It is very common for talented young players to have a number of clubs that are looking to sign him up. Over the years I’ve seen quite a few young boys, and their parents, pick the wrong club.
So what should you look for in a club if they want to sign you. Based on my experience here are some tips.
- Are there dedicated Under 16 and Under 18 club coaches
These are the most important people at the club for a boy’s football development. Are they good coaches, and do they have an approachable, and open personality.
- Education and welfare officer
Someone you can talk to if you have a problem. A lot of youngsters don’t make it as a professional, and I think it’s important to be at a club who will prepare you for a life outside football. Some clubs are better at this than others.
- Have the club a track record for getting young players into the first team
Find out how many players from the club’s Youth Academy have got into the first team in the last ten years. Some clubs only sign young players to make up required numbers in the Academy.
- What record does the club have in helping released players find another club
Some clubs have better reputations than others at helping boys get another club, once the decision has been made to release them. Ask questions, find out what they’ve done for ex-players.
- What are the Lodgings like?
When you go to a club on trial you will normally be offered a hotel room to stay in. Instead when you go to a club on trial, ask to stay in club lodgings to see what they are like. When you sign you will not be staying in a hotel. Are the lodgings good? Would you be happy in them? Will you fit in with the other people living there? It’s important to have landlords who will communicate with the parents. Also, how far are the lodgings from the training ground? Some are up to two bus trips away. Talk to other boys at the club, see how they are getting on with their living arrangements.
- Speak to the manager, to get an idea of his vision for young players
Any parent considering to send their son to a club should make sure that they get some time with the manager. It’s important to judge his opinion of bringing young players through. Bear in mind though that these days, managers don’t tend to be around a long time. I wouldn’t look on a club favourably if the manager can’t find time to speak with you.
I hope you find these tips useful. In my experience, some boys go to a club because it is a big club, and quite often some parents get carried away with glamour of it all. It’s always better to go to a club were the boy will be happy.
Have you got any tips of your own. What are your thoughts on my tips. Let me know in the comments.