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?
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.
NCAA division 1 soccer has made a change and it will affect you even thou you don’t play division 1 soccer. They have introduced a “dead period” between December 15 and January 5 in which no recruiting can take place. Apparently, it was just too demanding to give up their holiday time with their families. The biggest changes are to the Disney Showcase and ECNL Showcase. Instead of the Disney showcase, January 1-3 like it was planned, it now will be during Thanksgiving! (Oh, that’s much better. Thanks NCAA for the help, kinda.) The ECNL Showcase is now Jan 6-8... Great.
This does not affect other divisions of soccer.
21% of Division I male athletes want to turn pro.
1% of college athletes go on to play at the professional level.
36% of college athletes expect to become a millionaire in their lifetime - not necessarily through athletics.
72% of college athletes expect to owe student loan debt when they graduate.
47% of athletes expect to carry credit-card debt upon graduation.
60% of college athletes have begun planning their financial future.
32% of volleyball players use a financial adviser.
16% of football players use an adviser.
Way more stats found here: Source: The Hartford Financial Game Plan Survey
One of the greatest things I ever did was graduate college completely debt free and get real life job experience in the field I was studying! In fact, by the time I graduated college I had 103K in the bank and a great job. Really! But it was not because I had an athletic scholarship to help pay for school, and it maybe because I didn't.
I was having a conversation with a young lady on my high school team the other day. It had occurred to her that she may not be all that interested in playing in college. She was finding the club schedule very demanding and questioning why she was working so hard if she didn't want to play at the next level anyway. Thus the question, should you continue to play club if you are not interested in playing in college?