This post was sent into us by Patricia Hamilton from Alton, NH
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
I have logged many hours on various sidelines in numerous states in different capacities over the past 13 or so years. So I can honestly tell you … bigger isn’t always better and in the end it often leads to people losing sight of what is really important. The kids.
I was blessed with the formation of a team in our community when my boys were young. I will forever be grateful and indebted to the father who stepped up at the recreation level to gather this rambunctious group of boys to kick this ball around the field. This paved the foundation to one of the greatest gifts my family has ever been given. After a season or two of recreational soccer our coach offered us an opportunity to play in the spring. The small soccer club local to our area took us under their wing and we entered the world of competitive travel soccer. Well, that first spring was quite the learning curve for all of us involved since this world is totally different from the world of recreational soccer. But what began to happen was priceless. Yes, the boys won games and lost games and went on to win tournaments and lose tournaments but the bonds that were formed are never ending and the lessons learned have been life altering. Families from primarily Wolfeboro and Alton became one. The older teams cheered on the younger teams and one of the boys from the older team even joined our coach as an assistant coach when he wasn’t playing himself.
After a number of years and as the teams in our little club grew up and moved on, our team found themselves in a precarious position. Our club was dissolving and we needed somewhere to go. Being awestruck by the size and perceptions of what a larger club would have to offer us, we joined a bigger club as a satellite team because of our distance away from their main facilities. Yes, the first year of this partnership went just fine. But as we moved into the second year this bigger club seemed to only see the dollar sign. They didn’t see the players. They didn’t see the families. They didn’t see the bond and community built between the people involved from the surrounding towns that had been together for years. They were adamant that they were going to split this team up and build separate teams. What a heartbreaking and stressful time this was for all of us. This was our community. Our family. This larger club we had joined did not care about our philosophy or feelings. They only saw possible dollar signs.
Luckily for us … just on the other side of town, in Barnstead, a gentleman had moved into the area and had started a new club; Revolution United FC. Our coach spoke with and met with him in February of 2013 and our prayers were answered. This person had the same philosophy as we did. He was in this for the kids, the families, the community. We had found our new home. Did we lose opportunities by going back to a smaller club? No … not one. We have sent kids off to play at the college level, to participate in different tournaments up and down the east coast, to 3v3 tournaments in Florida. And I believe we actually gained something back by joining back with a smaller club. We bridged two communities into one. That bond helped bring the first State Championship home to our high school. Our u17 players are helping introduce this wonderful sport to our minis. And that assistant coach I told you about earlier, he is now the head coach of one of our teams. We are a family again. And I am proud to be a part of that, hoping that I can help give to one child what that first coach and now this club has given to me and my boys.
I have heard similar stories from other parents in recent years whose small clubs faced similar problems and did the same thing we did. They have had the same results and been just as unsatisfied with their choice. Many have left as we did and some look to leave and go back to the smaller club atmosphere and are just trying to find the right fit. So remember folks … if that bigger entity comes knocking on your door … I’m here to tell you … bigger isn’t always better.