Don’t fall for false promises

I remember when I was a kid that playing in the street I found a soccer ball. It was full of mud, and barely could be found in the middle of the bush. I took it home, washed it, cleaned it up and that ball became my friend. We had lots of fun, we cried and laughed together. I helped her, and she helped me.

Certain day after the school started, one kid came and said to me that that ball belonged to him. After he proved that the ball was his before, I let him took my “friend”. This kid didn’t care about the ball, he had so many balls at home, he just wanted to have it all. That ball never had the “love” that I gave her again, it was just another ball in the backyard. Still remember the moments that we passed together, and I can imagine how good we were to each other.

Today, in this article I’ll talk about the “false promises” and how some agents and parents are dealing with the kids development like if was a “ball in the middle of the bush”.

The season is almost over for some, and it’s starting for others. In this period of time is very common seeing agents (directors and managers) at the fields and facilities trying to “fish” the best kids, promising everything just to “catch them”. They offer free seasons, free transportation to practices and games, stuff like that… Sometimes the parents don’t think on the consequences and they agree.

  • What can go wrong?
  • It’s this movement affecting my kid’s development? Good way or bad way?
  • What’s my son’s opinion about it?
  • How is this new team methodology, and philosophy for the young ages?
  • What’s the environment that my kid will find in the new team?
  • Should I trust the current team, or should I look for save some money in my pocket?

This are some of the questions that parents should ask themselves before accepting any offers.

After watching “No Hunger in Paradise” by Michael Calvin, it made me think what kind of protection the players have for “false promises”? Very often we heard stories about “big clubs stripping small clubs”, big clubs have more economic power and they can offer better deals and more conditions, but can they offer a better environment and a better development?

Recently, 3 players from a “small teams” were picked by a MLS team academy to go play for them. They’re young (around 10 or 12 years old), when they left that was no compensation (financially) to the old team. Two years passed by, and they got released by the MLS team, now they need to look for a new team. They’re at the age that majority of the kids drop sports (around 12/14 years old, 7 in every 10 kids drop sports), what protection and guidance they got from the “big club”? What should be the approach and the obligation of a team like this to release a player that they REMOVED from a healthy environment? Should the associations have some kind of contract to protect the players and the “small clubs”?

When I was a kid (around 14 years old), the team where I used to play after the pre season decided that I would not have enough game time, so they decided to loaned me to a smaller team where I could get my game time. At the time, I was obsessed, but afterwards I realized that was the right choice and that was done to help me improving my game.

Most of the times, parents forget that they are making decisions that can affect the children’s life forever, they need to be wise and responsible, not to just think about the money that they can possibly do or save. A wrong decision can define a bright future or a early drop off from the game.

As a player, I was very lucky. I always had parents and coaches around me that took care of me, like I took care of that ball (from the beginning of the article). I may never reached a high level, but I always had the support and guidance that I needed.

Don’t let the kids be “just another ball in the basket”, they need somebody to take the properly care of them.

(all my articles are based in my opinions and beliefs, please share with us your thoughts and opinions on the comments below).

P.S. Setting goals can help you during this process! Check out our online course  “How to set clear and successful goals to your soccer team?”

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Soccer Coach at Benfica Soccer School of Toronto and Soccer HUB content specialist. Founder of Canadian Soccer Coaches Network!

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