"Necessity is the Mother of Invention."PlatoPlaying Soccer Can Cost Money and TimeWhile "the Beautiful Game" can be played with just a ball, a flat surface, and bare feet; in the US, we tend to throw in paid coaches, paid referees, field fees, travel fees, uniform fees, and we need to pay someone to organize all of this stuff into leagues, publish schedules, etc - then we throw insurance on top of that, specialty trainers, athletic trainers, and in some areas - even golf carts to get VIP's from point A to point B. There are also play-level steps to think about. A recreation program in my Club costs $135. Classic level of play costs between $250 and $350. And Travel programs typically cost between $1,500 and $4,000. These extra costs cover much more expensive fields, more expensive uniforms, more expensive coaches, tournaments, more expensive league fees, etc. To some families, access to new play options, nicer fields, nicer uniforms, etc, can quickly become cost prohibitive. Kids in the US either cap out at a certain level of play or drop out all together as a result. Those who stay on and pay more money quickly find out that travel means more time, travel fees, the cost of food and fuel on the road, and lost opportunity costs taken from other activities that they no longer have time for because they're traveling. Taken all together, playing soccer can present a number of difficult challenges to overcome. Overcoming challenges is the focus of this episode. Overcoming the Money ChallengeMoney (or lack thereof) is a real challenge. For a family used to paying under $200 for a season to double that fee in the very next season can seem a bit much. To go from an under $200 recreation season to an over $2,000 travel season in one season - a 10x increase in fees - not including travel fees - can seem like a deal breaker!It doesn't have to be a deal breaker. My Club has implemented several ways to help kids play. You're Club may have implemented some of these or more. It makes sense to look into it. ScholarshipVolunteerPayment PlansFundraisingScholarships are funds raised - usually through philanthropy - by Clubs and other organizations to support players who can not afford to play. In our club, these funds are collected during registration and/or drives, are earmarked for scholarships, and are given out to players with demonstrable need (eg - free and reduced meal plans at school, death in the family, etc)Many clubs rely on volunteers to keep costs low and get everything done from registrations and uniform inventories, to marketing and Web design. If you have talents, good organization skills, or even a lot of passion, there is a good chance your club can find a place for you. It's worth looking into the idea of working off some or all of your club costs. Volunteering has the added benefit of helping you sleep at night and setting a good example for your community and the kids in your club. Some clubs have set up payment plans. While a payment plan may cost you a little bit more in the end, making smaller payments over time can make it easier to digest a larger payment over time. The opposite of reducing costs is increasing revenue. This is an equally valid way to create money you can use to help defray your personal costs. In some cases, it can be possible to negotiate a deal whereby you get a percentage of your fundraising efforts. I'm happy to pay our Club members a fee for selling our fundraiser apps. If your club doesn't have such a program, reach out to me by clicking the button below that says "Please Make Me a Fundraiser" and we might be able to set something up together where you can sell fundraising apps for your own Club or for The Soccer Sidelines. This option is only valid for US citizensOvercoming Time and Transportation ChallengesTime and transportation are no less real a challenge than money. Families can be shocked by the fact that they can spend more time in the car than their kids do o the field Traveling just o...
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