Thursday, July 19, 2007

JT's Blog - Forget about Scholarships for a While - July 19

JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.

This past weekend, I participated in the North Texas Youth Soccer Association’s Annual General Meeting. I was afforded an opportunity to perform two field sessions and two classroom sessions.

In one of the class room session called Win or lose, we discussed parents and coaches thoughts on youth players and scholarship for them. Many of the participants discussed parents who believed that the earlier they started their child playing soccer, the better chance they would have to obtain that scholarship offer in the future. Coaches sometime joke about starting to scout for players at under two, but for the most part it’s all in fun. Let’s hope we don’t go there.

As a soccer parent or coach, you may be setting yourself up for a disappointment if you start expecting a return on your investment because of the money and time that you have spent on training and games. From a financial standpoint, you are much better off taking the money you spent on your child’s training and travel activities and investing it directly in a fund for their college. A less risky investment approach is to think of enjoying time with your child. The good and bad news about youth travel soccer is that a great deal more time is spent traveling and waiting than actually playing the games. This means that you will be afforded the luxury of having huge chunks of time with your child. That is wonderful.

You can make some wonderful memories out of that time together. That time together and the money spent will probably be easier to deal with if you don’t view your child’s soccer training and games as a ticket to their (and your) future. If your child is to be a collegiate or professional athlete, it will most likely happen but not because you made it happen. It will happen because of their athletic ability. In the meantime and in the not so distant future, you may not have as many opportunities to hang out with your child. Remember the hours you spend with them can sometimes go by so slow, but the years seem to go by so fast.

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