Monday, July 6, 2020
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QUESTION: I have a question for you that I would love your opinion on, as this situation has just become a reality in our home this past week. We have a 12-year-old son that loves to play soccer. He has played on several club soccer teams in the past 3- 4 years and has done well with his playing ability. He isn’t the best on the team and we have a realistic picture about his potential for college scholarships and playing professional soccer. But at the same time, he is very good and plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
The club team that he normally plays for had tryouts for their upcoming season just a few weeks ago. My son was unable to attend tryouts because he was playing on his school soccer team and the seasons for club and school would overlap and we just didn’t think that we could pull it off to manage 2 teams worth of practices and games for that 4-week period that they overlapped.
Well, when he found out that several of his school teammates went to tryouts and were going to play on the club soccer team as well as their school team, my son wanted to join his friends on the club team as well. We talked it out and thought that maybe for 4 weeks and using car-pooling with our friends we probably could make this 2-team situation a reality.
When we called the club team coach, he said that he would love to have our son play, however, because we missed tryouts and the teams were already set and put together and have actually started practicing, that he couldn’t get our son on the same team as his friends. He could put him on another team that still had a few spots for additional players. The hard part about this team is that it is made up of beginning players, and the level of soccer might be a few levels below his ability now.
So, my question is should we just hold him out and wait for the next season of tryouts, or should we put him on that lower level team and let him play on that team?
Thank you for your help.
Steven, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

ANSWER: What a great learning situation for your son and actually for you his parents as well.
LET HIM PLAY! Sign him up! This is a wonderful time for him to shine and let his love for the game be his driving force. He will meet new friends and develop new relationships. This is all good in his process of using sports to develop his character.
I love how now he can try and create new moves and develop new skills to his already somewhat advanced skill level. He can experiment now and try to create new and different situations and scoring moves. He can become the leader and the one that gets to “carry” the team on his shoulders. Even if it is in a losing effort, his gains will be numerous.
I know it is really fun to play with his friends and be on a team where things are the way they normally are. What a great season to step out of that “normal” and comfort zone and into something new for a change.
Sure, I know that soccer is a team game and often times your playing skills can be held back due to a lack of a supporting staff, but that is part of this whole learning curve. I think you should embrace this opportunity and encourage him to play and develop and learn.
If the main motive for playing on the club team this season is that he doesn’t want to miss any soccer, go for it with this other team. If the main motive was that he wanted to be with his friends, it will be his decision as to if he wants to wait for the next season, or try this one out.
He can get back on that other team with his friends for the next season, but for now, I would say, jump all over this opportunity and have a fun, different, and unique season.
Maybe even a few “hat tricks” coming up!
If you have comments and/or questions for Tom Kuyper, you can email him at

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