I was recently asked if a player the age of 17-18 should stay in their club team or move up a level and play in a local men’s premier league. If you or your child is in this situation, a number of things should be considered:
- The important thing to remember is player development. A player can only learn so much while sitting on the bench. Therefore, playing time must strongly be considered.
- Young players need a lot of game to improve and develop. This is often why many professionals will often be sent out on loan so they can receive a lot of playing time and continue their development at a higher level.
- Consider long term versus short term. If you advance move up to a premier team will you stay with them for more than one season or be looking for a new team after that? Speak to the coach in advance and find out where he sees you fitting into his plans. Also find out if that same coach plans on being there short/long term.
- Always be challenging yourself. If you’re youth team is playing at the same level then perhaps a new challenge is what is needed.
- Speak to other players on the higher level team. Find out what successes they’ve had and see if they can help you in achieving your goals.
- If you’re goal is to play at the varsity level, find out if the coach of the premier team has worked with players to help them receive scholarships. Receiving a scholarship is a process and coaches that have gone through it will be much more familiar than those who have never succeeded in having players move on to the varsity level.
Playing at a higher should not discourage, make you scared or lower your confidence in any way. This might be a great opportunity to raise your game to the next level. Either way do your homework and speak to as many people involved in this move to help you come to the right decision.