Most big clubs in England now have pre academies to their academies as they monitor the young talent that they legally cannot sign. Other nations have no such policy and thus recruit as young as possible with some clubs doing some form of development work with children aged 3 and 4.
So the question is then, how young is too young when it comes to playing?
Truthfully, I believe all kids should be playing in some form or another as soon as they can. But make no mistake, there’s a HUGE difference between just allowing kids to play at a young age and between keeping tabs on them as though they’re some human commodity for business purposes.
Sure, the professional levels of the game I definitely have no problem in admitting that my club’s favourite player is an asset, a prized possession, a human commodity. But for professional clubs to begin casting a net on kids that are not even going to school just seems completely wrong to me.
Look I get it, its a competitive world out there. No matter what industry you’re in there’s always someone who’s looking at trying to do what you do and is finding out ways to do it better, bigger and quicker. So gaining any ‘one up’ on the competition is of course looked at more than favourably.
But, with youth club organisations, whether they like to admit, have a moral obligation too. Their reason for operation is to best serve their customers and their customers are young children and their parents. Attempting to keep tabs on the youngest possible ‘customers’ seems a little off to me in that the business functions are overriding their ethical values.
Exploiting young parents and their children and treating them like prized possessions is something that youth clubs should be ashamed of and stay away from. I mean where does it end! Clubs keeping tabs on hospital birth records?!
But if a club stands to serve first. Serve ethically. Serve humanely. Serve positively with customers best interests first… Guess what, you’ll be known for that. THAT will be that competitive advantage you were looking for. You won’t have to lower yourself into the race to the bottom.
Hey! If a club is open and happy to be known as a club that is in operation for business first then it will have no problem attempting to running the rule over 3 and 4 year olds (or younger!) and judging if ‘they are up to it’. They’re in the game for the numbers.
But as I say, business isn’t just about numbers. It’s about people. Let’s remember that.
What do you guys think? Who disagrees with me and is all in favour for these pre school aged scouting and club programs? What’s the youngest age kids should be invited to be ‘scouted’. I really wanna hear from you.