As tryout season is upon us, many are deciding what clubs to tryout or accept bids from. There is a lot of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), in recruiting about what club to play for. Does playing for a certain club get you more exposure for recruiting? Does it help get you to a higher level? Will it help you get to your dream school?
I get a lot of clients asking me if they should change clubs (mostly solely for the purpose of recruitment). There are clubs out there claiming if you play for them that your college soccer recruitment will be improved. My personal opinion is that the club you play for DOES NOT change your trajectory. If you are not a high-level NCAA Division I player, changing clubs won’t get you to that level. For the most part, you are what you are.
I have seen a lot of players change clubs for one reason or another. Based on circumstances, sometimes it can help a player in recruitment, but most of the time, it does not change things a whole lot, despite the clubs that are telling you that “joining their club will get you to your dream school”. Changing clubs is a personal decision and there is a lot that goes into it. There are financial, social, time/energy, player-development factors among others that should go into making a decision. You have to do what is best for you and make sure that you do your due diligence in making this decision if you think it is something worth exploring on your part.
In order to help my clients who may be having these thoughts, I’ve created a worksheet to help you and your family make this decision. If you are thinking about a new club, get all the facts and put things together on the worksheet provided. I can certainly give you my opinions based on what I know and what you are looking for, but in the end, you need to weigh the factors to make a decision that is best for you.
The one piece of advice I will say is this, there is a risk in giving up a lot of your high school years to travel extensively to play and practice in the hopes for increased exposure. It can help some players based on their situation, but one of the hardest things I have seen is prospects get burnt out by the travel and pressure, and/or them giving up high school experiences for a dream and not living in the present, but in an unpredictable future. Anything can happen, but I think enjoying the present has great value. I have seen too many times that a player who is chasing recruitment, put all of their energy into chasing a future dream, and unfortunately, sometimes that dream never comes to fruition for any number of reasons. This player just lost out on high school experiences (on and off the field) by chasing college and college didn’t work out either, so at the end of the day, they lost both.
Like choosing a college to attend, choosing a club has many factors and each student-athlete needs to find the best option for them based on their priorities and the facts and not comparing your journey to anyone else.
I am linking the worksheet I created to help you in this process if you are considering a new club. You are welcome to share it with teammates and friends.