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Crafting Your Soccer Experience

Crafting Your Soccer Experience

Update: 2019-12-09
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Imagine youth sports as a buffet as opposed to a take-it-leave-it proposition. Here's the situation today: our pricing is our pricing. The experience is the one we decide we will deliver. I believe we can make a dent in the pay-to-play environment if we do a little bit extra and tailor the youth soccer experiences we offer to the kids who want them. 













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Imagine gathering a groups of your friends together and deciding you just want to knock the ball around in low-pressure games close to home, but hit the road a couple of times per year for tournaments just to make life exciting. Can you find that in the market today? Can you select the experience you want? Most likely, you can't. Most people are overpaying in my experience - with much of the cost going to things we have no visibility over.  Changing this paradigm requires some creative thinking, but we love creative thinking, don't we? Let's do some now. There are roughly eight (8) options that need to be configured in order to construct a youth soccer experience for kids. The market surrounding a club or organization sets some of the cost parameters, but to a large degree, many of these parameters are adjustable. * Practice fields: quantity and type* Referees 1, 2, or 3-person system* How much time do we want to invest? 2x per week, 3x per week? more?* What kind of game fields do we want to play on?* Do we want tournament play? If so, how many and at what levels?* How much are we willing to pay for uniforms?* What is our optimal price per player and how can we adjust that up or down to accommodate different families? Fundraising?* What level of competition do our players want or need? We might add extras in there like whether or not we want or need specialty trainers, but there is no "perfect" environment for all players. Some players don't need the full treatment. Some just want to kick a ball with friends. Families at all levels of need have a right to find (or create) the experience that works for them. So What?Here's the inspiration behind this: I can't understand why a game that's played barefoot on dirt in some places needs to cost my families thousands of dollars. Yo might say we need turf fields and expensive coaches, but I'd argue that professionalization of youth sports is fed by lights, turf fields, expensive uniforms,  snack stands, and food trucks. So we really need all this stuff for most youth games? If we really had a national system of advancement and relegation that allowed teams (preferably over the age of 14) to play up through state, regional, and national rankings; I could see nice fields and sponsored uniforms waiting at the end of the journey. For the 98.6% of regular kids in the United States who just want to play soccer and have fun with their friends, I think maybe not so much. We played on regular grass fields when we were young. Did Mia Hamm start playing on turf fields as a kid? Nope. She played on regular grass just like the rest of us. Even through her time on the Women's National Team, she played on grass. It was nice grass, but it still turned brown and got kicked up when cleats pounded on it. Mia Hamm takes a corner kick, 1995 Please: support the show and join our community as a Patron through my Patreon pageWere Kids Worse Off?I think kids sweat just as hard, experience just as many emotions, get the same benefits from teamwork, and have to master sportsmanship just as well at $100 as they do at $10,000 (yes, I've recently heard reference to $10,000+ annual cost for some travel programs - though a...
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Crafting Your Soccer Experience

Crafting Your Soccer Experience

David Dejewski