Recruiting youth football players to your program using Facebook

By Dave Cisar | Posted 5/23/2017

In today’s world, recruiting kids to play in your youth football program is a critical success factor to maintaining and growing your program. Facebook is a very inexpensive and effective tool to recruit players and to keep your name in front of the community year round.

Social media can be easy to use and more than half of all Americans use Facebook every day. Your parents and decision makers ages 28-50 are on it nearly every day to connect with each other and gather information. It has become a de facto news source for some.

You can set up a Facebook account in your team’s name in less than five minutes and it costs nothing. People love pictures, so load up the page with things your parent target audience would be interested in. Sell what is unique and important to your parents. Here are some examples:

  • Certification. If coaches are Heads Up Football certified, share that. Also share that coaches have successfully completed a background check.
  • Facilities. Show off your facilities and your game atmosphere.
  • Practice times and approach. If you are using things like Tackle Tube or other modern technologies, share that. Give practice times so interested parents can stop by and watch how practice unfolds.
  • Success. Talk about the success of your teams as well as your player retention numbers.
  • Fundraising and volunteering. Less is better. If you don’t have to do much, talk about it. Let parents know it's not an overwhelming commitment of their time.
  • More than football. If you do things like weekly themes and awards or bring speakers in, share that.
  • Equipment. If you just got in a new set of helmets or have cool uniforms, show pictures of it all.
  • Partnerships. If you are partnered with your local high school or a respected business, brag about it.
  • Testimonials. Everyone loves testimonials. Words are great; videos are even better.

Recruiting should be a year-round activity, not something someone has to show up for, for two hours on a  Saturday in June. Signing up should be convenient and available 12 months a year. Offer early bird discounts and set several strata of discounts to encourage parents to sign up early. On Facebook, you can add your sign up form right on the page, like we do with our page.

SEE ALSO: USA Football's Shoulder Tackling course

For many youth football teams, their Facebook page is their website. You can easily keep your parents, players, prospects and the community well-informed of upcoming events. Post every time you get new equipment or when one of your alumni has had a good game in high school or college. Post about any awards or academic achievements of your former players.

Be the local “expert” in youth football and share articles that talk about the benefits of playing the game. Talk about some of the advanced techniques or specialized training your coaches have. If your coaches have experience playing in college or beyond, let parents know.

Share some of the changes going on in the game, and let parents know your program is on top of important trends. Use the page to show the parents that you know what you’re doing, you’re well organized and that you care about all the players in the program.

Encourage your parents to post pictures and comment on the page. You can delete anything you find inappropriate. Your parents are your best advertisers, so ask them to “like” your page and share some of your posts on their timeline.

Imagine someone with 246 friends in your community sharing your post with their 246 friends. If you have 100 parents sharing your posts, that means you’re in front of thousands of people for free.  Facebook also allows you to “boost” your posts to reach people, but it costs money. It isn’t very expensive and you can target people by zip code, age, gender and interests. For $50-$75, you can reach upwards of 10,000 people in some markets.

Facebook isn’t for everyone. However, it is important to a whole bunch of people with kids who could be playing youth football. If you aren’t using it to help build your program, you’re missing out on a simple and effective way to recruit players.

Dave Cisar is the founder and President of He has spoken at over 230 coaches clinics worldwide, named as the No. 4 Most Influential on Hudl’s top 100 and has authored several award-winning youth football books.