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Redshirting in College Soccer

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by masoccerscout, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. masoccerscout

    masoccerscout Member

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    Looking at the rosters of Division 1 college soccer teams, I notice that some programs redshirt consistently while others seldom do it. I understand completely the rationale for redshirting an injured player that cannot play for the season and also doing this due to grade problems, , however my question is around non-medical , non-grade related redshirting. Does this make sense considering that players only get better when consistently training and playing? Also is it fair to the players who often seem to disappear from the roster in the next year or so when new recruits come aboard? I pose this question after following some programs closely over the past couple of years and seeing redshirted players seldom end up in the starting lineup and often off the roster well before graduation. What are your thoughts?
     


  2. southernsoccerdoc

    southernsoccerdoc New Member

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    It may make sense if the player needs to put on a lot of muscle to play in the physical world of college soccer. However if the redshirt is " because we do not room on the roster this year but will next year" then it is probably time to look for a transfer
     
  3. cdbtown

    cdbtown Member

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    Sep 18, 2005
    Redshirting is very common in the top programs. It is very difficult for a freshman to come into a top 10-20 program and play from day one. All that it means is that the player doesn't play in any games in the fall. They still train everyday, and can play in spring games after the seniors leave, and before the new freshman come in. Now, if they are behind the new freshman the following year, then they might want to consider the fact that they might not be good enough. It usually has nothing to do with putting on muscle, or that they aren't good enough to ever play there... what it means, is that the player is trading 30-40 minutes of playing during the fall, for an extra year at the end where they are going to be the most successful.

    When new players come into pre-season, they have about 2 weeks, to show that they are going to be part of the coaches plan that season. If they don't show that, then they are going to have a hard time geting in the rotation that year. (Barring injuries, or a dramatic improvement during training) You have to remember, that college isn't like club or high school, you don't just play guys token minutes. If you look at post game box scores, most schools only play 15-16 guys. That is out of a 25-30 man roster. Do the math....A 5th year senior is so much more ready to play than a freshman.

    Look at all the top players who have redshirted in programs like Indiana, Virginia, UCLA. Now, if you are being redshirted at one of the bottom schools, then maybe you need to reconsider the level that you have chosen to play. Just like in life, where the world needs ditch diggers, the soccer world needs practice players. Many of those players develop into contributors, but some don't.
     
  4. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

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    The reality is that these types of redshirt players aren't getting any athletic money, so they don't cost the coach anything, and are essentially free training resources for the team. If they elect to put the time and energy into improving their game, they may get scholarship money and find their way into the squad. If not, the program just moves on to the next bunch.
     


  5. J_J_Okocha

    J_J_Okocha New Member

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    Sep 28, 2004
    not true. some soccer players coming in with athletic money may have to redshirt because they are not ready yet to play at the D1 level. Some may need a year to grow as a player or become mentally ready.
     
  6. masoccerscout

    masoccerscout Member

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    I guess my real question here is if you are not injured, have acceptable grades, and were recruited by the college to play there (which indicates to me that they think you can play at that level) then a redshirt seems to inicate that the coach does not think the player is good enough to play. Since many soccer coaches are notorious for making a first impression judgement on a player and then sticking to it no matter how well they show later, should the player be looking for another program?
     
  7. cdbtown

    cdbtown Member

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    It depends on the situation.... without having seen the player play, and his competition, or talking with the coaches and seeing where he fits in their plans... it is impossible to know. My experience has been, that if players go and talk to their coaches, they will give him an honest evaluation (if they haven't done so already). But, if he is a freshman.. then maybe you shouldn't jump to conclusions.. 3 weeks into his college career. Instead, have him get to work.. and see how he does by the end of the school year. Re-evaluate then.

    One of the biggest problems we have in this country with quality youth players is they are never shown or told that they aren't good enough as a younger player. So they never have to compete just to play. Instead, they just move to another team... or fire the coach..etc... competition brings out the best in competitors.
     
  8. newtwosoccer

    newtwosoccer New Member

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    Very well put. Kids need to learn how to compete and help themselves, not expect to be handed everything (including PT). Parents need to encourage these kids to work hard not run to another program. They will recieve many more minutes in a 5th year, than in their freshmen year and more quality minutes as a leader vs. a role player. Whatever happened to sucken it up and proven you belong?
     
  9. masoccerscout

    masoccerscout Member

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    Just to be clear I am not speaking of any one individual player. I am looking more for what others experiences have been in this area. I just have noticed that several players from our region have been recruited, been redshirted for non-health reasons, and then disappeared from the roster compeltely by their 3rd year. IS this common or are these players the exceptions to the rule? When I was in college redshirting seemed to be a football / basketball thing and we only redshirted soccer players when injured. That seems to have changed,
     
  10. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

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    No. No coach is going to burn limited athletic money on a freshman to sit the bench (altough he's only to happy to do it if the guy's getting only academic aid). In a non-revenue sport like soccer, red shirt players are competing against the athletic money players for playing time And the deck is mostly stacked against them, except in a few rare instances, like Indiana, where players will willingly sit for a year, for the opportunity to play as 5th year seniors.

    The players who leave invariably come to the conclusion that they're being recruited around each year, and decide to go elsewhere, or hang up their boots.
     
  11. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

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    And many times it is the player himself who will ask to take a redshirt year after discovering that there are upperclassmen ahead of him who are clearly going to get all the PT at their position for the next couple of years. And most of the time a coach does not force a redshirt year down a players throat: normally, a coach will discuss it with a player and they'll come to a decision together.

    The original poster's predicate, in any case, is somewhat flawed: he observes that players "only get better by training and playing" which is hard to argue with, but as noted above redshirt players still come to practice every day, they just don't dress for games.

    As for "playing", what is the functional difference between a) practicing every day with the team and then watching the games from the stands and b) practicing every day and then watching the games from the bench?

    In the first case you're preserving a year's worth of eligibility you may be able to use later. In the second case, you're tossing it down a rathole in return for getting into the team picture.

    The fact is that most college players are acutely aware that their soccer career has a limited shelf life. Kids who can't make a game roster at Enormous State University are unlikely - at best - to end up in MLS, so when they use up their college eligibility they're pretty much done. Men's Open Divisions and late Sunday night indoor leagues are pretty much all they have to look forward to.

    Those four years are pretty important, and nobody wants to toss one away carrying the ball bag.

    It may be true, as you point out, that many of these kids subsequently "disappear" from the roster after a redshirt year, or end up transferring. If this is true, there's likely a very good reason for it.
     
  12. AlecW81

    AlecW81 Member

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    I'm redshirting this season in D2 because I'm only a partial qualifier for initial NCAA eligibility (high SAT score + low gpa = partial qualifier, in my defence that was over 7 years ago... After 4 years in the Marine Corps, I'm now a 25 year old True Frosh, and will be a 26 year old redshirt frosh next year).

    While I was in the Marines, I was only able to play 1 season of soccer on base because of deployments, so I had a considerable amount of rust coming in.
    This season is my school's first year in NCAA D2, and honestly, my team will benefit more from me redshirting as a partial qualifier. I'm able to practice and travel to games, but not participate in games or scrimmages against other schools. This is allowing me to shake the rust off my game, refine some other parts of it, while maintaining my fitness level (always been a full 90 player), and pushing my teamates to improve as well. Hopefully next year, I'll have regained my touch and field vision, which coupled with my fitness level and leadership will make me that much more valuable to my team.

    I don't see any reason why a similar strategy for traditional (i.e. 17-18 year old) freshman would be a bad idea. Since most students are taking more than 4 years to graduate from college anyway, chances are the student is going to be around for that 9th semester to play as a 5th year senior. Which I'll probably end up doing as well... keep your eyes open for a 30 year old 5th year senior in 2011.
     
  13. soccertom

    soccertom New Member

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    Agreed 100%. :D
     
  14. nydeacon1980

    nydeacon1980 New Member

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    Thsi happens at UNC with Bolowich bringing in CASL players who could play as freshmen somewhere else.

    The sad thing is they sometime trasfer and continue to enjoy soccer but sometimes they quit soccer.

    Either way the truth is Bolowich will bring in another 12 recruits next year so the PT will never come for an average player because you dont get better without PT
     
  15. USvsIRELAND

    USvsIRELAND Member+

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    Thats awesome good luck!
     
  16. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    Some fairly prominent players have redshirted for non-medical reasons.

    First off, it is very common for GKs to redshirt early in their careers as they usually start off having to sit behind a veteran 'keeper and they don't want to burn a season of eligibility just playing scrap minutes.

    UCLA, with their great GK tradtion, has redshirted several GKs. Matt Reis, Kevin Hartman, Zach Wells and current starter Eric Reed have all redshirted.

    In the old days before MLS, sometimes the FIFA World Youth Championship (U20) would be held in the fall and rather than waste a season of eligibility while only playing limited minutes because of the WYC commitment, players would take a redshirt year. Jeff Agoos and Tony Meola did this at UVa.

    While players redshirting, especially as freshmen, is fairly common, usually a player who redshirts isn't a highly-rated pro prospect. Still, some fairly prominent MLS players have used a non-medical redshirt. Bobby Rhine took a season off at UConn and Eddie Robinson did it at UNC and Willie Simms did it at Cal State Northridge. Taylor Graham took a redshirt at Stanford.

    Perhaps the most promient player to redshirt was Joe-Max Moore, who sat out the 89 season, his true freshmen year, at UCLA but went on to make three World Cup teams, an Olympics and play in the Premier League.
     
  17. Proud Mama

    Proud Mama New Member

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    I know this discussion is about "redshirting", but has anyone ever heard of or seen a player who decided to just play intramural his first year because of studies and then decided to go back, tryout, and made a team his sophmore thru senior year? I'm hearing some kids/players are doing this, but I don't know if it's going to work for them. What do you think?
     
  18. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

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    I think it's an uphill battle.
     
  19. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

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    I suppose it depends A) on the level of school and B) the level of the player.

    For a fringe player who will likely be a reserve most of his college career, it might make sense, particularly at a program where the level of play isn't that high.

    But for a kid trying to go to an ACC/BigEast/BigTen/Pac10/WCC program or a program not from those conferences but ususally in the rankings and/or the NCAA Tournament(SMU, UCSB, SLU, Hartwick, etc...), it would be a challenge and, as Dsocc said, an uphill battle.

    Odds are, no really elite player is gonna go this route so the type of player who choses to do it isn't risking as much since he likely wasn't gonna play much as a freshmen, anyway. So, it might make some sense academically and socially.

    But, to think that playing intramural will prepare you for college ball is naive. Intramural is fun but it is rarely competitive. You're playing against frat boys and service organizations and dorm halls and what not. There is minimal, if any, practice, the conditioning is a joke, and it's quite possible, probable even, you'll be playing against guys who've never played soccer before or haven't played in a while.

    Again, it might make sense academically and socially, for players who aren't looking to play pro ball after college, but any player with serious aspirations would be negatively impacting their development to go this route.
     
  20. JohnW

    JohnW Member

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    Sandon pretty much nailed it here, and I say this as a member of the reigning men's open intramural team at the U of M. The only caveat I would add is that I haven't played against any teams with players who haven't played before. Rather, most of the men's teams tend to be organized around some campus organization (usually fraternities) or nationality (examples in our league include Chinese, Ukranian, Turkish). The players tend to be above average to very above average in skill but most (including me) are on the downside of their careers and just playing for bragging rights.

    Bottom line: intramurals is not the route to playing at a higher level
     
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