There are too many tournaments and showcases. If you really wanted to you could play in a tournament or showcase every weekend! The emails promoting them, have become the spam of my inbox. I kept a folder for tournament and showcase emails I got for 1 month. This is what it looked like. (I got 5 on Dec 28th alone!) I could upload 3-5 more pictures, but you get the idea.
So why do T/S exist? Originally, they were a way of getting a few really good teams together for a weekend of stiff competition that may have been hard to find in their league or area, or as a way of consolidating a college coach's travel schedule from 10-50 schools or clubs over several weekends to just 1 weekend. However, these days they are away for a club or team to make money and there are too many of them. But don't just take my word for it.
I don't believe in the US Soccer Development Academy philosophy of one sport, one team 4-6 days a week starting at as young as 11. They call it "no outside activity/competitions". I call it tearing up my parent card. I believe it harms a child's identity development and even has biblical reference to being immoral.
First, I believe it harms a child's identity. Brett Ledbetter refers to it as "identity foreclosure". This is when a child builds his whole identity around the sport they play. Who we are as a person is more important than who we are as a player. Identity foreclosure happens when we lose that perspective and put the emphasis on what we do as a player and the results we get (or don’t get) over who we are as a person.
Here Brett explains it pretty well.
When we play one sport only we associate our who identify with that sport. If we play well we are a good person if we play poorly we are not. The scariest part of this to me is what happens when we devote our child's whole life to the game and then they get injured, or they lose interest or don't make the team?
I love this quote.
Why do I like school soccer?
It’s no secret that I love school soccer. It doesn’t matter if it is middle school, high school or college, school soccer is awesome! For me, there is so much more pride when I play for my school then a club. This concept is foreign to international athletes (no pun intended) because many of them don’t have school sports. I mean, some do, some have middle school or high school teams, but there is no college soccer at all (which is why so many internationals come to America to play).
No young athlete has ever had to choose between playing high school soccer or college. Ever. Never, ever. You know why? Because the two experiences don't happen at the same time! It is a complete fallacy, falsehood, or myth, to believe otherwise.
So where did this myth start? Club soccer, and it's been perpetuated by US Soccer, but it's time they both quit telling players that it is a choice. It's not.
Here is the interesting part the *numbers prove it. There is NO evidence that not playing high school soccer increases your chances of playing at the college level. But you don't have to take my word for it. Just read below or follow this link.
*Since the DA started in 2007 less than 100 players have moved on to play MLS.
*In 2015 only 357 DA players signed with colleges and not all were D1.
The Olympic Development program was established in 1977 (boys) 1982 (girls) to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team would be selected for international competition and to enhance the development of players at all levels. This program is part of USYouthSoccer.
As an ODP staff coach, I see the value in the program and I believe it is still the best method for identifying National Team talent available in the United State today. I also believe it is an excellent supplemental tool for player development, especially for youth not associated with top level teams or training. However, I believe that there is a limit to the effectiveness and need of this program. I will attempt to explain.