As your child moves through the ranks at the local football academy, your aspiration of him/her becoming a professional footballer emerges too. This is were your role as a parent, the role were you help your kid realise his/her dream. Your child is special and you know it! But knowing what to do with your talented kid is never easy.
And you are not alone! Parents around the world feel immense fear that their children would never be able to reach their true potential. And this fear spans across all walks of life. And football is no different.
No algorithm would ensure that your child makes it big, but a few basic points to keep in mind can increase the chances of success manifold. Let us go through a few of these in detail. By the end you would be ahead of the competition and ready to help your kid fulfil his/her potential.
Table of Contents
Educate Yourself about the Path to going Professional
First things first, before any of the practical stuff, getting the information about going professional is crucial. Before your kid has to understand the complexities of the task at hand, you should be there to make it easy to comprehend.
The fact is that it can be a long road ahead and knowing every single major landmark is vital. Knowing what to expect gets you prepared and enables you to help your kid as well since you keep him/her up to the mark as well. Every single area in professional football is regulated. Regulating things like nutrition, rest, the training before matchday, and the matchday itself, everything is a science.
So if you can gather all the basics about these parts of the professional game, you would be ahead of the game. Now the path to becoming professional varies in every part of the globe in terms of logistics, but a few basic details need to be kept in mind.
For example, in the United States, joining the USSDA is the perfect start for any 9 to 12-year-old. After that, joining a high-performance academy like the one in Arizona of Barca is a major plus and helps careers.
In between, a few months in Europe as a summer camp is always a great option to observe and learn from diverse cultures. And finally, a player has to collaborate with coaches that know how to get players to the MLS and then enter the SuperDraft to make it big.
– In Europe
Similarly in Europe, joining a local youth academy is the first step of the professional ladder. Next, playing at youth teams and joining the academies of bigger clubs with residencies (or without) is a logical step. After that, the best players can then sign professional contracts with professional clubs at the age of 16 to commit to a club and its structure.
In comparison, he system in Europe is much simpler with many players never having to move around and getting all they ever need at one football club. Academies like that of AFC Ajax, FC Barcelona, Sporting and Dinamo Zagreb have produced quality players that never left their youth setup for a day in their career.
These clubs give youth players a one stop shop that ensures that their education and training occurs under one roof. So searching for a club like this and joining them would be a smart move for most young talented players.
Expose them to Different Coaches
Football is such a diverse field that everything can not be known by a single person. Therefore it only makes sense to expose your child to different coaches and different ideologies.
This also allows you to know which coach is the best for the growth of your child and teach different skills and values to your kid. An observation with professional footballers is that they often change positions from their early days. This change is usually done by an inspiring coach. A good coach can have that sort of effect where he reads the skills of a player and accordingly adjusts his position to suit his strengths.
This leads not only to a versatile player but a player playing to his actual powers. This also prevents eleven strikers from getting on the pitch! When we come to finding this sort of coach, you would have to experiment with a few people and that should get you to one that works.
This may also entail sending your child abroad to different training camps especially during the formative years of 9 to 12. Every country has its own footballing culture and when your child visits them, he gets to witness that culture first-hand. As a result, he/she learns values that he never would have at home and gets to play and collaborate with other young footballers.
When we talk about footballing cultures, Italian football is focused on organization and structure in their defensive shape while much of Spanish football focuses on passing and mobility. In this way, exposure to different cultures and different coaches allows your child to become a better footballer and a better well rounded person. Think of it as an exchange program to diversify and learn.
Balance their Education and Training
Many parents find this part extremely tough and it is no surprise why. After all, every patient has this feeling that their child may lag in studies if they play too much. While others tilt the balance toward the sport and ignore the education of the child. The fact is that both these things have to go hand in hand.
Furthermore, a good footballer needs to be a role model for youngsters too. And there is nothing like quality education to help your kid with that. Having said that, balancing these two duties is not an easy task. This is especially true during the early teenage years when training gets especially arduous and taking time out for education is tough. You may feel that you are hampering the growth of your child as a footballer by forcing him/her to go to study during the day.
But for your child to become a responsible citizen and an accomplished professional in the long run, giving both education and training sufficient time is pivotal. There is no doubt that you have to give your child every little opportunity to succeed, but that should not come at the expense of his education. The fact is that not every player makes it big in the football arena, but the idea of giving anything a good shot is to prevent regrets in the future.
So give your child a good crack at it and the education works as his insurance and a great tool even if he does not make it big. Be pragmatic.
Never Force anything on your Kid
Your kid may truly be immensely talented and his potential may end up getting him to the professional level. However, what if he/she did not want it himself ? What if football was just a recreational activity and not something he/she wants to do as an adult week in week out.
After all, playing football on the professional level is an arduous task. The mental stress that professionals face having to perform week in week out is not something everyone can handle. So asking your kid what are his/her dreams outside of football may be vital.
Coordinating with the teachers may also help your kid, as they are keen observers of the interests of the habits and interests a child develops. At a young age, all children want to do is impress their parents and earn their approval. So a good idea would be to not just keep your endorsement limited to football related activities that your child completes. Instead, praise them on other tasks that they take up since that task could be the one that makes them happy.
Sometimes parents have aspirations of their own that they project onto their children. So not doing that and respecting the opinion of your child is imperative for him to be happy and achieve prosperity in life. No one would want their child to be unhappy even if he/she becomes a professional in the footballing world.
The role of a parent in the success of the child can never be undermined. So as the parent of a young footballer, being conscious of what to do and what not to do is crucial. First and foremost, knowing the path to professional success is imperative. After that, exposure to different coaches and cultures can also help your kid with regards to the development as a footballer.
Going abroad for a summer camp or joining a high-performance centre can also be a good logical step in improving your child. At a certain point, balancing the education of your child with the game would be tough. But you should maintain that balance and ensure he/she gets sufficient academic accolades.
Finally, you should never force anything on your kid and see if he/she actually wants to pursue football as a professional. Ultimately, the happiness of your child is what matters most and that should always drive your decisions.
Here are Some of our Favourite Football/Soccer Cleats
Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.
What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?
Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.
On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.