When my daughter was little, I wanted her to experience lots of different activities and try everything at least once. We started music classes and gymnastics before she could walk. As she got older we added in dance, T-ball, swimming, and soccer. She is about to turn nine, and we recently became a one sport family.
Deciding to participate in only one sport wasn’t a decision we made over night. We spent years trying different sports for multiple seasons. We tried different leagues, different teams, different coaches. We really wanted to get a feel for the options that were out there. My daughter really excelled at soccer and she really enjoyed playing, which was the most important part for us. We started playing year round through different recreation leagues. Every season the schedule changed, and every season we had to rearrange our schedule and change any other extra-curricular activities we had going on. Oh, and did I mention that we have three other kids!
With how chaotic life gets for a family of six, we decided it was time to simplify. My kids decided that soccer was their sport, so we decided to turn our focus there for now, especially for our oldest. Once a player gets to a certain age, they age out of recreation leagues and have to play on a club team, especially if they want to play the sport as they get older. This season we finally took the plunge and joined a club team.
Joining a club team is a huge commitment in so many ways. First, you are committing to a much bigger financial obligation. Most recreation seasons cost somewhere between $30-$80 per season depending on age, location, and sport. Club teams cost anywhere from $500 – $1000+ per year (plus uniform costs, equipment costs, tournament fees, and field fees). The costs add up fast.
Next, there’s the time commitment. Recreation teams can have one or two short practices each week followed by a game day (for younger kids, practice and games can even happen on the same day). In club league there are at least two practices each week, and game days consist of at least two games that you typically have to travel to. Younger club teams only travel up to an hour, but older club teams can travel states away. (That means you also get to add hotel stays to your cost bracket.)
With this commitment that our family made, we have decided to become a one sport family and focus on soccer for now. My daughter is young, (she’s almost nine,) and if she gets to a point where she stops enjoying playing soccer and wants to move on, we will support her. The most important thing to my husband and I as parents is for our children to be happy, so we will do everything in our power to help them be happy.
For now, we are a soccer family. (Still not a minivan-driving soccer mom yet though!)