So, you’re a talented HS soccer player – so good, in fact, that you’ve been playing for the elite US Soccer Academy Development team in your region. It’s a premier team that allows a soccer player to compete against other elite players, all of whom are in the hunt for a college scholarship, or even perhaps a chance to make the US Olympic team down the road.
But traditionally, over the years, these talented players have been with their HS varsity teams in the fall, and then, when the HS season ends in November, the kids go and play exclusively with the US Soccer team exclusively through the winter and spring.
But now, in an effort to try and step up the coaching of these players, US Soccer has now announced that it no longer wants to wait 2-3 months for these HS kids to play on their school team. Starting in 2012, these kids will have to choose one or the other – either play for your HS varsity, or play with us.
How silly is that? Why force these kids to walk away from the fun and excitement of playing with their school buddies, in front of the local hometown fans, and wearing their school colors?
Do you really think an extra 10 weeks of playing for US Soccer is really going to make a key difference in these kids either getting a scholarship or playing for the Olympic team? Come on – this is just stupid — and, quite frankly, selfish.
It puts these kids in a very awkward – and unnecessary dilemma. If I were US Soccer, I would go back and rethink this mandate. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when some of these top soccer players decide to play with their high school team. Above all, these kids will point to the fact that playing with their chums on their school is just more fun than playing on an elite travel team.
I wonder, US Soccer – does “fun” ever count anymore when it comes to amateur sports? Or is just about winning at all costs?