Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

New recruits and new problems…

David ClarkeI always feel sorry for professional players when their teams announce they are on the lookout for someone new in their position. It must be almost heartbreaking when that happens.

As a coach, I have to realise that this crushing blow to a player’s confidence and ego doesn’t just happen in the professional ranks; it happens at all levels of the game.

At youth level players are not going to read in the papers that we’re looking for someone new, instead this threat will just appear at training.

At our club, we’ve recently run some trials for new players – some teams are going from 7-a-side to 11-a-side so we need to recruit.

On one of the trial days one of our coaches came to me and said there was a boy I must see because he was rather special in his position. He was a goalkeeper, and we all know how difficult it is to get good shot-stoppers.

There were a number of small-sided games going on and he was certainly impressing – diving at the feet of the attackers, calling defenders into position and commanding his box. However out of the corner of my eye I could see the dad of our current keeper, and he was taking note of my obvious enthusiasm for this potential intruder.

The parents of the new player came to talk to me about their son and the possibility of him playing for the team. ’He would want to play for the A team’, they told me, ‘and expects to play every week’. After the trial, myself and a few other coaches discussed the problem…

Was he a better goalkeeper? At this stage, probably, but in future, who knows? Would he fit into the team? Yes, he was a nice lad. Were his parents okay? Well, there was possible trouble if he was dropped for some games.

Our present keeper was popular, he never missed a game and was keen to learn and progress. His parents were very supportive and had been members of the club for a long time. There was no way we would make him move over for another keeper at this stage in his young life.

We told the parents of the trialist that we would love their son to join the club but we couldn’t guarantee he’d be club ‘number one’ – he would have to earn it. So he would start in one of the other teams but would still be guaranteed to play every week. This wasn’t enough for them so he didn’t join. In my view, we definitely made the right choice.

There is a lot to be said for loyalty and support, both from the side of the coach, and the player.


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