We all have the same problem sooner or later.
If you run a club or an individual team you’re going to have to recruit. Maybe your best player just left for one of your rival clubs.
Maybe, a couple of parents have banded together and pulled their children out of the team because they didn’t agree with something.
Or, maybe players have just moved on.
The solution is still the same. You’ll need to recruit some players.
Note: If there are a high number of parents pulling their kids out of you team or club then there might be something more serious at play and I suggest you leave your ego at in the car and try to get to the bottom of it.
Nothing will kill a team quicker than a toxic atmosphere in a youth soccer club!
With that said here are 7 cheap (and mostly free) ways to recruit players for your team.
Player Recruitment Tactic #1: Social Media
You should be interacting with your parents at least on social media. It’s a great way to stay connected and keep them all updated.
However, social media has many other benefits.
Why not use it to help spread the word about your recruitment of players? Word of mouth can be such a powerful tool and social media can spread it like wildfire.
There are of course many social media sites you can use, including;
- LinkedIn (professionals)
Each social media platform is different so you’ll need to be a little creative on how you’re going to use each one.
The way you use Facebook would be slightly different to the way you use Pinterest for example.
Could you use both? You bet you can.
Player Recruitment Tactic #2: Community Organisations & Events
There are so many community groups wanting to lend a hand wherever they can.
Are there any organisations in your community that have direct access to parents of the kids you’re trying to get to play for your team?
- Sports Delivery Community Groups
- Parent Groups
- Church Groups
- Local events appening in your community
- Local Business Events
Player Recruitment Tactic #3: Your Website
You do have a website right?
At the very least you should try and get your website to rank on Google for the keyword term ‘Soccer Team [Your Local Area]’
On your website you should have a way parents can get in touch with you (or a team manager if that suits better).
Most soccer team websites you’ll see a nice picture of the team standing near the goal all smiling – which is great. It needs to be personal!
But too many times I’ve been on local soccer team websites and just finding a contact number for one person is hard enough let alone the under 7’s head coach.
Make your website easy for people to use.
Your website should also be hooked up to your social media accounts.
Player Recruitment Tactic #4: School Assemblies
School assemblies are a great way to get interest from a large group of kids all at the same time.
If done correctly it can be an extremely efficient way of recruiting players for your team.
If you’re really on the ball, you could use it as a way to not only increase the amount of players you have BUT also create an additional income stream for your club – think lunch time and afterschool clubs.
I’m not going to go onto the details here as I’ll save that for another post but again, try and be creative.
Player Recruitment Tactic #5: Leaflets & Posters
It would also be a great idea to have a load of leaflets to hand so that the kids you’re speaking to at the schools have something to take home to their parents.
Here’s a top tip.
Be very aware about the letters and words you use on the leaflet. Your words have the power to attract or repel parents.
Choose your words very carefully!
You’ll also be able to leave your leaflets at a local business or hand out at any events you might attend.
Player Recruitment Tactic #6: Press Releases
Press releases if done properly can have a huge effect to the right audience.
Some local newspapers will print the scores of any games played at the weekend and if you’re running an external programme somewhere (fighting obesity, getting more girls involved, disability sports) then you could write a really good article and send it to your local newspaper.
Player Recruitment Tactic #7: Soccer Schools
There are absolutely tonnes of soccer schools around and what a lot people don’t know, is a lot of the time the kids and young people that attend these soccer schools DON’T play for a team.
This would the perfect time for you to start building relationships with the people who run these soccer schools and see if you can set something up.
Wrapping it all up…
These are just tactics, and of course one-off tactics very rarely work well when executed individually.
You’ll need to put a rough plan together on how you’re going to go about recruitment new players for your soccer team.
Have a plan that incorporates at least 3-4 of the tactics above and set out a clear but simple strategy.
As good practice, give yourself a goal of the amount of players you want to see at training in the next few weeks.
The ability to attract players really comes down to;
- Will parents see your team / club as the place for their child?
- How each player will benefit from your team / club
- And whether or not you’ve sold yourself well enough
Remember there are plenty of other teams their child could play for – why would they choose yours?
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