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Why do many soccer players not make it to the top team?

Posted by on in Youth Soccer development
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b2ap3_thumbnail_never-make-it.jpgThis topic will UPSET many people & clubs so get ready!

Here is the Scenario: No matter how hard you try and how long you train, you still struggle to make the “TOP TEAM” in your club. You are not the most athletic player at your club, but you work hard but never seem to make it to that next teir.

If this is your case, you are just one of thousands of frustrated parents,  field players and goalkeepers who’ve tried for years to make the “top” team and still can’t make it!! WHY?

Now this post is not about that athletic athlete that everyone knows is a first team player. Here we are talking about the athletes that have struggled to make higher teams.

Here is the very sad news:

Unfortunately in many cases, it comes down to who you know (Politics), and many times, how much money you are willing to spend to make that top team.

As I travel around the State of California and around the US, often times, youth club coaches ALREADY know or they’ve pre-selected who they want on their teams, even before the kids show up to tryouts. So when the new kid comes to tryouts, they are basically trying out for the lower teams. It is extremely political!!

I decided to interview several coaches and I’ve also spoken to hundreds of parents from the area who are dying to have their kids in a higher team for the following reasons:

  • Bragging rights: some kids & parents only want to say “I play for the highest team”
  • “College showcase”, kids are promised that if you play for X,Y,Z team you will go to these tournaments and you will get recruited by colleges. (expensive trips)
  • Promises that their kid will get to play for the National Team.
  • They think the best team mean the best training
  • Better coaches (If you ask EVERY club, they will say they have the best coaches in the State. Everyone will tell you the same thing.)

There is also another serious and unfair issue:

There are organizations or field player programs in California that have their own camps in the area, and since they “know people”, they get hired to run programs. If you are NOT part of their weekly programs, more than likely you will NEVER make those teams. So who you know, plays a big part. What if you don’t have the money to pay for expenses weekly sessions from these outside organizations? Then I guess you will never make the team!


Many of these youth clubs and organizations are managed by former athletes or former players with no business experience or even very young directors who make decisions based emotions and popularity. Also, lots of clubs have created a “clan” of coaches that are more interested in having winning seasons than spending time on DEVELOPING “not so gifted” players and making everything possible to help players get to TOP teams. After all, that’s what youth clubs are supposed to do. Remember: YOU PAY LOTS OF MONEY TO THESE CLUBS!!!

Plus, there are only few “TOP” level teams in every club but there are more than 500 kids enrolled in these youth clubs. Therefore, chances are that only few will make it to a top team and the rest of you will need to simply figure it out on your own.

Whatever the reason, there is a problem in how clubs select players for top teams. As result, there are so many great players who will NEVER play for top teams.

If you are one of those players, you must focus on things that are in your control rather than things that are out of your control. You can continue to train and push yourselves but also do your own work and search for better opportunities. If your goal is to play in college there are so many ways to do that that are not just about what team you play on…Here are some tips:

- According to UCLA  coach, Aline Reis, she stated that “there are so many colleges in the US, there is one out there that is best for you.” She also stated that you can be discovered by sending emails, going to their ID camps, and perhaps be part of certain tournaments around the country. Use marketing tools to reach to them directly.

- Don’t get CAUGHT UP with the hype of “YOU MUST BE IN A HIGH-LEVEL TEAM” to go to a great college. You need to be aware of all the NCAA regulations, have excellent grades & go to their ID camps so that you can be directly exposed to the particular college you want to go. You can also be a guest for teams who like to play at certain tournaments. In addition, phone calls, emails & texts, socila media, linkedin etc….There are different possibilities & combinations to be exposed but it will require more persistence & patience.

Please know that there are hundreds of frustrated parents & players going through this. Parents have the power to manipulate this problem and change the way things are done in clubs today. As parents, you must demand better of the clubs and coaches you are paying. As players, you must do the work to make the top team have no reason not to pick you. Hard work and dedication must be your mantra. Time to get focused!



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