Is your soccer organization losing members to other sports or other soccer clubs?
Today many soccer organizations share with us the frustration that parents are moving from one organization to the next, looking for a better experience and that they often show 'no loyalty'.
If you're a parent, think about how you and your family might go about choosing a school for your child. It's unlikely you would ask if the school is going to teach your child Math, English or Science, because you already expect them to. You will not ask to see the resumes of the teachers either, because you expect them to be qualified and experienced. You won’t even ask to see the syllabus or curriculum from which the teachers will teach, because you expect that it is age and developmentally appropriate.
What you will ask is; Will my child be SAFE here? Does the school create a positive learning ENVIRONMENT? What activities are there for them to make friends and SOCIALLY DEVELOP? What extracurricular activities are there for my child to be ACTIVE and PHYSICALLY DEVELOP in? What are the VALUES of the school and do they align with our family values? How do the teachers develop LEADERSHIP and teach LIFE SKILLS? Will my child have a good EXPERIENCE here?
What does a school have to do with a soccer club you may be wondering?
A soccer club can be thought of as the 3rd leg of the stool that makes up a child’s development.
PARENTS SCHOOL EXTRA CURRICULAR
Some people will also include Faith as a 4th leg.
Soccer clubs can learn from schools. Schools don’t promote their value to parents by communicating their syllabus, curriculum, development approach or teacher’s qualifications.
They communicate the SUSTAINABLE VALUE offered to the family long after school is over. Sustainable value will impact what kind of person they will become in business, social, community and family life.
What is Sustainable Value?
Now imagine a soccer organization that took care of all the development needs of soccer players but communicated SUSTAINABLE VALUE to the parent as their purpose for being. What if their every action, communication and program was focused on offering families an environment that their child could thrive in and coaches that focused on character development, values and life skills. All these things are positive for the family and youth sports is a fantastic vehicle for teaching these life lessons and values.
Sadly, on a large scale, this has been lost in youth soccer. Many soccer organizations focus on defining themselves through their player development strategy, quality of coaches or their won/loss record and championships.
This is not to suggest that competition is bad. Competition is a key component of teaching life skills and character. Learning how to win or lose gracefully, respecting the opponent and the referee, the drive for improvement and performance or developing leadership and communication skills are all values that come from competition.
Delivering player development and competition within a culture that's FOCUSED on developing character, values and life skills is how soccer organizations can engage parents who are often the decision maker.
Imagine if our soccer clubs and coaches taught soccer in an environment that not only improved players soccer skills so they could be successful in soccer, but improved their self-esteem, communication skills, leadership skills and their ability to work in a team so they could be successful in LIFE!
Communicating and living these values can help soccer organizations attract parents / families and create the LOYALTY they are striving for.