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You must be new here: An introduction to soccer for the new soccer parent.

Welcome to the soccer family! Whether you're proudly donning your first "Soccer Mom" or "Soccer Dad" shirt, or you're considering the jump to club soccer we welcome you! Soccer is more than just a game—it's a whole culture, a sub-world where snacks and shin guards reign supreme, and sideline lawn chairs become a competitive sport unto themselves. So let's kick this off (pun intended) with a few tips to help you navigate the pitch.


Start with Recreational Soccer

If your kid is new to soccer, it's tempting to jump into competitive club soccer, but slow down! Start with a recreational or intramural program. These programs are a great way to gauge your child's interest without committing to travel-heavy schedules or significant financial investments. Recreational soccer programs are so under appreciated but are truly to birthplace of a love for the game for so many players. Plus, it's a great place to meet other parents who are just as clueless—I mean, enthusiastic—as you are.


Transition to Club Soccer

So your kid loves soccer and you’re ready to take it up a notch? Awesome! Check out our tryout guide, which includes club tryouts from all across the state. When choosing a soccer club, consider these factors:

  • Location, Location, Location: How far are you willing to travel? Don't underestimate the power of the carpool. If you live in a part of Ohio, where everything is spread out, choose wisely—you don't want to spend more time in the car than on the field, especially when you are just starting out. Here is a map of soccer programs to help you find one close to you.

  • Friends Matter: If your child has friends or classmates at a particular club, it could be a good option. Soccer is about having fun, and having buddies to share the experience with makes it even better.

  • Coaching Styles: You’ll encounter two types of coaches: parent coaches and professional coaches. Parent coaches are typically more relaxed and community-oriented, often having kids on the team themselves. Professional coaches, on the other hand, bring a more structured and competitive approach. Both have their pros and cons—it's all about what vibe suits your family.


The Tryout Experience

If you're new to club soccer tryouts, here's your survival guide:

  • Come Prepared: Bring water, shin guards, soccer cleats, and a ball. Dress your kid in a white or gray T-shirt and white or black socks. If you want to stand out, try bright-colored shorts or a funky headband. Just don't go overboard—this isn't a runway show.

  • Stay in Your Lane: Don't sit directly on the sidelines. Coaches need space to evaluate players without parents in their line of sight. And for the love of soccer, don't coach from the sidelines. If you're yelling out every time your kid touches the ball, the coach is evaluating you, not them.

  • Be a Social Butterfly: Talk to existing parents. Ask questions. This is your chance to get the inside scoop on the club's culture and whether it's the right fit for you and your child.

  • Be Ready to Commit: If your child makes the team and you're ready to commit, be prepared to make a deposit. Find out what the deposit will be ahead of time and ask about payment plans if needed. Clubs are often willing to work with you.


What Not to Do

Now, let's talk about what not to do at a tryout:

  • No Trash Talk: Don't badmouth other clubs, parents, or players. It's a small world, and negativity has a way of coming back to haunt you.

  • No Hovering: Stand back from the tryout area. Let your kid play without constantly looking back for your approval. If they make a mistake, let the coaches handle it. This isn't the time to relive your high school soccer glory days.

  • Don't Make a Scene: If you have questions, wait until the very end to ask the coach. Coaches are busy, and they need time to focus during the tryout. Email is usually the best way to follow up with them.


Good Luck!

So there you have it! Welcome to the wonderful world of youth soccer. Whether you're here for the orange slices, the camaraderie, or the sheer joy of watching your kid run around chasing a ball, remember to have fun. Ohio has plenty of soccer programs, so you're bound to find the perfect fit for the coming season. Good luck at tryouts, and may your soccer season be filled with goals, assists, and most importantly, memories that last a lifetime!

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