Its that time of year when a lot of soccer teams go indoors and bring in some new players for a trial with their team. You may be one of those players who is guest playing with another team at an indoor tournament or as a secondary player. If you do well, the coach from that team may invite you to join that team on a permanent basis. What is your response going to be?
From a D3 college recruiting perspective and a player perspective, there are several pros and cons. As we discussed in the High School vs Club Soccer post, some of these are going to be similar. Each player has to weigh the differences to decide what is best for them.
Pro #1: Higher recruiting profile- Presumably you are leaving a less competitive club team to play for a more competitive club team. The more competitive team is going to play in more events (college showcases, tournaments, state cups, etc.) where you will have an opportunity to get noticed by more D3 (and D1 and D2) coaches. If you make it to the really big tournaments or jump up to an ECNL or Academy team, that attention will be even greater. Which brings us to some Cons.
Con #1: Higher cost- All of the tournaments and trips do not come for free. There is a price to pay. Some players on higher end club teams are paying over $10,000 per year to be on that team. If money is not an issue for you that is great, but for the other 90% of the world it certainly is something to think about.
Con #2: Time Commitment- Playing for a more competitive club team is going to mean more hours on the practice field, more hours on the game field, and more hours driving to and from the practice/game fields. It can take up a huge chunk of your time with very few breaks during the year. It really becomes a lifestyle choice! However, this leads to Pro #2.
Pro #2: Striving to be the Best- If you want to become the best soccer player you can and get lots of attention from college coaches across all divisions, then jumping up to a more competitive team will provide this. If you want to play against the best competition, then moving to a more competitive team will afford you this opportunity as well. If you like to push yourself and have yourself pushed to be the best, then this move is something to consider.
There are also some other considerations about this making this move as well.
#1- Playing Time- Are you being added as the 18th player to fill out numbers on the roster? Is the team losing players and they need bodies? Will you be getting 5 minutes per game or 50 minutes per game? Will the coach only put you in when the team is up by a big margin? It is an important question to ask.
#2- Playing with Friends- Do you have 17 friends that you are leaving behind on your old team? Do you have any friends that you will be playing with on the new team? Is that important in your decision or do you just want to play?
#3- Team Chemistry- How do fit in with the existing structure of the team and the existing team chemistry? Again, is this important in your decision? Do you feel that you can mix in well with other players on the team or are they already to close knit of a group that you will always be on the outside?
The bottom line is this— Jumping from one club team to another can be a great move for you as a player. However, it can also backfire if you do it for the wrong reasons. Be sure to consider all of the pros and cons before making the switch.
Thanks to everyone for a great 2011!
Any questions, please direct them to email@example.com.