Normally at this time of year, Fall soccer leagues would be kicking off. Summer tournaments would be in the rear view mirror.
Nothing about 2020 is normal.
Leagues in SoCal will most likely NOT be able to kick off in early October as they had tentatively planned. Teams around Southern California are training — socially distanced of course. Training in isolated groups is all that is allowed right now.
Any other year, a club or team switch would have happened months ago. Normally, when September rolls around, rosters are locked in. But, again, nothing about 2020 is normal.
MLS Next announcement
Recently, MLS announced the branding surrounding their new boys youth development platform. MLS Next was announced on Monday September 7th.
Because 2020 is so abnormal, soccer families have an opportunity that didn’t exist before. Switching to a new club or team in the Fall is a viable option.
Considering a switch? Check out local clubs, including the clubs joining MLS Next:
SoCal Clubs joining Next
The Southern California clubs who will be part of the MLS Next platform are:
- City SC (Carlsbad)
- Chula Vista FC
- Albion SC
- Los Angeles Galaxy
- Los Angeles Surf
- LA United Futbol Academy
- Murietta Surf Soccer Club
- Nomads SC
- Total Futbol Academy (TFA)
- Ventura County Fusion
Switching clubs: 3 steps
For soccer families wondering about switching clubs or teams, here are some tips:
Step 1, research
If you’re interested in MLS Next, check out the MLS Next website here. The site covers a lot about this new soccer development program. Look at the details and decide if that is a good fit for your family. Many boys on these teams will be homeschooled or attending online charter schools to allow for more time training during the week. Every family may not have to give up traditional school, but that is the level of commitment that exists in this new development program.
If that program is not a good fit for your family, no worries! There are plenty of clubs. Check out SoccerNation’s map of SoCal competitive youth soccer clubs:
Step 2, reach out for a trial
Click on a map dot above. Details for that club will appear, including the club’s website. You’ll be able to find contact info for each club that way.
If MLS Next isn’t quite right for your family, ask which leagues the club will be joining at your player’s age group. There are quite a few leagues at different competitive levels. Each team will require different amounts of travel and training days, depending on the competition and commitment level.
Ask the club if your player can have a trial period with a team. Pay attention to the coaching style. Remember: It’s not just the coach deciding if the player is right for the team. The family is also deciding if this coach and team are a good fit.
Step 3, it’s all about the coach
When you’re offered a spot on the roster, be sure your family loves the coach. Is the coach communicative? Does the coach answer all of your questions? Is the coaching style a good fit for your player?
There are other important factors: Are the families a good group of people you like? Does your player get along with the team? Is the travel time a good fit for your family? Can you afford it?
But above all, the most important deciding factor is THE COACH. Choose a team and a coach you love that is excited to have you as part of the team.