This month I had a very interesting conversation from a parent in the States looking advice for his son in terms of the next stage of his soccer career.
Let me give you a bit of background. The son is talented boy who has had trials with a major club in the English Premier League yet the parent is not an expert in the game.
So I had a skype call with the parent to give him some thoughts to consider. This is what triggered the creation of this article!
So what did I say?
Well, football is a great game but it can also be a cruel game. What happens if you don’t make the ‘cut’? Or say your son has a bad injury?
For me it is key to ensure your children focus not only on the development of their tactical and technical awareness of the game but that they complete their study’s or education.
Looking after your children’s potential sports career is great but only a small number of people make a living from the game at the highest level. I have seen many professionals attend great academy’s in their younger years only to find they don’t make the grade or an injury has put a premature end to their career. The player is left with no formal education and securing work can be problematic.
So the advice I gave to this parent was to send their son to a university in the States who have an excellent soccer programme while continuing his study in his area of interest. This way the son develops his game and gives himself the education required to get on in life should a career in soccer not materialize.
In addition, I said that his son should be part of a top youth club in his local area who will develop his technical and tactical awareness of the game before joining a university. Finally I mentioned the need to be coached by an experienced coach who can identify areas for development in his sons ability on a 1:1 basis.
All parents want to do best for their children but it is vital that children develop both on and off the field. This will give them options later in life.
Geoff Wilson runs a Sports Marketing agency working with clients such as FIFA across the world. He is also a board member of Sport Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland. You can reach Geoff on Twitter @geoffwnjwilson or firstname.lastname@example.org