moved to the upper area of the complex, was to reduce the wear and tear of that grass area with younger age players occupying the small sided field for games.  These players are much lighter in weight and play less games.  Does this make sense?

I have listed a few misconceptions below that you may want to share with your membership as I am confident these are very common with other clubs as well;

#1 “I really want to help on the soccer board but it is like a closed club and impossible to become a part of it“

Most soccer boards (for any youth sport for that matter) would take “warm bodies” at this point.  There is such lack of volunteering today the reason the boards do not change very much is there is no one there to volunteer their time. Whether it is one hour a week or twelve hours a week, reach out to the board and let them know you can help!


#2 “That recreation team, a board member is coaching, has not lost a game. They really stacked that team for him.”

One of the most difficult things to do in a recreation program is balance the teams, honor the friend requests & sift through the coaches who are trying to stack their teams.  The last thing any board wants is for a division to be unbalanced.  There is no exact science and you can be assured that most clubs are trying to make fair and balanced teams.  In fact, that team the board member is coaching that is winning every game, he does not even have a kid on the team and had to coach it because there were no volunteers to take the team J.

#3 “Travel tryouts are coming up but my son has almost no chance to make the town team that has been together for two years”

There is most likely a process in place to evaluate the players at your club tryouts.  While it may be more difficult for a new player to make the team it will most likely not be because they are new to the team.  The new player trying to make the team may not have been getting as much training as the original team members have for the past two years. The skills needed to compete with the group may be lacking.  Seek out a team that fits your child’s skill level and if your town does not have one, look at surround towns which may have different level teams in the age group.

#4 “I have sent an email and left a voice mail for the soccer club to call me back. I cannot believe nobody picks up the phone at their office”

The reality is-there is no office.  Many town clubs do not have a paid staff or a designated place to call an office.  Meetings are held at local recreation halls or town meeting rooms.  Money is sometimes charged to rent these rooms for the meetings.  The volunteers juggle their busy schedules and do their best to get back to people as quickly as possible.  Have some patience and realize they are volunteers.

The bottom line is, without the volunteer’s there is no club.  Don’t be a complainer, be a volunteer and maybe you can add your ideas to help make your club an even better one.

(Tyler Isaacson is a club president, travel coach, recreation coach, youth player, college player and dad. He has 30 years of playing and coaching experience. He is the founder of youthsoccer101.com a leader in on-line coaching education for all levels.)