The Soccer Industry
$5000 to Holland for 12 Days: 10 days of training plus TOUR
$8500 in Spain for 30 days of “Elite” training
$6500 for managing a player’s professional trials
$32,000 for pro trials & signing papers
I’ve seen it all, and the one thing I know is that starting in the early 2000’s the Sport Industry in soccer started to change. The European soccer market realized there is an opportunity to provide the North American consumer with over-sea training opportunities. Since the majority of the population in USA / Canada is ignorant of the sport they know they can fool the families with training “packages” and slap on a price that many will think is quite enticing. The reality is, there are many factors to consider that parents ignore, aren’t aware of, or don’t realize the impact on their son or daughter.
The Good News:
The good news is that these trips usually are fun, good life experience and can have a positive impact on the player in the short and long term. This is great if you’re willing to pay the fees. ….. that’s about it.
The Bad News:
This is where you need to dive into player development, culture adjustment period, playing style adjustment, jet leg, and my famous quote of: COST VS DEVELOPMENT RATIO!!! Say that out loud everyone “COST VS DEVELOPMENT RATIO!” Golden Rule in sending a player over-seas to train and gain life & soccer experience is three to four weeks. The reason why is that you have to factor in travel days, jet leg, an adjustment to the possible language change, food, and general culture shock. Usually, the playing style, tempo, and urgency to compete is higher and lastly you have to factor in how long it takes to actually gain technical, tactical, and mental development. The true magic mark for this is 3 months but that timeline can be difficult to manage due to high school, cost and home sickness. However this is definitely a great option post high school. With all this info, the parent now has to ask themselves does the training timeline allow for all these factors and is the invoice reasonable compared to the other options?
Wait!? There are other options?
The answer to that comes down to: personal player management. Player managers play the role of connecting players with training agreements or professional trials. If you can find a good, honest manager then the trip over-seas becomes much cheaper with a longer stay (21-30 days), while at the same time the athlete will have a better training experience due to the connections that player manager has. Here is a cross comparison of two typical scenarios.
Trip A -
12 Day Training Trip (Two are Travel Days)
Depart for Europe.
Arrive to accommodations.
Check into hotel to rest and relax.
Light training session with own coach in the afternoon
Attend Pro Game (optional and additional cost)
Training session #1
Training session #2
Training session #3
Tour of local soccer Stadium, museum, trophy room, and megastore.
Training session #4
Competitive friendly game
Morning Training Session
Guided City Tour
Free time to enjoy
Competitive friendly game #3
Local Youth Academy Games Observation
Attend Pro Match (optional and additional cost).
Afternoon Training Session
Morning Training Session
Departure to Airport - Return Home
COST: $3000 - $4000 Canadian plus airfare - On Average the total is: $4,500 - $5,500
Trip B - Player Management Arrangement
30 Day Training Agreement with Professional Club - Two are travel days
- Airport Shuttle pickup and drop off
- x2 Training Kits (yes, the player will keep the training gear)
- Full Room and Board at the Professional Club. This provides the chance for the athlete to live with other elite soccer players
- Professionally qualified Coach
- Daily Training Sessions: Training Sessions include: Technical, Tactical, Strength, Classroom
(Sessions are once to twice a day, depending on what professional coach believes is required for development)
- Tickets to see all the home matches (INCLUDED)
- Pro Club Stadium & City Tour
- Full in-depth Evaluation Report
COST: $4,900 to $5,500 Canadian and includes the airfare cost
Things to look out for:
- How long the trip is?
- Which country you’re sending the athlete to? Does the country typically speak English as their second language? (Example: Holland) If not, will the coaches speak English?
- Is the training agreement cost in Canadian dollars vs Pound, American, or Euro
- What is the playing style of that country or Club?
- What does the training agreement include?
- What time of year is the athlete going?
- What will the culture shock be like, and how will this effect the athlete during the trip. This includes: language, food, general culture, quality of life within that country
- Key Question: Is the athlete being sent to an Academy Group or Residency Team. This is a more complicated question but definitely one of the main ones you need to be asking.
- Is your athlete technically ready or mentally mature enough for a costly trip. In my experience the player should be at a certain age before sending an athlete over-seas to receive additional training. However, each individual situation is different.
At the end of the day, I am writing this to inform and educate parents that these are businesses trying to grab your wallet. They will provide a decent to good experience for your child but the two questions I have observed that parents are not asking themselves are: Is this “wise” money spent regarding the cost vs development ratio and is there a better way? There is, player managers do this and can provide a much longer and detailed experience at a cheaper rate. Also, player managers can provide performance tips and guidance for the athlete that will aid their over sea training experience.
Want to know more or ask further questions, feel free to contact me @ 604 787 3976
Coach Shawn Agnew