What Makes a Soccer Season Successful?

iSoccer: The Game Within the Game

October is right around the corner, the weather is turning, and fall soccer season is in full swing across North America. For parents and coaches, it’s a great time to look ahead and ask: at the end of the season, what would success look like?  We spend a ton of time, energy, and money on youth soccer, so it can be helpful to think about expectations. After all, in between the practices, uniforms, tournaments, carpools, and orange slices, there are millions of young people having a variety of different experiences playing soccer this fall.

When I was coaching, I used this simple checklist to determine if the season had been a success for a player:

1. Did they have fun?
2. Did they improve?
3. Are they excited for next season?

If yes to all three, the season was a huge success! But how do you get there? Here are a few thoughts and strategies for parents and coaches that I think will help your player[s] have a great time this season.

Tangible Improvement
One of the most effective ways to get players excited about soccer, is to show them that they are improving. When players can see individual improvement, it builds confidence, momentum, and optimism. Hey, I’m getting better at this! After all, playing soccer is fun, but playing soccer well is more fun!

iSoccer gives players simple, objective feedback, and the ability to witness tangible improvement that in-game performances can’t always provide. When coaches and parents recognize and reward this improvement, it’s even more powerful.

Team sports are inherently social, and feeling “a part of the team” is a big component of a successful season. When a player feels like they are contributing in some way, it has a huge impact on their overall enjoyment.

In youth soccer, sometimes it’s hard for everyone to make a big contribution in games, so setting team iSoccer goals is one way to help every player feel included in the team. When everyone has to raise their iSoccer scores, no matter what those scores are, it can build a group mentality that strengthens camaraderie, and gets everyone working together. Be sure to give the same amount (or even more) attention to weaker players who raise their scores!

Let’s be honest – everyone likes to win, and players usually have more fun when they are winning. However, it’s important to remember that more often than not, focusing on improvement and camaraderie leads to winning, not the other way around!

At iSoccer, even though we don’t think winning games should be the most important aspect of youth soccer, we want everyone to experience success on the field! Our mission is to motivate players to spend more time on the ball working on technique, because in our opinion, the more technical team usually has a better chance of winning!

Things like exercise, achievement, and life lessons are all valuable components of a successful season. But at the end of the day, if soccer isn’t fun, it’s really not worth the time and effort. So have a great time this fall, and I hope iSoccer can help make your season a success!

Scott Leber, iSoccer Founder and CEO