There is always that one time in life where you have to decide whether you want to continue playing a sport for fun or take it a step further and become serious about it. Well, I hope this blog makes it a little easier for you when deciding how much of the pie you want to devote to your sport.
Personally, I made the decision of starting to play competitive soccer starting 6th grade because I really loved the sport and I wanted to spend more time getting better at it as well as playing with better players. The transition was not easy because recreational soccer required a lot less time commitment, less mental strength, and not really pushing me to the limit. However, with this trade-off came greater skill, getting on the first team of Liverpool Football Academy, and getting all league player award for my high school soccer team. Here are a few key factors you should consider when deciding which route to take.
Love or Like: I clearly loved this sport as I had been playing it for many years and I loved to go to my practices, attend games, and enjoy all the other fun aspects of this sport. Therefore, this is why I made the jump to play competitive soccer and attend 3 trainings every week for 2 hours and have games on the weekend compared with recreational soccer where I had 2 one hour trainings and occasionally games on the weekend. If you like the sport but do not truly love it from the bottom of your heart, you may really want to think about it and see whether transitioning from recreational to competitive soccer is really worth your time.
Priorities/Time Commitments: You should make a list of all the things you have to put your time into during the week and really see how much time you have to play this sport. If you do not have too much time for the sport, the decision is relatively easier as you can either drop the sport or play recreational. However, if you do not have a lot of time but you really love the sport and want to get to the next level, you need to decide what you want to give up or spend less time on so you can reinvest that time in to playing competitively.
Family Commitment: This factor is not in your control but you need to look at how much time your parents are willing to put in and take you to trainings and games over the weekend. Recreational soccer requires less time commitment because there are usually fewer practices a week and the games do not happen very far from where you live. Personally, I live in the Bay Area and I have had tournaments in San Diego to Las Vegas when I played competitively.
Money: I really hope this is not the deciding factor between you choosing to play recreational or competitive soccer. However, competitive soccer is a lot more expensive than recreational soccer and you want to make sure that you or your family are willing to put in the money if you switch to playing competitive.
Overall, competitive soccer does require a lot more from the player while recreational soccer is more like a hobby. Therefore, I would spend some time to look at various factors before making my final decision. If you have any personal experiences, feel free to share them below!