Choosing Between a Non-Competitive and Competitive Soccer Program


Summary: Depending on your soccer experience, there are various pros and cons to playing for one program over another.

There has been quite the debate about which soccer program is best for a child to enter when choosing between non-competitive recreational soccer and competitive recreational soccer. There are two distinct options that you can choose from and both have their advantages and disadvantages.


Rec soccer is a fantastic starting point for players that want to learn the fundamentals of the game. Almost every soccer player has started with a local rec program that’s usually offered by the city’s park and recreation department.

The pros to enrolling your child in this program is that the children will get involved with the sport while also learning about the game, while having fun. Equal playing time is encouraged and the skill level of all of the players tend to vary drastically. However, the cons to this are that there is a non-licensed lower level coach usually handling the team. The coach could even be a parent that has never played the game before. Now, there’s nothing wrong with volunteers looking to help their community but at the same time it’s a hit-or-miss when it comes to player development. Depending on the funding, there could be equipment that’s already provided to the players that are bought from the volunteers or from a grant from store like Soccer Garage or other soccer specialty stores.


Club soccer is the next step up and is the competitive version of the game. It tends to have more dedicated players that are involved in local and national tournaments and compete at a higher level of play. The coaching staff is well equipped with knowledge of the game and can significantly help player development.

However, competitive soccer is known to bring out the best of soccer players, which will push them to become more aggressive in their games due to the fact that they may be noticed by scouts from various colleges. These programs will typically cost more than the rec option usually because the coach is a licked soccer coach, along with the necessary fees. You may have to go out and shop for some goalkeeper gloves or gear if necessary as well.


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