Finding a new club team can be a daunting task for both athletes and parents. The road to finding a club team that fits the athlete well, isn't too far away, will give the athlete the best chances for exposure and so on are just a few things to consider when looking for a new club team. We interviewed club directors from around the country to get a sense of what they have to think on the topic and some tips for athletes to consider when trying to find a great club fit. Bobby Puppione, the Girls DA Director at FC Virginia, Joe McNab, the DOC-Girls at the Chicago Fire Juniors, Megan Baska, the Director of Team Performance & Recruitment at MAVS KC, and Mick Giordano, the Head Coach of the USL2 team of Asheville City SC have all been kind enough to share their take on finding a new club team with their interviews below. 

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Bobby Puppione is the Girls Development Academy Director for The St. James (TSJ) FC Virginia, located in Northern Virginia (just outside of Washington DC). As the DA director, Coach Puppione oversees all of the Academy teams at the club, and supports the college outreach program.

In addition to his director role, Puppoine works with the under 14 Girls National Team. He also has been a US Soccer Training Center coach and Youth National Team scout for the last three years. Prior to joining TSJ FC Virginia, Coach Puppoine was the Girls Director at CUP in Cincinnati. 

Bobby discusses the importance of doing your ‘homework’. Researching the clubs in the area -- not just being attracted to the ‘big names’ and reputation. He encourages athletes to attend multiple events, meet the coaches in the organization, and have conversations with other families. Bobby says you need to make sure you have a positive connection with all members of the club so you as a player (and family) are comfortable in the environment.

Joe McNab is the Asst. Director of Coaching Girls at Chicago Fire Juniors - City, located in downtown Chicago. In addition to this role, Joe also is an assistant coach at North Park University, a division 3 school on the northside of Chicago.

Joe discusses the process of finding a new club and how it all starts by doing some initial research -- from the demographics, core values, geographics, coaches, all of this can be found online before stepping foot in a new city. Joe also mentions the importance of speaking with current players and getting a perspective from other families.

Megan grew up playing volleyball in the Kansas City area, where she excelled for her high school by setting numerous records. She then went on to play collegiately at Arkansas State (Division 1) and had a successful 4 year career. Megan returned home to help out coaching at the high school level to eventually oversee guidance of the college recruiting process.

Megan gives her advice on how to find the right club to play for. She explains some new tryout rules that were put into place that have helped players focus on the current season. Megan also gives some tips on how to stand out at a tryout and the importance of developing a personal connection so you know they have your best interests.

Mick talks about his early roots into coaching. From assisting his Dad (DOC in North Carolina) in high school, coaching helped him see the other side of the game and from that he developed a new appreciation for soccer. Mick also talks about his experience working under some high level coaches (Bobby Musse - Wake Forest, Mathes Mennell - UNC-Asheville), he gained a vast amount of experience in a short amount of time. This has led him to not only become the youngest Head Coach in USL-2, but also in Division 1 men's soccer.

Gathering information is the first step of making a decision. Looking into the background of the Directors and their coaching background there and the reputation will give you a good understanding of how the program is run. Mick also mentioned how players should not be discouraged when they don’t make a ‘top-level’ team, and now finding the right initial fit within the organization can lead to long term success.

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