Is Club Soccer Worth It? (The Real Cost)

If you have the time and money to afford it, absolutely! However, most importantly, make sure your kid really wants to do it before you invest any money into club soccer.

If your child has both the passion and discipline for this new responsibility even when it’s hard, then club soccer is the right choice. Otherwise, no! As you know, club soccer costs a lot of money.

Usually, youth players enter club soccer in hopes of getting a college scholarship. However, clubs charge a large sum of money. Meaning, it’s highly expensive to play competitive soccer in the US.

Clubs use the funds on operational costs and require parents to pay for all the expenses. And while it’s a great investment for some children, perhaps it’s not such a good path to take for others.

In this article, I will discuss club soccer and explain why it’s so expensive. I will also list valid reasons why not play competitive soccer. That said, let’s dive deep into the topic!

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What’s The Point Of Club Soccer?

Club soccer is a locally organized soccer program with the goal to offer opportunities for youth players. They will be able to experience a healthy and developmentally appropriate environment to learn, enjoy, and live the game of soccer. However, it’s a costly investment because of the following reasons.

Why Does Club Soccer Cost So Much?

Unlike most European clubs, club soccer in the US operates on a pay-to-play model. Around Europe, you can play club soccer without paying a fortune which isn’t the case in the US.

These clubs train players from a young age with the goal to develop new players for the pro-pipeline but in Europe, these clubs aren’t usually funded by the parents of the players. They have sponsors as well as overseeing professional clubs. They ask for donations in exchange for advertisements.

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In the US, on the other hand, sponsors aren’t as common for youth soccer clubs. Moreover, most youth soccer clubs weren’t even part of pro-pipelines until just recently (MLS Next and some NWSL clubs).

Instead, parents of the players settle the costs for the soccer team like league fees, uniforms, coaching salaries, etc. They pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to sign up their kids in youth soccer. The price usually depends on the age, league, and club. The average cost of practicing youth soccer is about $1,472 per kid.

However, some elite clubs charge up to $10,000 annually. As you can see, competitive youth soccer has turned into a business. Worse yet, the price doesn’t cover extra tournaments and travel expenses.

Meaning, if a kid plays on a team in a league that plays around the country, they can expect to pay even more in travel expenses (hotels, food, gas, flights, etc). Is it worth it? Let’s find out!

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Is It Worth It?

It depends on many things if club soccer is actually worth it for your child or not. The following questions can help you determine if club soccer makes a good investment for your child.

Is your child good at it?

Is your child the best in their rec league? If they’re better than the rest of the soccer team (coach and other parents claiming so), and if they’re passionate about the game, then it’s definitely time to consider club soccer. Furthermore, make sure that your child really likes the sport!

If they don’t, don’t worry. Just save your money and keep your child in recreational soccer. Remember that most club soccer teams practice 2-3 times a week, depending on the age. They also have tournaments/games almost every weekend, so it’s hard on both the soccer players and parents.

Does your child really want to be a soccer player?

Instead of enrolling your child into club soccer because you want them to play soccer, make sure they’re the ones who like it.

Not everyone is born to be a soccer player, even if they’re the child of a professional soccer player. And that’s completely okay!

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Otherwise, you will invest a lot of money into something that your child doesn’t enjoy and will abandon when they grow older.

Can you really afford it?

I already mentioned that club soccer is very expensive and I wasn’t joking. Maybe your club has financial aid based on income. So, if they do, apply for it if necessary. However, you will have to pay different fees and dues such as tournaments, coaches’ salaries, uniforms, hotels, food, etc.

If the answer to all three questions is positive, then go for it and make the investment! Otherwise, keep your child in recreational soccer and save your money. However, if you’re not sure what to do, read on and check out the few reasons why not to play competitive soccer and make your choice.

Why Not Play Competitive Soccer?

Whether or not club soccer is worth it depends on many different things such as the player, the parents, the club, and whether you believe club soccer is better for your child than rec soccer. Some people think it’s not a good investment because of the following legitimate reasons.

Inexperienced youth soccer coach

Most coaches with A license who present themselves as “highly qualified” soccer coaches, actually don’t have enough experience with kids beyond raising their own children and coaching soccer. Meaning, they don’t have experience in childhood education, child psychology, or game theory.

Professional Soccer Players
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Low wage

Learning the game in the US youth system, your child will never make a good living playing soccer. Even if they do somehow manage to become a professional player, they still have a limited window of opportunity. And the wage just doesn’t justify the opportunity.

NASL and USL players make about $1K a week for 20 weeks. So, they need to get a diploma in something useful. However, if your child is actually good at soccer and certain about their career path from a young age, don’t be one of those parents who don’t support their kids.

Astronomical costs

As I already stated, club soccer is highly expensive. In fact, it’s overpriced. College tuition costs less than club soccer. You will spend between $40,000 and $50,000 over the next 13 years of youth soccer while a good college soccer scholarship is only worth approximately $10,000.

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Low self-esteem

Keep in mind that your child will feel bad more than they will feel good about themselves when playing. Competitive soccer is a physical and psychological beatdown that can negatively affect your child’s self-esteem. It’s a commitment that not even professional soccer players can handle.

Time-consuming

Note that you will spend more time driving than your child will spend playing in different county regions. Worse yet, you will be spending money on tournament fees, fast food, and hotels.

Competitive soccer isn’t that “competitive”

Competitive youth soccer doesn’t include the best players but those who can afford the program. Most of the children who play youth soccer will follow the directions of the people who yell the loudest. So, they don’t really enjoy the game. And they likely will quit once they grow older.

Final Tips

The easiest way to make sure that you’re making the right call with taking your child out of rec soccer and enrolling them into club soccer is to determine if your child really wants to play competitive youth soccer. Also, research clubs and make sure that you can afford their insane costs.

If your child is really committed to their growth and skills and if you support their commitment and if the team you pick takes good care of your child and leads them into becoming a pro, then yes, club soccer is a good investment.

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