TRAVEL TEAMS: US Soccer Federation Continues to Make Life Difficult for HS Soccer Players
I had discussed this issue back in Jan and Feb of this year, and it was a serious issue then. Now, this issue only continues to spread, this time to Long Island, which is a long-time hot bed of excellent HS soccer.
In short, the US Soccer Federation, one of the nation’s leading travel programs, is insisting that talented HS soccer players make a choice: either play with us, or play with your HS varsity team… but you can’t do both.
Here’s the problem. There’s no real good reason why USSF should be forcing kids into this dilemma. Sure, we all know that college coaches recruit only from travel teams and showcases, but to make a kid walk away from his HS team and buddies for an extra 10 weeks of soccer? C’mon. That’s not only not fair, but it’s also wrong.
Dick Hogan, my guest this AM, is a long-time HS and college soccer coach on LI, and he was outraged by this mandate. Already HS programs are losing top players because of this. Then, Matt Allen, the highly-successful soccer coach at Byram Hills HS in Armonk, NY, called and complained about it. Byram Hills is losing two top players…Mamaroneck HS is losing 5.
And of course, it’s all being done in the pursuit of trying to gain a partial scholarship for college soccer. There are, of course, no guarantees here. USSF doesn’t guarantee anything more than each kid on its roster will get 25% playing time in a game. That same kid on his HS team would play 100% of the game. Plus, of course, there are no guarantees of athletic scholarships. And of course, a kid also has to pay hundreds of dollars to play on a USSF team.
To me, I just find this entire situation totally outrageous. Sure, the USSF people feel that an extra 10 weeks of training will help the American boys reach the Olympics in soccer. I’m not sure I buy into that. Besides, the American female soccer players didn’t seem to have any problem in being competitive, and of course, winning the gold in London. As of right now, the USSF doesn’t have the same mandate for HS girls.
It’s hard enough being a kid playing sports these days. Why does the USSF have to make it that much more difficult?