I came across this article from a high school soccer coach and I don’t understand what his point is.
It’s quite simple in my (simple) mind:
High school soccer is a great way to bond with classmates in your neighborhood and to learn what it means to be on a team. It can be fun and a confidence booster for youngsters. No question there is a place for high school soccer.
However, the standard of play, the coaching, the practices, the tactical understanding, and the opposition for high school soccer is so far from competitive soccer levels, especially the top level, that boys and girls that are pursuing soccer at the top level cannot justify taking time out to play on their high school teams.
The gap really is large and top players already have so little time left outside their clubs’ demanding practice & games schedule and keeping up with school work.
Top players need to focus all their time on top developmemt programs, avoid risk of injury that often comes from playing against opponents that aren’t quite in control of their movements, and avoid possibly adopting bad habits during the high school soccer seasons.
The high school years are often make or break years for top players to reach the elite level. High school soccer simply doesn’t provide what this kind of player needs. The social aspects are (unfortunately) just ‘nice to have’ for top players.
There surely is no question about this.
Losing a star impact player can make a difference for specific high schools, but high school soccer as a whole won’t be materially affected if, say, the top 1% of players skip the teams.
So I strongly suggest that high school soccer continues to focus on what it does best, recognize what it doesn’t do well, and support U.S. Soccer’s elite player development efforts. And vice versa, of course.
I don’t see why high school soccer should be in decline. The better we do at the top level in this country, especially internationally, the more soccer will grow here.
There is no reason for conflict. A rising tide lifts all boats.