How to Organize A Pick-up Sports Group
Chris Ogden's recipe for
Pick-up Soccer in Walton
For more than a decade now, I've organized friendly informal games of soccer throughout the summer. I was inspired by a prior group that existed when I was in middle/high school, and have strived for a similar environment. Over the years, we've found these friendly co-ed soccer matches with mixed teams of youth and adults to be a great way to level up skills as varsity players, and then a great way to stay in shape as adults. Most importantly, it has always been a fun way to spend an evening. Consistently getting together a group of 10-30 soccer players in a small community (let alone one better known for the other type of "football") is not always easy. Here are a few takeaways regarding what worked for us: Consistency. We try to play three nights a week to the greatest extent that weather allows. We also thought it best not to play two nights in a row (and people often have other plans Friday and Saturday), so our schedule is Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Reminders. We have a Facebook Group where we post reminders before each game. There's much not to love about Facebook and I'm frequently searching for an alternative, but it's worked decently for getting the word out about our games. Inclusivity. We welcome all players high school aged and older. This means games are sometimes more casual than competitive, but that's okay. It's still fun to play and it rules out overly aggressive play from the start, which is good when you can't afford a referee. Playing in the off season is also a good way for younger players to continue to develop their skills. For us older players, it helps make sure we have enough people around to field a full team. There's always other lessons to be learned and shared, but they may vary based upon your own goals and context. I'd encourage you to find a field (we play on local school fields, or at the community park if those are already in use by another group), talk to people to find some players, and then start kicking a ball around. If you stick with it, the group will grow and everyone will have fun!