Joining a soccer team should be more than just learning to trap a ball, scoring a goal, or making nice passes. It should also be more than learning about sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork, and discipline. It should also be about giving players unique opportunities that they otherwise would not have.
I’m a big fan of youth soccer players becoming referees. I can’t think of a better way for young soccer players to learn more about the sport of soccer, learn to appreciate and understand that refereeing is not as simple as it looks, give back to the sport that has given them so much, and also earn some extra money.
In today’s Communication and Internet Era, more and more teams have websites. On these sites, rosters, schedules, scores, photos, and videos are shared with friends and family. Yet rarely have I seen written game summaries. I usually only see them when they appear in our local newspaper. I think each team needs a correspondent or reporter who writes game previews and summaries or special features about each player. Who better to have or play this role than an actual player (or players)?
There are a number of benefits associated with having a player be the team reporter.
- The perspective of a game is vastly different coming from a player than from a coach or parent. The player’s perspective is much more interesting and refreshing.
- Many teams seek donations from friends, family members, and businesses to support their soccer endeavors. As a show of appreciation, these donors should be given regular updates throughout the season.
- At the end of the season, players, families, and donors will be able to look back at the memorable season.
- It gives a player an opportunity to learn a new skill. An injured player would make a great correspondent because he/she would be making a very important contribution to the team.
- Local newspapers can be given permission to use these updates and articles. Which kid would not like to see his/her work appear in a newspaper?
- Perhaps an arrangement can be made with the player’s English teacher to get extra credit.
- A player is never too young to benefit from having ‘reporter’ on his/her resume.
In order for the reporter to be successful and for the content to be embraced and appreciated, certain guidelines need to be followed and a support structure needs to be in place.
- Each team member needs equal ‘print time’. While each team will have a few outstanding players, a team is made up of all players.
- Assign a parent to review all content before it is published. Check for good grammar, typos, and inappropriate language. This parent should mentor the reporter and give suggestions on how the player can improve his/her writing skills.