I want to start my own soccer team. What Should I do?
Get professional help. If that doesn’t persuade you otherwise, here are our suggestions on how you can make this an experience that works.
First Step – Makes Sure You Really Have a Team
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. First and foremost, don’t expect the league to find you a team’s worth of players. We post a list of male and female players looking to join teams. Our experience, which should be valuable to you, is that roughly half of the people who contact the league and say they want to get on a team never respond when team reps contact them. So our first advice is to recruit twice as many people as you think you need, and you probably need 21 people to insure you get 12 to the average game. The people you talk to at work, at happy hour, at lunch, at the gym, at anyplace will be very enthusiastic about playing until they discover that they actually have to register and pay. For some reason this seems to stifle their creative juices. So recruit twice as many people as you need.
If you’re forming a coed team, you’ll find roughly 5 times as many men interested in playing on a coed team as you find women. That also reflects our recruiting experience.
In the fall and spring, ASL games are on Sundays and a majority are at our soccer complex in Bernalillo. At the risk of stating the obvious, therefore, your players should be available to play on Sundays. During the summer, our games are generally on weeknights, so you should consider your players’ availability for that seasons as well.
The most valuable commodity on any team is a person who can play goalkeeper, is willing to join your team, and comes to the games. Rotating the goalkeeper job among people who don’t know how to play goalkeeper is a good way to insure that the person whose turn it is this week will be affected with the highly contagious “goalkeeper blues flu.” Fortunately, it tends to clear up the day after the game.
As regards actually getting your players registered, there is a full section in our web site as to what you need to about that.
Should We Have a Coach?
Maybe. The league requires a team representative to handle administrative matters but does not require a person to be a non-playing coach. That means usually whoever does the paperwork becomes the de facto coach.
Therefore, whether you have a coach depends on whether your coach is really a soccer coach who understands soccer or is a soccer “coach,” as in someone who has no idea what’s going on but realizes the key function of a coach is to yell at the referee and the players for 90 minutes because that’s what he, and it usually is a he, saw on TV or experienced as an athlete in his younger days. A “coach” is a sure fire way to make sure the longevity of team is pretty short. ASL, through New Mexico State Soccer Association, is going to begin offering introductory and rec level coaching courses and perhaps you can convince a significant other, or even an insignificant other, to step up and coach your team by getting qualified through these clinics.
What About Uniforms?
Your team will need numbered shirts for every player, which each shirt having a different number, all the shirts except the goalkeeper being of the same color, and the numbers professionally applied, either by iron on at a place like House of Soccer or silk screened from the manufacturer.
Your uniforms do not have to be expensive. If you want matching shirts, short, and socks, go for it. We require matching shirts, not shorts or socks. House of Soccer can outfit your team in nice numbered Adidas, Puma or Nike shirts at a fairly reasonable rate. Or you can spend a lot of money. We don’t require you to spend a lot of money.
If you want to spend a lot more money, you can purchase a second set of jerseys just in case your opponent shows up wearing the same color. The league has scrimmage vests and loaner jersey sets to accommodate this, so you don’t need to feel required to do so yourself.
Should We Have Practice Sessions?
In theory, yes. Your team should practice for several reasons. It lets people get to know each other and a well-organized series of drills will make your players better. With that said, having a practice actually requires your players to come to practice as well as games. Playing a scrimmage is not practice and we don’t have fields available for scrimmages. There are too many sports activities going on in town to provide field space for that.
What Equipment Do We Need for Practice?
At a minimum, probably soccer balls that are inflated (and probably a hand pump to inflate the balls) and some good old fashioned cones to set up your workout area. In most city parks you won’t have a lot of space given the amount of teams using the scarce amount of grass in the city.