Parental Expectations of Soccer Clubs
The club soccer landscape has become increasingly competitive in the United States over the past decade. And with that uptick in competition, parental expectations are on the rise. Parents are more discerning than ever when it comes to which soccer organization they choose for their kids. It’s more than flashy apparel, corporate sponsors and marquee tournaments. The buzzword these days is the player/parent “experience,” which encompasses everything from technology providers to social media strategy.
Here are five parental expectations that every soccer organizer should be prepared to face.
In today’s video-rich environment scoring the winning goal or saving a crucial penalty kick is made immeasurably better if it’s captured with a smartphone or tablet. And for club & travel players, the recording itself is more than a fond memory, it can play an integral role in that player advancing to the next level. Highlight films are an absolute necessity for players hoping to break through and catch the attention of collegiate coaching staffs. Platforms like Hudl and SportsRecruits make it easy to upload and edit highlights and present a stage for players to show off their skills for colleges coast to coast.
Our very own Steven Mahon sat down with @leagueapps to discuss the modern college recruiting landscape and technology’s role in youth sports. If you missed the webinar, check out this great blog post ➡️https://t.co/1XxjsoIBVy #sportsrecruits #collegerecruiting #sports #tech
— SportsRecruits (@Sports_Recruits) May 15, 2019
Transparent Player Development Plans
Soccer clubs can have an amazing “A” licensed Director of Coaching (DOC), but parents want to understand why they are better than the “A” licensed DOC from across town. Styles can vary from Brazilian to Spanish and everything in between, and for most American soccer parents any of those tactics may seem acceptable. What’s more important than the style is communication. How is the Player Development Plan communicated to the parent? Parents want to understand why the training emphasizes certain components and eliminates others. They need to understand that the training and style of play is the most beneficial for their child’s age and ability. The clubs that communicate this in a transparent matter and then follow through— are the clubs that scale by retaining their players and attracting new ones.
Robust Social Media Presence
Parents want to know that their club cares about its brand and how it connects to the community. After all, the parents are the ones that wear the clubs colors on their sweatshirts and car bumpers. A thoughtful and consistent social media presence can do wonders. Namely, it can create and promote the club’s culture. Clubs that understand which social media platforms their players and parents are using, have the best chance of organically growing. Organizations that neglect social channels run the risk of being viewed as out of touch with modern parents and players.
This parental expectation should come as no surprise in today’s culture. Everyone has a phone in their pocket and “not getting the message” is 100% unacceptable. Organizations should be able to contact anyone with a few simple clicks. Top organizations have an office phone number with someone that actually answers it (no – really!!). The next evolution in club communication is a custom club-branded phone app…straight from the Apple and Android stores. Before long custom solutions like these apps will be the standard.
Flexible Payment Options
As prices rise within the youth soccer community, parents demand financial flexibility. They expect to have three to four payment plan options that fit their family’s needs. Installments, discounts for lump-sum payments, and work-to-play programs in which athletes can pay off balances by working as part-time coaches or referees are becoming more prevalent. Progressive organizations within the industry now even offer scholarships and assistance programs. These options are essential and they need to be easily found and easier to navigate.
Investing resources into these main buckets is a worthwhile endeavor for any youth soccer organization. Understanding your customer and their needs can quickly set you apart from your competition. For more information on social media strategy, branded apps, and communication tools click the links!