Pros and Cons of Moving Your Child From Recreational Soccer to Club Soccer

For a parent who wants to enroll their child in a soccer program, there is often a question of deciding which category of soccer to begin with. On one hand, there is recreational soccer for the purpose of enjoyment and development. The requirements of commitment are not very demanding, therefore providing easy entry for those new to soccer. Then, there is club soccer where the stakes are higher. A child will have to show greater competitiveness for a place in the team, be available to travel for games, amongst many other things.

So what are the pros and cons of joining club soccer?

What Are Some of the Pros of Joining Club Soccer?

Experience: With the right coaching, playing recreational soccer gives your child a familiarity with the rules of the game. There are some independent coaches and soccer academies who offer team practices as part of their services. Elite Soccer PK offers a variety of services; everything from one-on-one private sessions, to group clinics and team practices, ensuring all players learn a strong philosophy. Studies show that a parent volunteer is not the right option for player development. A good reason to hire a coach is to teach the kids the values of soccer and what they can expect when moving to a club. You can think of this as a “pre-Club”, where you play in a recreational league, but train with a club mentality. Playing recreationally will help them learn and understand the very basics of how to play soccer. Spending some time in recreational soccer would present an advantage over other children who enter club soccer as first time soccer players. Despite its relatively leisurely form, there are many useful skills to be learned while playing recreational soccer. Showing up for practice, obeying instructions, looking out for teammates and playing in the interests of the team are part of expectations in club soccer.

Good Foundation: Club soccer is demanding and is usually for those who want to play the sport in high school, college and even possibly make a career out of it. A child who has played recreational soccer before moving to club soccer would know if they enjoyed the sport and want to move forward with it. Recreational soccer combines the right amount of physical, tactical and technical demands without as much pressure, making iit primarily a fun learning experience. This experience will come in handy when moving to club soccer.

What Are Some of the Cons of Joining Club Soccer?

Adapting to Higher Demands: Club soccer demands higher physicality than recreational soccer. As such, a child who may have been used to a rather relaxed pace may find it challenging adjusting to club soccer. There will be more training sessions and for longer hours per week. If the child is not up for the extra demands based on what they were used to playing recreational soccer, the child may lose motivation and enthusiasm for the game. Recreational teams are usually coached by a parent volunteer; their standards and knowledge of the game are significantly lower than those of licensed coaches that you would find at the club level. 

Loss of Control: For the parent, you should expect to give up some decision-making over your child’s soccer as they transition to club soccer. Licensed coaches who handle club soccer teams operate within a structure where the inputs of parents on child’s performance will not be readily demanded. Good coaches are attentive and flexible to a child’s peculiar abilities and challenges, but the child will be integrated to the strength of the team, not vice versa. Essentially, parents should be ready to take the back seat and let coaches do their job.

Article | How to Support Your Child and Allow the Coaches to do Their Job

Travel: Club soccer requires that your child travel with the team for games outside of your local city. This is certainly something to consider when deciding to switch from recreational soccer, where games were played within familiar environments. Your child may go out of state for tournaments4 up to twice a year, so a parent would have to consider what effects this may have on the child’s performance in school and other social aspects of the child’s life.

Cost: A higher level of financial commitment accompanies the increased commitment in time and attention involved in moving from recreational to club soccer. The higher prices may be used to cover fees for entering competitions, coaching, and referees5. Depending on the quality of the soccer academy, the costs may be quite high compared to what you may pay for recreational soccer. Meanwhile, paying the fees is not a guarantee that your child will play; your child will still have to put in the required amount of competitive work to be selected for games.


1v1, 2v2, ability to devlop, Adaptive, agility drills, Appropriate Technique, attacking header, balancing education, balls for specific skills, believing in the coach, Benefits of a Good Coach, biggest problem, building team players, buying soccer ball, camp soccer ball, caring for concussion, check for cleats, child burnout, child engagement in packing, Choosing Coach, choosing soccer ball, coaching play style, coaching systems, commitment, common soccer injuries, competence, compression after injury, concussed athlete, concussion from soccer, concussion memory assessment, concussion symptoms, concussion timeline, Conducting Necessary Research, Consistency, cool down routine, Cost, cost to play, Decision Making, defensive header, dependable, different soccer positions, Discipline, disciplined schedule, diving header, eating after soccer, eating before soccer, Effective Communication, elevation after injury, europe vs mls, Experience, exploring other sports, eyes on ball, facing burnout, financial investment in soccer, Fitness, fitness routine, flick on header, food for athletes, game soccer ball, glancing header, Good Foundation, having a routine, heading soccer ball, Healthy Eating, Higher Demands, how to prevent injuries, how to treat injury, ice after injury, identifying possible injuries, importance of assists, importance of defending, importance of eating for soccer, improving players chance, incorporating breaks, Individualism vs Teamwork, knowing your role, lack of understanding, late entry, lead by example, Leadership, learning new positions, Loss of Control, lowering soccer expectations, macronutrients, maintaining high grades, Making Sacrifices, managing stress, meal timing, medical information for soccer, megan rapinoe, mental strength, mistakes are okay, Motivation, need for perfect conditions, Nutrition, offseason routine, one versus one, packing at right time, packing enough water, packing extra clothes, packing extra shoes, packing right ball, packing right cleats, packing snacks, packing soccer bag, parent commitment, parent involvement in packing, Perform their Role, Personal discipline, personal sacrifics, Picking Coach, player reaction, playing different position, playing in a team, poor coaching system, positioning for header, post game cool down, post game recovery, pre game warm up, preparing for tyrout, preventing injuries, Private Coach, problems with U.S. soccer, professional soccer player, proper planning, Pros vs Cons, providing assists, Providing Guidance, Providing Structure, recovery routine, recreational soccer ball, Recreational vs Club, reliable, repeating a routine, researching soccer team, Respect, respecting the coach, rest after injury, right sport for child, Roles of Coach, roles of parent in sports, Roles of Player, Sacrifice, scan the field, scheduled routine, school and sports, scoring goals, seeing an injury specialist, Soccer, soccer ball prices, soccer ball sizes, soccer fitness, soccer fitness routine, Soccer Food, soccer life, Soccer Nutrition, soccer offseason, soccer player vs athlete, soccer playing conditions, soccer routine, soccer tactical training, soccer technical training, soccer tryout, soccer tryout drills, spotting strengths, spotting weaknesses, steven gerrard, stretching routine, structure of youth divisions, student athlete, sup, support after failure, supporting child in sports, supporting the coach, Tactical Organization, Taking Accountability, taking care of concussion, taking responsibility, team captain, Team Communication, team effort, team play style, Team Values, Technical Development, time management, timing your jump, too expensive to play, training by age, Travel, treating injury with RICE, treating soccer injury, treatment processes, trustworthiness, try playing other sports, two versus two, University of Life, us soccer, value of defending, warm up routine, warming up, where to buy soccer ball, Work Ethic, youth soccer, youth soccer development, youth soccer positions, youth soccer tryout