Being the Best Soccer Parent for Your Athlete

Maybe you’re new to soccer and signing your child up for the first time, or maybe you’re a die-hard soccer nut and you live and breathe The Beautiful Game. Maybe you fall somewhere in between. Whatever the case, you undoubtedly want the best possible experience and development for your athlete. 2023 is my fifth year as a CoachUp soccer coach, helping players of all ages in the greater San Jose area work toward their goals. Today, I’d like to share a few tidbits about how you can be the best soccer parent for your athlete.

First off, even if you’re chomping at the bit to get your kid into soccer, you should let them try a variety of other sports as well. Trust me, just because you watch EPL with every opportunity you get doesn’t mean that your child shares your love for fútbol. The worst thing that a parent can do is force their kid to play a game that they don’t love.

Secondly, learn to show proper encouragement. Celebrate not just their wins, but their personal development milestones. Be there to comfort them after losses, and don’t be too quick to point out their mistakes. Rather, you should seek opportunities to work with them to improve. Don’t second guess your child’s coach, and never get in yelling matches with referees. No kid wants that, and those acts are counterintuitive to encouragement.

How to best support your soccer player as a parent

Thirdly, and likely the most important piece of advice, is to maintain realistic expectations. Success in soccer is a combination of natural talent, drive, motivation, effort and a great deal of luck. A very small percentage of players ever make it to college or professional teams. Support your athlete, but be realistic. Always make sure desire for success doesn’t overshadow their love and enjoyment of the game.

Next, only engage with a private soccer coach when the time is right. I often see parents signing up a seven year-old child for private training, when they would be better off signing up for a soccer camp or clinic. There are many great reasons to hire a private soccer coach, but thinking it will turn your seven year old into an overnight superstar is not one of them. Players who have passion for the game and are highly motivated to excel on their own are the best candidates to benefit from a private soccer coach. A private coach can help sharpen technique, tactics, fitness and develop the player as a whole, but they cannot instill the necessary passion and drive to succeed.

Lastly, set goals for future success with your athlete. Sit down with them on a regular basis to set realistic, achievable goals together. It might be to move from the club “silver” team to the club “gold” team. It might be to make the high school JV or Varsity team, or even tryout and make the local MLS Next team. As long as the goals that you set with your athlete are realistic, they can maintain the desire to achieve them.

I hope that these five tips will help you to be the best soccer parent that you can be, so that you and your athlete can foster love for The Beautiful Game together!

Scott Lahde soccer coach

Scott Lahde is a gold-level CoachUp soccer coach in the San Jose, California area. Find his profile here and book your next session with him today!

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