“If you pay more for it, it must be better” is true when you’re talking about sushi, but when it comes to your child’s soccer experience, there are lots more that comes into play than the age of the tuna.
Select soccer, generally defined, is soccer played between teams where the participants needed to try-out for the team and were selected. Based on this, the cost for participating on a select team is more than it would be for a rec team.
There are a couple reasons.
1) Coaching fees. The coaches for select team usually have either licenses or certifications, or have professional experience. Because of their gained knowledge, they are pricier than a dad who picked up a “Soccer for Football Player” book.
2) Tournaments. Select teams are made for competitions and one of the best way to test a teams ability is to spend 2 days playing at least 3 games against competitive teams. Some of these tournments require over nighht stays.
So what do I get for my money?
Professional coaching. The coach will have had multiple years of experience as a player and coahincg which will help focus your child’s growth. Sure, some rec coaches have had similar experience, but there are other things that add to the select experience.
Tournaments, especially away tournements. Nothin is funner for a kid than to spend time in a hotel pool with their friends and teammates.
The level of competition. Other select teams are competitive by nature and thus the teams that your child’s team will play will be better. Kids learn more by playing against better competition and there is no comparison between select and rec teams. I’ve noticed that rec soccer almost seems polite. The girls on my select team I would not characterize as polite. They are agressive and technically sound and they will do anything legal to get the ball, control the ball, and score.
Practice. Because of the extra expense, the kids that make up a select team are more committed to soccer. They are more likely to show up to practice in the frame of mind to get better and spend the time focused. Also, select teams practice 2 or 3 times a week and some of the kids practice on off days with other soccer realated activities.
And practice is important for another reason. Unlike rec soccer, not every player needs to play at least half the game. I’ve had no problems sitting a player for the majority of a game due to their practice habits.
Ok, I am a select coach and I have been playing for more than a couple decades. What I have seen on the rec side is a hit or miss when it comes to the quality of the coaching. I’ve seen rec teams which don’t seem to know that soccer was supposed to be played with a midfield, or that the goalie actually doesn’t need to punt the ball all the times. Even the basic ability to kick a ball is a technique that some rec coaches can’t fathom. Yes, Susie can kick the crap out of the ball when she uses her toe, but she just put out a window in the parking lot. Select soccer gives your child, or any child, the opportun ity to grow as a soccer player and have experiences beyond just showing up for an hour of practice once a week and a game on the weekend. It’s an experience.