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New Policy Forces Elite Soccer Players to Choose Between High School and Development Teams: Right Decision?

Sports 2012/03/05 01:41:41
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America’s top soccer players are now faced with a difficult decision. Unlike their counterparts on football, baseball, and basketball teams, these teens must choose between representing their high schools and receiving elite national team training.

The Development Academy program, created in 2007 by the United States Soccer Federation, seeks to provide premiere training for the best U.S. youth players. In the past, Academy teams only played three months out of the year—allowing these elite players to play for their high schools teams in the off-season. Recently, the federation announced that the Academy season would be extended to 10 months.



Some see this development as a step in the right direction for American soccer.

“If we want our players to someday compete against the best in the world, it is critical for their development that they train and play as much as possible and in the right environment,” said U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“The Development Academy 10-month season is the right formula and provides a good balance between training time and playing competitive matches. This is the model that the best countries around the world use for their programs and I think it makes perfect sense that we do, as well,” he added.

Such proponents point out that even with the change, Academy teams will only practice an average of 200-260 hours per season—compared to closer to 600 hours a year in Spain or Holland. Furthermore, because Academy teams are only open to elite players, less than 1% of the current player pool will be impacted.

Others, however, believe that being forced to give up high school soccer is too great a sacrifice—especially considering that most of these players will not become professional athletes. They also cite examples of players who have received attention from college recruiters despite choosing high school (and other club leagues) over the Academy program.

What do you think SodaHeads? Did the United States Soccer Federation make a good decision?

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/sports/soccer/so...

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Opinions

  • BarçaSupporter 2012/03/27 04:01:30
    Undecided
    BarçaSupporter
    Just another example of how Americans can take a simple sport like soccer and make it extremely complicated ...
  • Doc Frank stein 2012/03/12 11:22:19
    Undecided
    Doc Frank stein
    Here in OZ, even 45 yrs ago, you could not engage any high school sports - even just House competition - if you were professionally signed somewhere!
  • Andrew 2012/03/10 01:12:33
    No
    Andrew
    Nope.
  • Persephone 2012/03/05 21:39:46
    No
    Persephone
    That's just ridiculous.
  • TINA_MARVIN 2012/03/05 18:16:31
  • t.eliot, topbard 2012/03/05 18:04:39
    No
    t.eliot, topbard
    As a kid, I played any sport I could, from squash to tennis, football, baseball and so on, many just for fun with my pals, soccer, basketball and track competitively in high school, and one year of college basketball and one of college soccer (small college freshman teams). I've made a career of teaching Phys. Ed. (I'm 64), and it is with sadness that I see many of my students specializing in one sport and often getting burned out. While the specialization has created players with far greater skills than we had in the 60's, the loss in joy is often palpable and in many cases, I believe that kids forced to choose one sport too early miss an important developmental piece and would be better served, athletically, spiritually and socially by learning athletic skills and teamwork through variety and pick a specialty later in life. That said, there is no doubt that a small slice of the population is ready to specialize young. The question is how to identify them while letting others take a more normal and healthy developmental path.
  • KenjaiRo 2012/03/05 17:49:51
    Undecided
    KenjaiRo
    Does it really matter? This is a personal choice issue. If a teenager really loves soccer and thinks he has what it takes to make it big (determination, perseverance, willingness to run, run, run, and some talent), then he should do it. High school soccer isn't all that great because most schools don't support it very well or have very good coaches.
  • brunyon 2012/03/05 16:47:24
    Undecided
    brunyon
    +1
    why play soccer when there are better sports to play
  • Feria~B... brunyon 2012/03/05 17:25:16
    Feria~Badass of PHAET~
    Because soccer is the most played sport in the world?

    That's your opinion, it's not fact.
  • brunyon Feria~B... 2012/03/05 17:29:51
  • Feria~B... brunyon 2012/03/05 17:34:06
    Feria~Badass of PHAET~
    Clearly, one must have a brain to understand soccer. I can see why you don't like it. Stick to football, you don't need anything for that but an empty head.
  • brunyon Feria~B... 2012/03/05 18:56:40
    brunyon
    +1
    Yea nice try there, soccer is the twillight of sports its okay
  • smitty Feria~B... 2012/03/05 19:39:59 (edited)
    smitty
    My guess is probably it is the most watched sport. In terms on # of participants it is debatable. I had suspected to find baseball up top rather than basketball.

    Which soccer is boring to watch, but fun to play. The same as baseball.

    Number of National Sporting Federations (for Olympic Sports in 2005)
    rank International Federation Sport National Federations
    1 FIVB Volleyball 218
    2 FIBA Basketball 212
    3 IAAF Athletics (Track & Field) 211
    4 FIFA Football (Soccer) 205
    5 ITF Tennis 203
    6 ITTF Table Tennis 197

    http://www.topendsports.com/w...
  • GoatHorns Feria~B... 2012/03/05 22:04:53
    GoatHorns
    chinese is also the most spoken language in the world. who cares.
  • Cap 2012/03/05 15:56:59
    Undecided
    Cap
    There's no "right" answer to this question. Some kids are better served by one policy, others by the other. Normally that might induce me to agree with the USSF - Who can disagree with offering more options that better suit some kids? - but I'm quite doubtful as to the benefit of the extra training and, to some degree, this is a put-down of high school soccer that may retard the overall growth in soccer's popularity.
  • Mog of War 2012/03/05 15:49:45
    No
    Mog of War
    You know these other countries that keep beating us, don't have these elite programs, not the way we do anyway. They mostly more energy put into their athletics programs and have lots of pickup games. You know, back in the old days, kids could go to parks and play whatever sport that was there without having to worry about reserving a field or anything like that... And we weren't getting our asses handed to us nearly as badly back then. This Elitist nonsense, has confined our musical culture, our acting culture, academic and scientific culture, and our athletic culture behind the walls of places most people never see. In the countries that keep kicking our asses in soccer, the ELITES are playing for the love of the game, in parks everywhere, in towns big and small, and their pros are coaching little league games. If someone wants to go play soccer, or baseball, or football, they go walk to the park, and someone's playing one of those games, then they can join right in. And when the game is out there where it can be seen and felt by all, not just those who pay for tickets, or join up with teams, then there is more public scrutiny, thus honor and sportsmanship means more. And when the game is about honor and duty, not about some integral of some probability function put toge...
    You know these other countries that keep beating us, don't have these elite programs, not the way we do anyway. They mostly more energy put into their athletics programs and have lots of pickup games. You know, back in the old days, kids could go to parks and play whatever sport that was there without having to worry about reserving a field or anything like that... And we weren't getting our asses handed to us nearly as badly back then. This Elitist nonsense, has confined our musical culture, our acting culture, academic and scientific culture, and our athletic culture behind the walls of places most people never see. In the countries that keep kicking our asses in soccer, the ELITES are playing for the love of the game, in parks everywhere, in towns big and small, and their pros are coaching little league games. If someone wants to go play soccer, or baseball, or football, they go walk to the park, and someone's playing one of those games, then they can join right in. And when the game is out there where it can be seen and felt by all, not just those who pay for tickets, or join up with teams, then there is more public scrutiny, thus honor and sportsmanship means more. And when the game is about honor and duty, not about some integral of some probability function put together by someone running the numbers on each individual's skills, then you have teams who are actually teams, and not just a bunch of star players put in one place. I find it despicable, but our Hollywood actors have better sense of sportsmanship for the most part than our Professional athletes. Now how exactly is more elitism supposed to fix that?
    (more)
  • Ron 2012/03/05 15:39:44
    No
    Ron
    Let the kids be kids, they can develop their skills in local clubs just like other American kids do. There are certain schools that give scholarships to recruit for developing athletes in other sports they can do the same with soccer players.
  • pizzaman7 2012/03/05 15:15:50
    Yes
    pizzaman7
    +1
    US soccer has made strides but still not with the elite teams. We are below the Brazils and Spains of the world. This is a good opportunity for the kids to hone their skills and get better in their trade.
  • luke 2012/03/05 14:13:37
    Yes
    luke
    It's called football, not soccer.
  • Mog of War luke 2012/03/05 15:30:45
    Mog of War
    The Brits who invented the game called it Soccer. The French renamed it to football.
  • luke Mog of War 2012/03/05 15:40:38
    luke
    Cite your source of that, bitte schon.
  • Mog of War luke 2012/03/05 15:56:15
    Mog of War
    Crap, your right. Apparently it was their abbreviation of Association Football. But it the first sentence is still technically true. It was the Brits who invented the game who coined the term Soccer, but they still called it football first. Not bothering to cite, It's several dozen tertiary sources.
  • Dead Inside 2012/03/05 13:50:22
    No
    Dead Inside
    Ridiculous
  • Patric 2012/03/05 12:59:41
    Yes
    Patric
    +1
    FIRST THING.. they do not " force " any one to do any thing.. there is no gun to any one's head to " force " them .. it is a voluntary action... ok, that out of the way.

    hockey has had a similar program in place for the elite players..

    and I do believe the players do go to school durring the training..

    ODP has had a program in place for years also..

    no big deal, unsure why any one would think it is a big deal...

    and of the high school players ,, this would impact aprox 0.01 % not 1 %

    less than 1 % of high school players even go to play Division 1 college soccer ...
  • jimbobnoknob 2012/03/05 11:45:28
  • gr8American 2012/03/05 10:50:44
    Undecided
    gr8American
    It's a tough choice, I love soccer specially the soccer played in Spain and when you watch one of their games it is very difficult to watch our soccer. I believe that if a kid shows the potential of becoming a star soccer player he should go for it but his education must also be mandatory. There are many good players in high school but get injured by the not so good players, I am siding slightly with the Soccer academy training.
  • GoatHorns 2012/03/05 09:20:56
    Undecided
    GoatHorns
    +1
    it's soccer. the real question is, does it matter?

    soccer boring
  • rudeboy GoatHorns 2012/03/05 14:06:27 (edited)
    rudeboy
    +3
    It's called football.

    rooney england
  • luke rudeboy 2012/03/05 14:12:47
    luke
    +2
    Damn straight.
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 19:53:23
    Xerxes
    +1
    Its also called soccer. Soccer is an ENGLISH term, invented in ENGLAND by ENGLISHMEN. Unfortunately a lot of contemporary Englishmen dont know enough about their own culture and history and think "soccer" is a foriegn term and waste their time trying to "correct" others who use the term soccer instead of football. Nobody needs your input rudeboy, you can call it what you want, nobody cares. But dont tell others what to call it, nobody cares what you think anyway.
  • rudeboy Xerxes 2012/03/05 20:02:05
    rudeboy
    Only a yank would say that.
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 20:14:54
    Xerxes
    +1
    Only someone who is ignorant of English history and ignorant of the history of football would get their knickers in the twist over calling it soccer.
  • rudeboy Xerxes 2012/03/05 20:24:57 (edited)
    rudeboy
    Oh reaaaallyy?

    The BBC calls it football
    England has a Football Association and not a "soccer association"

    Suck it, yank
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 21:29:27
    Xerxes
    +1
    Thanks for proving your ignorance, wanker. The word soccer was invented in the 1880's in ENGLAND, have a look at wikipedia and get educated.

    "The term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford "-er" abbreviation of the word "association"."

    It term was also in relatively widespread use in England for decades, only becoming less frequently used since the 60's and 70's. Here are some ENGLISH articles using the term.

    "...At the time he was described in the Express as "19-year-old wonder boy of Irish SOCCER … Ireland's Jimmy Greaves." "Scouts galore have come from England trying to get the lad to turn professional," they wrote..."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/spo...

    "...A Roman Catholic, Matt Busby attended St Bride's School. As he pointed out in his autobiography, SOCCER at the Top: "I was as football daft as any of the boys in the village of Bellshill, and dafter than most, and we had our idols already. "

    http://www.spartacus.schoolne...

    An article on Star SOCCER

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/...
  • rudeboy Xerxes 2012/03/05 21:40:43
    rudeboy
    Thankfully, we live in the present and the sport is called "football" in the UK.

    Your rant was useless
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 21:45:27
    Xerxes
    Thankfully the UK is only one small Island.

    Your existence is useless.
  • rudeboy Xerxes 2012/03/05 21:47:17
    rudeboy
    What???????

    Without Britain, there wouldnt be an America. We started your country.
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 21:58:18
    Xerxes
    IF I could be bothered I'd do what Americans usually do when arguing with Brits - they point out that without the USA you'd all be speaking German. But the fact is I AM British, you brainless moron. Not that it makes any difference, I'm finished talking to an ignorant twat like you.
  • rudeboy Xerxes 2012/03/05 22:22:16
    rudeboy
    Columbus predates WW2, dumbass
  • Xerxes rudeboy 2012/03/05 22:28:48
    Xerxes
    HOHOHOHO, Ah, you are hilarious! Give an idiot an inch and he will hang himself with it! Um, dear boy, Columbus was not English....

    But thanks for making me laugh!

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