Why Club Soccer Is NOT The Best Game In Town!

soccer time on chalkboard

Town Team or Club Soccer?

For many kids interested in playing soccer, a decision on whether they will play for a town sponsored soccer team or a club soccer team will need to be made.

Fear not.

What makes this decision difficult is that there are excellent advantages to both forms of soccer as well as some significant disadvantages.

However, by learning these factors now, athletes can ensure that they make the best decision to fit their personal soccer goals.

Town Team’s Advantages

Town soccer teams are organized either by a town recreational department or a group of volunteers.  These clubs are offered to children of all abilities and are fairly inexpensive (especially for residents of the town itself).

What is great about these teams is that everyone, no matter their ability is welcome to participate.  Depending on the size of the town and the surrounding town’s interest, a game schedule is normally constructed that ensures that athletes play their games within close proximity to their base of operations.

Town teams are great for players who are just starting out with soccer or for those who do not want to expend the time and money in having their children play further away from home.

Town Team’s Disadvantages

Due to the low cost of these programs, town team’s regularly have a difficult time finding qualified coaches to instruct their athletes.  In many cases, the coach is a volunteer parent who possesses little knowledge of the game of soccer.  This can lead to disorganized practices and very little individual instruction.

Town teams also have a limited game schedule based both on facility availability and the number of other teams in their area.  For motivated soccer players, this issue is normally the most significant.

Club Team Advantages

Club teams are normally run by private organizations that either possess their own facility or rent one for the duration of the season.  These programs are able to hire highly trained coaches to run their teams, giving players a high level of personalized instruction throughout their season.

Most club teams also travel a further distance from their home base for games, giving players an extensive game schedule with a high level of competition; two critical factors in ensuring players experience a maximum level of improvement throughout their season.

Club Team Disadvantages

Club teams normally require players to pay a substantial fee upfront to cover uniforms, coaches and tournament registration fees.  As there are a wide range of club team tournaments available throughout New England, parents will also experience an increased cost associated with transporting their children to these games.

More sobering: don’t get sucked into an soccer club “arms race” of training and competition that may be unnecessary. There are only so many great soccer players, for whom elite training and competition is really needed to help them fully develop.

For so many others, there is an ample supply of great training and the right level of competition will teach them the game, help them grow and prepare them to play in high school. That can be achieved with town programs and local clubs, for the vast majority of athletes.

Finding out Your Child’s Goals in Soccer Will Greatly Assist in Finding the Right Program

The most important factor in finding the right soccer program for each young athlete is to determine what they want to get out of it. Some kids/parents just want exercise, some think they have a prospect for The Revolution, some want their introvert child to come out of their shell – the reasons go and on.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that young athletes enjoy their experience with the game, if they do, no matter what program they elect to participate in, everyone should come out a winner.

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  1. USSoccer policies do not restrict players from being multiple rostered. Why does MA do that and why for only U15 and up? There is no school soccer in the Spring and no Club U15 and up in the Fall.

    1. We have heard that Mass Youth Soccer is considering a change to allow U15 and up to play for club and town travel if the club does not compete in the same tournaments?. Does anyone know if this is true? Should we be sending emails lobbying for approval?

  2. Can a child play for two club soccer teams? Or am I nuts for even considering it?

    1. For the Fall or Spring Season, Yes up to the U14 Age level players can play both town and club soccer in Massachusetts. Both Club and Town Travel Teams at the top levels have competitive soccer leading to League playoffs and State Tournaments in the Spring. One should look into seeing what you want for your child in playing competitive soccer prior to making a decision at the High School Age. Starting at U15 one needs to play either Town Travel or Club Soccer , Like MAPLE, in the Spring seasons.

  3. Some towns have good youth soccer programs. For most, town soccer serves many kids well at the younger ages. At the ages of 11-12 many top tier players join club organizations.

    1. Parents can decide to have their kids play both town and club for a while, but many will pull out of town soccer completely. As the talent pool leaves town, clubs will be the only way to face the highest level of competition.

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