Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

When clubs release the ‘NOT WANTED’ list

It’s that time of year again when clubs up and down the country have lists of players they want to keep and unfortunately lists of players they are going to let go. At grassroots level most of the players will be kept on as long as mum and dad want them to stay there or as long as their friends are still with the team.

What also happens though is the academies up and down the country will be drawing up lists of players at every age group that they are going to let go. And in the mind of a child that is a huge thing – because it isn’t about mum and dad letting them stay because their friends have done so it is because they haven’t ‘impressed’ the coaching team enough.

I hear a lot of stories about players being let go by text message or even lists pinned up on the club noticeboard. One of my players was snapped up at an early age by a local Championship club and he played for a season with the team. He was an excellent player and had a massive love of the game.

However, he came to hate the competitive nature of the training and matches that he took part in with every kid there vying to catch the coach’s eye. Parents too became very competitive and his parents were uneasy with the situation.

At the end of the season all the players were called together and the coach said “if your name is called out go through into the other room; if it isn’t you will be contacted”. Basically if your name wasn’t called out you were not going to be kept on.

The boy in question didn’t have his name called out. There was no talking to him or explaining the decision or anything to give him a hint of hope for the future, it was just thanks, but no thanks, you’re not good enough for us.

But I knew he was good enough I had seen in him that he could make the grade but the conditions he was playing in and the atmosphere at the club had put him off.

We welcomed him back to our club with open arms and tried to take away some of the hurt he was feeling. He was quiet for most of that next season before thankfully he kicked on and became the player he was before he left.

If you have a list of players you are going to let go please make sure you talk to them and explain the reasons why – it will help them to come to terms with the decision.

As we all know sometimes it can be in the child’s interest if the decision has been taken that they are not wanted by the club – or sometimes in the interest of the team if there is a disruptive player involved. But let’s not lose sight of the main fact – it’s the life of a child we are dealing with so tread carefully.


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