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Everyone Misses the Point of HS Soccer

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by midsouthsoccer, Mar 18, 2012.

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  1. midsouthsoccer

    midsouthsoccer Member

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    I had a thought today as my son was playing flag football - what does soccer offer in the US under the DA system with no high school soccer. I think the part some of us may be missing is that being successful in soccer in the US will be like picking the short straw.

    If you don't agree then just assume if my son picks football as his sport. He would play for his high school team, have great friends, girls all over him, and a ton of pride and memories during high school.

    What are we offering our most successful kids in soccer? Nothing, we are just taking from them. There is no reason for most of the kids to play soccer in the US, no one cares about club soccer except the posters here and parents (just their kids team). Why would a top athlete in the US choose this sport?

    For now my son will continue to specialize in soccer, but I have my doubts. I grew up in a burb of ATL and played on what would have been the equivalent of a DA team back then and my HS. I have a bunch of memories from HS, few of club soccer even state championships.

    The big lie of all of this is we are asking 1000 to give all of this up in the hopes that 2 of them are slightly better and make our national team more competitive.
     


  2. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    You can't have tons of friends and girlfriends in HS unless you play a sport?! Shocking!

    People just need to relax with this "DA not allowing their players to play HS soccer" issue. It is not the end of the world. If DA players can't play then that opens the door for other kids to play HS soccer. If some DA players choose to play HS soccer still, then that opens the door for some other players to play DA soccer.

    DA is not just a program for future pro soccer players. It is also for future college players. At the moment most colleges scout the DAs. Most DA coaches have the connections with the college coaches and scouts.

    Young kids play soccer because they like it. It is a good sport for them. Better than sitting at home on the computer or PS3/Xbox all day. What else they have to do? There is no street play anymore. All they have is playing sports. Soccer is interesting sport as it offers dynamism more so than football or baseball. And it is the only organized sport kids can play all year (almost) from August to June. The parents like it because they see the value and lessons it can teach the kids. When kids start in soccer so young, I bet not many parents, if any, are thinking about their kid playing in HS, college or professionally. They are just happy their kid is playing and learning about a sport. The parents get crazy later, as the kid is getting older. And for what? For HS soccer, for college soccer? Why? The players aren't getting paid to play either one (in fact, their parents have been paying fees for most of their children's life)! Most of the kids will be in HS and college, regardless if they are playing soccer, and any sport for that matter, or not.
     
  3. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

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    There are a lot of lessons to be learned from any sport - especially a team sport. And Football at HS is just as intense and sometimes even more time consuming than DA soccer - at least at our H/S where we often make it to the State finals.

    So I am confused... Is your point more so about getting the girls?

    :eek:

    Of course I am kidding but overall I just don't agree. Like I said there are plenty of life lessons in sport and along with that plenty of great memories that these kids will never forget!

    Sure it's great to have friends at school by playing school sports but why not both? My 6 year old plays in a competitive u7 academy which is 2 towns over (20 minutes). That is 2 days a week. She also plays with her friends locally (Rec) because I think it's important to grow with her school mates as well. Sounds like a lot but she only does rec 1 day a week and also has dance class one day a week.

    She has friends from school and all over - thanks to a healthy mix of activities.
     
  4. Counterattack23

    Counterattack23 Member

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    In this day of budget cuts, all high scholl sports are in jepardy of being cut or needing to be self funded. Football being the most expensive high school sport to maintain and a sport only boys can play has already been put under the proposed state chopping block for state funding in states like Florida.

    However, the local fan base for football (at least where I live) is so much greater for high school football then it is for the high school soccer team. The football games are packed and loud for a mediocre team while the soccer team has two DA players on it and made it to sectionals but the crowd was sparse even during the playoff games. Furthermore, the quality of the DA games are much better then the high school games.

    In the end, I'm not sure it make that much of a difference to the players from a social standpoint (from where high school soccer is now) and it should improve their training. Just like now, you will still lose players to football due to the "high school expereince" factor, but even that could go away if schools can not figure out how to fund the programs.
     


  5. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

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    The big lie? I don't think no one has lied to these kids that they're chances are very slim at making a living at soccer. No different than in any other country in the world. Even at Ajax, even at Barca, and even at some third division team in the English leagues.

    Yes, our national team is decent. It is consistently capable of making it to the knockout rounds of the WC. One or two better players (not even "stars") WILL make our NT better. A better center back/defensive mid/ striker wouldn't make a difference?

    No one is robbing these kids of anything. They know the deal that there are no guarantees in soccer or life. They know they can forego HS and train in a better environment OR they can stay and play high school and get everything that comes with it. People NEED to make tough decisions when they are pursuing their careers—I don't see this situation as being any different.
     
  6. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

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    It's one of the only HS sports however that gets a gate fee - at least in Illinois.

    If they tried to charge for soccer it would be the parents and that's it paying.
     
  7. chitownseadog

    chitownseadog Member

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    It's $5 to get in to watch a high school game in NW Indiana
     
  8. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Member

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    My son would love to continue to play in college, but is disappointed that many of the schools he likes don't even have Men's soccer, like Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, etc. Only about half the Big Ten schools. Now he's got some other schools he's looking at but when it comes down to a decision, he's going to pick the school first over where he may be able to play. It's really frustrating for kids who have played soccer at a high level most of their lives to get ready for college and find its not played at a lot of schools, meaning the opportunities to continue playing are so much fewer than other sports.

    So when it comes down to it, even if he made a DA roster, if it meant going to a school of 5k kids with limited academic programs vs going to Iowa or Illinois, he would rather just keep playing club ball, even through college.

    Sadly, as long as soccer is behind Hockey and NASCAR in popularity and becomes universal at the collegiate level, and/ or there are changes to Title IX, its going to be a challenge to grow the level of play in this country.
     
  9. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

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    I don't know why I thought of this but it is strange that in the States at least, there are few sports like soccer in which you have Rec and Competitive.

    I never heard of travel tennis. I know there are some competitive baseball leagues now but that's really it.

    Of course the lines are slowing moving closer - I'm seeing some of the college players (soccer) who are now fathers/mothers volunteering at Rec clubs. While they are not club trainers they do provide for an entirely deeper coaching experience then the stick and ball parents who never kicked a ball in their life.

    Is this even relevant to this thread :eek:

    <end derailment>
     
  10. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    The level of play in this country is not going to grow because college soccer becomes more popular. That is big misconception in US.

    The level of play grows only when the level of players and coaches improves.
     
  11. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Member

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    I was speaking more to the cultural growth aspects of the sport.. and the money. TV, contracts, advertising.. immersion into the general US culture, not just on Telemundo. You can see it happening slowly with the EPL on Fox and MLS now on NBC, but the dollars have to grow considerably before Joe Red Sox tells his kid to start kicking the ball in the back yard.
     
  12. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    There is plenty of soccer on TV. FSC and GolTV, plus ESPN from time to time, show a lot of games. ESPN now even shows the European Championships in addition to the World Cup. The question is who is watching all that soccer shown on TV? And can people who get hooked on watching soccer because of the EPL and CL on FSC, or La Liga on GolTV, or WC/EC on ESPN, can they stand to watch MLS or college soccer?

    More and more I'm finding out that Americans who get hooked on soccer because of the high level shown on TV or because of their kid playing youth soccer, they do not particularly take interest in MLS. Why? Because it is easier to fall in love with soccer when you watch your kid play or when you watch Messi or Rooney play, but not so much when you have to watch MLS teams play.

    All the more reasons to develop better American players. When there are better players, the culture and money will grow. The players are to soccer what the actors are to a movie. You don't go to watch a movie if the actors are crappy, do ya? Well, at least I don't and so do many others.

    So when we have better American players in MLS, college soccer, HS soccer and youth soccer, the interest and following will increase. Until then we need to focus on the kids and people who are already into soccer. There are millions of them already. Soccer is big enough and popular enough already. It's just that the coaching, the structure, the scouting and promotion of talent hasn't caught up yet.
     
  13. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member

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    Normally I would tell a great club soccer player not to play HS Soccer, and not play college ball either.. I would call the USSF and find him a soccer agent so he could try to get a spot outside the US. Mostly HS soccer is not coached by professional coaches. It is coached mostly by teachers who do it as a perk. The reason why I don't is playing for a HS team any Hs team is part of the HS experience. I think they should have that experience. Even at the expensive of their soccer development.

    My brothers son is 15. He is 6'3" and a lefty baseball pitcher. His delievery is very smooth as of now he throws in the high 80's. His ball has natural movement and the batters see the ball very late.

    He dominates every team he faces. He is in Florida now for a tournament. Can he make a division 1 college team probably. That is what people seem to think. But can he make it in professional baseball?

    I knew some one who was a terrific baseball player. He never made it outside of the minor leagues. My brother wants to believe he can make it in the bigs. He is sure he won't have to pay for college for him. But, you just never know what can happen in life.
     
  14. de Kromme

    de Kromme Member

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    Are your memories of "HS soccer" really about the soccer, or about the socializing? If you weren't playing soccer in HS, wouldn't you still be hanging out with those folks, either at their homes, or the mall, the malt shop (;))? I imagine you're remembering the tangential stuff, and not the soccer. And there's absolutely nothing holding anyone back from enjoying those things. Would not playing HS soccer keep you from going to the HS basketball/football/baseball games to watch your buddies (who have no club options, only HS)?

    So I guess what I'm asking is: if you weren't playing HS soccer, would you be sitting at home, locked in your room, with your face in a book, lamenting your life?

    I say all of this tongue in cheek, but with a purpose. Your life will always be what YOU make it. If HS soccer was the only way for you to get into all that socializing, then I must have done it wrong because I played HS ball and it didn't do shit for me. ;)

    One other point: you claim as a reason to continue playing HS soccer, the fact that no one cares about high level soccer in this country. I see the other side: we now are developing an avenue to produce the high level soccer you're talking about (because clearly the HS model leaves us short) that I believe will generate that interest. As the level of play comes up, I think you'll be surprised as to how many people begin to gravitate to that path. And that, in turn, may just improve the quality of HS coaching which isn't necessarily what it could be.

    And as far as not offering anything to the DA kids: what about the possibility of national (not local) and international travel, culture, language, perspective, things that can't be gathered in a classroom or a trip 4 hours into the cornfields for a "state" playoff game. Those are worthy things to shoot for, and it should be an option for anyone who so desires. Small chance of success? Of course. And Derrick Rose had a similarly small chance to succeed in basketball, but he chose that route anyway. He only went to college because he was required to for a year. I'm sure if there were such things as DA basketball academies that proved to be a better opportunity to make the pros, he would have gone that route instead of playing HS ball. But there are no such things in basketball, so the best players play for the HS's.

    Lastly, the HS sports model in this country really doesn't need defending. It's been implicitly defended for 100 years, and isn't going anywhere. Let the people who want to try it a different way make their own decision. I would venture to say that many if not most of them have been waiting for this. There is no big lie here. Everyone knows what the odds are. And when the DA's become fully funded, there will be no reason to keep a sub-par player on a DA team just to fleece them for extra $$. At the very least the DA training will prepare them much better for a possible shot at MLS (if they're shooting low) or perhaps overseas. And they'll know and acknowledge all of this before they sign on.

    Just a few thoughts. Cheers.
     
  15. headerdunce

    headerdunce Member

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    Most elite high school basketball players play both AAU ball and high school ball, even though the top AAU teams are at a higher level of play. And most top baseball prospects play both travel ball and high school ball, even though top level travel ball is a better level of play.


    The NBA and MLB have a lot more $$$ at stake than MLS and USSF, and baseball and basketball players have a much greater economic incentive than soccer players to try to become professional. Yet, almost all high school baseball and basketball players play for their high schools, and MLB and the NBA do not attempt to prevent elite level high school players from playing high school ball. To the contrary, MLB and the NBA support their sports at every level. The high school model seems to work pretty well for our major sports.
     
  16. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Do you see the pattern here? In general, club soccer is also at higher level than HS soccer.


    It works because those major sports are different than soccer. Soccer requires more complex set of skills to be mastered....with the feet, while also using all your senses, awareness and decision-making in a very dynamic environment. Also a fair amount of athleticism is required, though not as much as in basketball and football. Baseball is all about hand-eye coordination and timing. The essential skills to play basketball, football and baseball can be mastered later than in soccer.

    Also in soccer, the US is competing with many countries who regularly produce 18-year olds professional players at the highest level. It should be obvious by now that although the HS system works for basketball, football and baseball, it just doesn't work for soccer. BTW, why doesn't the HS system work for hockey?
     
  17. keeper dad

    keeper dad Member

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    I think what is being missed in the discussion is the local differences that exist throughout the country. The daughter of a friend of mine is in the National ODP pool and had played for several years at the highest levels available to her. Disney, Dallas tournaments, MRL, obviously the national pool events and is now starting on the varsity team in high school. Granted the season is just beginning but thus far she is being more challenged through the high school experience than she has for a long time in her club experience. She is a GK and at 15 she has not had the opportunity to face 18 year old strikers very often but in high school she sees the older, bigger, stronger players everyday. Will high school be the right choice for her in a couple of years? Who knows, but for now the game/position has become challenging again. Granted she is in a hot bed of talent in the Chicago area and this may not be the case country wide but for her the decision is paying big dividends.

    I think we are also missing the discussion of other sports outside of football and basketball. There are not many sports in America where the club experience is not a higher quality than high school, however almost every sport allows/encourages high school participation and almost across the board we produce world class talent in spite of high school participation. Look at swimming, diving, wrestling, water polo, track, softball, golf, etc. Each of these sports sees the U.S. competing for Olympic medals and in many cases dominating the world and all have strong high school and college participation. In my personal experience, both as a team mate and close friend to medalists in several of these sports, high school was an integral part of their development in spite of being a "lower level" of competition.

    Is the problem the high school play or what we do with players outside of the 3 month high school experience? In swimming and diving, sports that share a similar problem with soccer in that high school seasons around the country span the entire school year, have worked tirelessly to plan their largest events around the high school season, in order to allow the best to compete in both and be at their best for the club events. High school coaches in these sports are not that much different than high school soccer coaches, they played at a fairly low level (if at all) and recognize they are not the best there is to offer. They work with the local clubs to filter those with promise into a more conducive environment during the other 9 months of the year and the clubs are active in this process. Wouldn't it make more sense for our top club coaches to scout high school games and get to know the high school coaches, maybe help them to develop as coaches, thereby developing players, rather than just shut them out as "worthless"? USSF can and should play a role in this, maybe offering training, advice, etc. to the high schools rather than alienating the high schools by making a public statement that they are not good enough to even be considered as part of the development pyramid?
     
  18. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe Member

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    That last statement is definitely a good idea. Coaches should probably be trained and certified by USSF. Its the luck of the draw unfortunately. I know some HS coaches like TK at Nequa have kids on college rosters all over the place. Other schools, not so much. Some schools actually hire qualified coaches who aren't teachers at the school. If there isn't a good program at your school, you've always got the private option, and if your kid is really good there are scholarship opps there.
     
  19. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Of course for a 15-year old GK there would be more of a challenge playing HS soccer if her HS teammates, especially defenders, are not as good as her club teammates. I'll give you 3 tries to guess why.....

    Why do people keep repeating the same thing over and over again? HS may work for other sports, but obviously it doesn't for soccer in US. Name one leading soccer nation where players play HS soccer. Look at all the leading soccer nations and tell me where are their 15-20 year olds playing. In fact, one doesn't even have to look at just the leading nations. You can look at most other nations. That is what the US is competing against in soccer.

    HS soccer in Chicago is not an ideal developmental environment due to its structure. It is more of a competition gauntlet than anything. There are almost as many games as there are training sessions. And even though there are many club players who play HS soccer, they really do not play as good as they normally do for their clubs. Why is that?

    (bold) If that is the case, then how are they or the HS environment helping the players?


    Youth soccer clubs or DAs do not have to rely on High Schools to pick the players they want in their programs. That is because all youth soccer players have been part of the club scene since they were U8 or U9. The clubs know these players and have no problem recruiting them. In fact, club coaches probably know these players better than HS coaches know them.

    Why would they want to do that? Anyway, most club coaches are busy and really short on time to help any HS coaches, even if they wanted to.

    On the other hand, why don't the HS coaches visit clubs and see what club coaches do, so they can learn from them? Again, in their case I would guess that lack of spare time is one of the reasons.

    Again, why would they want to do that, when they can offer a whole program that can do the job? Do you think HS coaches would listen to any advice from USSF about how to do their job better?
     
  20. mdc00

    mdc00 Member

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    Most of the sports you mentioned are individual sports, so they don't seem to me to be particularly relevant. Is there a significant difference between the training a swimmer would engage in when preparing for a HS meet and the training he or she would engage in when preparing for a club meet? I know very little about swimming, but I would think not.
     
  21. mdc00

    mdc00 Member

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    With respect to basketball: many top HS players actually don't play for their HS team, if you define that as the team at the HS that they would have attended if they weren't basketball players. Instead, they play at schools like Oak Hill in Virginia, whose rosters are composed of players from across the country, which play national schedules (although their schedules have their share of easy games against local teams), and which don't participate in state HS championship tournaments (I think). And, while I have no actual data backing this up, it seems to me that this has become more prevalent over the last couple of decades. All in all, I'd say this has more in common with what US Soccer is trying to do with the Development Academy than it does with the traditional HS model, so I don't know that there is that large a difference between what soccer is doing and what is going on with other sports.
     
  22. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

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    Honestly what's the issue - how many kids participate in DA vs. High School???

    If you're talented enough you're going to DA and not going to waste time in HS. But like I mentioned, those numbers are probably very far apart.

    Apples and Oranges IMO...
     
  23. keeper dad

    keeper dad Member

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    (bold) If that is the case, then how are they or the HS environment helping the players?

    They are helping by working with the club programs and national body to improve their coaching abilities. The club system has recognized that high school is an integral part of being an American teenager (for better or for worse) and has made an attempt to improve the overall development pyramid by embracing that 3 month period as somewhat unavoidable but working hard to improve the training during that period. Basically if you start improving the process from the bottom up, everyone in the chain improves, albeit slowing in some cases.


    Youth soccer clubs or DAs do not have to rely on High Schools to pick the players they want in their programs. That is because all youth soccer players have been part of the club scene since they were U8 or U9. The clubs know these players and have no problem recruiting them. In fact, club coaches probably know these players better than HS coaches know them.

    I would agree with this for the most part, however there are always going to be those diamonds in the rough that are not on a radar screen. My son's U13 team just picked up two hispanic players over the winter that were on no one's radar. They have played exclusively neighborhood street soccer and have phenomenal foot skills and potential but thus far are struggling with the team game. They both kind of fell into club soccer this winter but it could have been entirely possible they would have never attended a formal training session or game until they hit high school.

    Why would they want to do that? Anyway, most club coaches are busy and really short on time to help any HS coaches, even if they wanted to.

    I think this really gets to my point, the condecending attitude of why would they want to? Every coach of every sport, high school or club, has a lack of spare time but other sports seem to make it work. The answer really should be as easy as "they want to see the sport that they love (and provides at least a portion of their income) elevate to another level, no matter the venue it is played in. Why are club soccer coaches so elite that they can not assist others witrhin their sport?

    On the other hand, why don't the HS coaches visit clubs and see what club coaches do, so they can learn from them? Again, in their case I would guess that lack of spare time is one of the reasons.

    I do not know if it happens in the soccer world but I do know it is a frequent occurance in other sports. My wife coaches a high school team (not soccer) and frequently will work with local clubs, camps, etc. as a volunteer both to lend her expertise as well as to learn. She is not vain enough to think she knows it all (although her playing experience far surpasses most coaches at the club level) and is always looking to improve herself as a coach and I do not think she is unique.

    Again, why would they want to do that, when they can offer a whole program that can do the job? Do you think HS coaches would listen to any advice from USSF about how to do their job better?[/QUOTE]

    In short, yes I think they would listen. I know there is a popular thought that most high school soccer coaches are just looking for that extra stipend they get from coaching but I find that hard to believe. The amount of time put in is not done to pick up the $3000 check, the cost benefit is not there. The decision to coach is generally about the kids and anyone making that choice would surely look to give those kids the best experience they can and a coach improving/learning will ultimately help the kids.
     
  24. y.o.n.k.o

    y.o.n.k.o Member

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    Do HS soccer coaches really work with club programs and the national body to improve their coaching abilities? To my knowledge that is not the case in soccer and hardly with other sports. The club system has recognized that HS is an integral part of being an American teenager? Really? Is that why youth soccer teams have players who do not play HS soccer even before the DA? Is that why the DA programs come out with the 10 month proposal and the mandate that its players do not participate in HS soccer or other HS sports?


    Nice example with the U13 player. However, a U13 player would still be discovered by club soccer not HS soccer. It kind of proves my point really. HS soccer doesn't develop its own players from younger ages, therefore it relies on the club scene to do so.

    It is not condescending attitude. What other sports make it work? There is no more secrets of how young soccer players ought to be developed. Everything is on the internet and in books.
    Club/DA coaches do want to see soccer progress to the next level, but they want to be the ones taking the players there because they believe the club/DA program is the right environment to do that. HS coaches are limited by the structure of HS soccer, its rules, limited time, game to practice ratio and general level of their teams, player selection in the HS area, etc. Clubs and DAs do not have such limitations. Why would a DA coach want to help a HS coach, when the DA coach can do the job better and have that advantage to draw the kids to the DA program? DA coaches do not want their players playing HS soccer, period.

    Well I can tell you that HS soccer coaches are not interested to learn from DA coaches. Why, I do not know. But I would guess it has something to do with ego. HS soccer coaches do not think that DA coaches are any better than them. No one wants to share the good players, they all want them for themselves.



    In short, yes I think they would listen. I know there is a popular thought that most high school soccer coaches are just looking for that extra stipend they get from coaching but I find that hard to believe. The amount of time put in is not done to pick up the $3000 check, the cost benefit is not there. The decision to coach is generally about the kids and anyone making that choice would surely look to give those kids the best experience they can and a coach improving/learning will ultimately help the kids.[/QUOTE]

    The fact is that USSF doesn't have any say in HS soccer. Perhaps they would want to, but that would mean another organization giving up control over HS soccer. They do not want to give up that control because they do not think USSF would do a better job. Plus, there is money involved in that - control = money. What would the people who control HS soccer do if USSF were to take over? Those people would be out of jobs, wouldn't they? Who wants to lose his job in this economy? Plus if I'm not mistaken, HS soccer is controlled by one organization for all HS sports, isn't it?

    Personally, if you ask me, USSF and MLS should dictate everything about youth soccer, including HS soccer. But many people are afraid of that, because it would mean those people would be out of jobs and out of money.
     
  25. midsouthsoccer

    midsouthsoccer Member

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    This is a really silly thing to say. Again, instead of US soccer doing something meaningful to progress soccer in the US they kill HS soccer. Let's look at why the US is not more competitive in soccer.

    - 3rd tier sport, best athletes go elsewhere
    - minimal parental understanding of the game
    - kids don't play it in their neighborhoods
    - no focus on the game until the kids are too old
    - folks are lazy, they rather play the WII
    - it is easy, I am sure you can come up with five more

    HS soccer is the least of any problem. By the time our kids get to HS soccer it is over. They have missed their opportunity to develop.
     
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