What If I Can’t Afford Club Soccer?
Youth soccer clubs in the U.S. are crazy expensive. If you’ve landed on this article, I’m sure you’ve heard! Unfortunately, the cost and commitment are out out reach for some American families.
Key Takeaways From This Article:
- Parents could be paying north of $2,500/year for their child to play for a youth soccer club in the U.S.
- Cost and time are the two biggest pain points but there may be options.
- Don’t feel guilty if you can’t afford to club soccer. There are alternative leagues and sports.
Here’s the dilemma, you don’t want to shortchange your kid from having the same opportunities as others but you would struggle financially or would have to cut back commitments from your other children. In this case, life’s not fair. But, there may be options for your family. Let’s explore them.
Options If You Can’t Afford Club Soccer
If you simply cannot afford to put your child or children in club soccer, here are three options.
- Scholarships or Financial Aid: Many clubs advertise that they offer scholarships for players who can’t afford the fees. If your child is talented enough to make the team, the local club should be able to work with you so they can play.
- Consider Playing Town Travel or School: While club teams can be exciting, they’re not the only option. You can still play soccer and develop your game by joining a local town league or a school team. These teams may not offer the same level of competition or play ten months out of the year but your child will have fun playing soccer!
- Find a Way: This would be the last resort option. You could make a sacrifice. If your schedule allows, maybe you start a side hustle or get a part-time job. I know it sounds crazy to do this just for your child to play soccer but sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do.
Financial Implications of Club Soccer
My family spent $7,615 for my son to play club soccer in 2022. On average, you could be spending between $2,500 to $5,000.
What’s Included in the Cost?
Here are some of the most common expenses associated with club soccer:
- Registration fees: These fees typically cover the cost of playing in league games and tournaments. According to my research, players spend an average of around $2,500 per season on club soccer registration fees, but this cost can vary depending on the level of competition, the age of the player, and the location of the league or program. These fees pay for the coach, facility, league dues, and more.
- Equipment costs: Club soccer players are typically required to have their own gear, including cleats, shin guards, and a uniform. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you need to replace gear throughout the season.
- Travel expenses: Depending on the level of competition, many club soccer teams may travel to other cities or states for games and tournaments. Travel expenses can include gas, hotels, and meals. For example, so far this fall season, we’ve driven from New Hampshire to New York (three times), New Jersey, Connecticut, and Toronto (!)
- Training fees: Many club soccer teams offer additional training sessions outside of regular practices. These sessions can be beneficial for players looking to improve their skills, but they can also come with an additional cost.
It’s important to keep in mind that these expenses can vary greatly depending on the club and the level of competition.
Alternatives to Club Soccer
If you can’t afford club soccer, there are several alternatives that you can consider. Here are some options:
School Soccer Programs
Most middle and high schools have soccer programs that you can join. School soccer programs are usually free or have a much lower cost compared to club soccer. You can check with your school’s athletic department to find out more about their soccer program.
Although, it’s usually just for the fall season, as opposed to year-round for club soccer, but it’s a great way to develop your skills and represent your school!
Travel Soccer Leagues
For players 13 and younger, travel soccer leagues are another alternative to club soccer. Travel soccer leagues are usually less expensive than club soccer, but they still require commitment in terms of time and travel.
Travel soccer leagues are usually organized by local soccer associations and are typically open to all players who meet the age and skill requirements. You can reach out to your local soccer association to find out more about their travel soccer leagues. In our town, we hold tryouts in June for the fall season so make sure you get in early!
Impact of Not Playing Club Soccer
If you can’t afford to play club soccer, it can have a significant impact on a player’s ability to play at the next level.
The truth is that there are more college scouts at club soccer showcases than high school games. With this said, if you are an elite player, there’s a good chance that you’ll be known to scouts no matter if you play for your school or club.
Club soccer provides players with access to licensed coaches, top-notch facilities, and high-level competition. Without these resources, it can be more challenging and slower to develop your skills and reach your full potential as a soccer player.
Additionally, playing club soccer allows you to participate in tournaments and showcases where college coaches and recruiters are in attendance. These events provide players with valuable exposure and increase their chances of earning a college scholarship.
Being in the thick of things for the past decade, I feel for these youth players. Players who play club soccer usually have added pressure to perform well. Most of the pressure comes from the people closest to them, their parents. I think some parents feel like they need to get their money’s worth so they put that pressure on their child to “play well”.
By not playing club soccer, parents and players will typically feel less pressure and they can go about their life. I bet that’s an awesome feeling 😏
Maybe Someday Things Will Change
If you can’t afford club soccer right now, it’s important to remember that things might change in the future. Your financial situation may improve or an opportunity may come your way. If your child wants to play more competitive soccer, please don’t completely shut the door on the opportunity.
Life Will Still Go On
Your child not being able to afford club soccer can be disappointing, but it’s important to remember that life will still go on. There will be many more things they can do whether it’s soccer, another sport, or something else.
As a parent, don’t feel guilty if you can’t swing it. I know we want to give our children EVERYTHING but keep in mind that they will still love you no matter what. They are strong and resilient. They will be able to move on from it. You should too!