It’s All About the Recognition Banquet – Part 1

“If you want special results, you have to feel special things and do special things together. You can speak about spirit, or you can live it.”

Jurgen Klopp

By Brad Carlson

No matter if you ended your playing season with a win (congrats on your State Championship!) – or a loss (the other 99.9% of us), your season truly ends with recognition at your Soccer Banquet.  Let’s have a  GREAT banquet!

Planning with your Captain’s Parents

The planning for your recognition banquet begins six months earlier with your Captain’s Parents Meeting.  Have this group of great parents coordinate and execute as much of the banquet as possible, leaving for you the crafting of the program for the evening to celebrate your program and especially your seniors (part 2).

When – After the State Tournament

Set the date frame, which is always following the State Tournament.  As a result this immediately sets the expectation that you intend your team to be playing in the State Tournament and goes along with setting a high standard for your program.  Accordingly, the week following the end of the State Tournament is best because it does not conflict with the beginning of the winter sports season for your multiple sport athletes.

Where – At the School or at a venue away from the school

Set the banquet location at the school if possible, either in the cafeteria or in the auditorium depending on the food and refreshments being served.  You can also hold the recognition banquet at a venue like a Community Center or Country Club. Price becomes an issue for some families to attend if held away from your school.

Why – Let’s celebrate our seniors and our soccer program

Recognize the seniors, no matter what team they played on.  Many of the seniors have played since they were freshmen, and many played only as high as the JV level.  Their experience is to be celebrated and recognized, as they have grown throughout their years with your soccer program physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Recognize all that have contributed to the ongoing success of your program.

How – The big decisions that will help shape the banquet and determine the price. 

·         Venue.  Important – Players do not pay.  Build their cost into the ticket price for those who pay or have your booster club pay for your players.

·         Food.  Sit down for dinner?  Catered or potluck?  Deserts only?

·         Decorations.

·         Senior Gifts.

·         Season booklets or placemats for the players.

·         Video presentation, any public media, or multiple presentations depending on your videographer.

·         PowerPoint presentation loop of pictures from the season

·         Other – let their creative juices flow!

As you can see, there are many elements that go into planning and executing a successful recognition banquet.  Many hands make light work.  The more help you get with “setting the stage” for your banquet, the more time you will have to put together a presentation worthy of your seniors, their parents, and your program.

By Brad Carlson

Brad has coached a variety of sports in the community, middle school, and high school for 40 years including coaching the MN 2021 Class A State High School Champion.  He has coached soccer from U6 at the recreational level to U19 at the club level and all age groups at the high school level, including 11 years as a head coach.  He holds a USSF "B" coaching license and USC diplomas.