For the last several years, we have been running the Snap Soccer Playdates for local (Gulf Coast, Pensacola Area) soccer clubs to help organize friendlies with the surrounding clubs. We started these playdates back in 2013 and continue to partner with several local hosts that support the attending teams and clubs. Since the startup of these playdates, we get asked several common questions every year from new managers and coaches.
What is the point of the Snap Soccer Playdates?
Should I add my team?
How are they different from tournaments?
The point of playdates can be summarized in three categories: Player and Team Development, Relaxed Environment, and Saturday Only. We created these games with the ability to allow clubs to enter their teams from U9-U14 into a set of up to 6 games a season (12 per year) at a much lower cost than a full-blown soccer tournament. However, they are still running with the same professional event management that teams experience when they attend other Snap Soccer events.
A) Player and Team Development
The playdates are solely for development. No scores are kept, and there is no pressure on the players to win. Coaches have the ability to test out new formations as well as put players in new positions that they are not used to playing. Many times we find that clubs have a lack of contacts, adequate fields, and access to referees to be able to play other teams outside of a tournament environment. These issues tend to result in coaches using the same players in the same formations and always playing for the win due to a fear of losing.
B) Relaxed Environment
The playdates are as relaxed as any soccer game should be. The players don’t have the pressure to WIN (even though it may be desired), the games are friendly, and the parents can just sit back and enjoy! From time to time, we have a parent whose comments or actions single them out among the other parents because the sidelines are normally relaxed. So when a team parent is being loud, shouting instructions to the players, or just not following sideline protocol, it is easy for the coach to identify and approach this parent in a non-competitive environment.
Here is a recent sound bite we heard from a coach:
“[Parent Name], these games are for development and testing. If you keep telling your player to run up the field, it is going to confuse them on how to play the position we put them in. These games are very important to allow us the ability to teach them new positions and allow them to fail.”
C) Saturday Only Games
As clear as can be, playdates are for SATURDAYS ONLY. No hotel stays are needed for our playdates, and families still have most of their weekend to bond away from the fields, for once.
As a club administrator, there is no stress to schedule the referees, organize the assignor, pay the referees, or deal with the management of organizing 80+ teams into a full day of soccer. Not to mention you get to be surrounded by thousands of our local soccer fans! Snap Soccer loves this environment, and it is a significant part of why we do the playdates. Seeing people gather for a day of soccer in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere puts big smiles on our team’s face.
MOVING INTO 2020
One of the main reasons we continue to run the Snap Playdates is because the clubs keep asking for them. But over the years, the playdates have been getting big enough to where it’s difficult to fit all the games into one day. After reviewing the local facilities we can use, we have determined that we can effectively host up to 80 teams per playdate. This allows game times to be closer which supports families who have multiple kids so that they aren’t in the fields from 8AM-8PM.
We always try to remember that this is the player’s game. Playdates are the perfect environment for them, coaches, and parents to focus on player development in a relaxed, no-stress setting. Did we mention how easy playdates are to run for soccer club administrators and event staff?
Be sure to get your team in early to ensure you are one of the first 80 teams who get accepted.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding Snap Soccer’s playdates, please reach out to us!