How Youth Soccer Players Can Earn More Playing Time

Published on April 23, 2018

Playing time can make or break an athletes development, confidence, and experience. Let’s take a look at how your players should and should not react when they are not given the playing time you/they believe they deserve, and what they can do to get more playing time!

What NOT to do:

Act like it doesn’t matter

Caring is cool. Something I have noticed when working with young athletes, especially teenagers, is that many are afraid to fully commit emotionally to their sport. I think we can all agree that the harder you work for something, the more success you tend to have.  Don’t carry yourself like you don’t care whether or not you succeed- that is THE biggest turn off for any coach.

Get your parents involved

If you want to vent about something that is disappointing or upsetting with those who you are closest to, go ahead. However, I have never met a coach that would rather discuss playing time with a parent than a player. All parents think their kid should get more playing time, but it should be up to the players to take action and talk to the coach.

Compare your game to the player ahead of you

Be the best version of yourself and try not to compare attributes.  Be your own player and focus on controlling what YOU can control.

What to do:

Be your team’s biggest fan

I know from experience that this can be extremely difficult. When I was in my Junior year of college we were in the Conference Championship game and I wasn’t getting the playing time I thought I deserved. I played only a few minutes and we ended up winning the game. It was supposed to be an amazing moment with my teammates but instead I was angry that I didn’t play more. I faked a smile and held in my anger for the celebration. That was one of my biggest regrets in my collegiate career. I missed out on the opportunity to be happy and happy for my teammates.

When you embrace your team’s success, I promise that your coaches and teammates will notice, regardless of the role you played, and respect you for it.

Make it clear you want to play

The key here is to communicate to your coach and ask what you can improve and get more playing time.  It is not enough to verbally communicate with your coach that you want to play more. You need to show it with extra work as well.

This may be hard to do, but your coach will respect your for it. When I coached a club team, I had a player come up to me one day before practice and ask me that exact question. I told her what she can improve on, and from that moment forward, her whole attitude and work ethic changed. She started getting more playing time and was back to her old goal-scoring self.

Do the little things

Be the first one to the field. When you arrive, don’t just sit on your phone or gossip. Grab a ball and get moving- juggle or pass with a teammate. Making yourself better, showing your coach how much you care.

Be patient

Most good things take time and achieving your goals on the field is no exception. While you are working hard to get better, you need to maintain positive relationships with your coaches and teammates- it will make all the difference.


There are times when playing time is out of your control and it seems like you’ve done everything to get more playing time but your coach just isn’t seeing it.. When that happens, it is very easy to get discouraged and stop working hard. Whatever you do, DO NOT STOP WORKING. If that coach doesn’t respond to your effort, I promise there will be another coach out there in the future who will. So don’t give up, stay positive, be patient, and good things will come.

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