So what does this mean for those that have aspirations of playing college soccer?
And I don't mean settling for a level below what you're capable of, I mean maximizing your potential. And perhaps even receiving a scholarship?
If you want to be employable in the business of winning, what do you need to do? Here are just a couple of suggestions:
- Young people should be multi-sport athletes.They should not "specialize", especially prior to the age of 14. However, this doesn't mean they shouldn't prioritize. Which sport takes precedent when there is a conflict? This is difficult, especially when the conflict is with a high school sport.
Playing college soccer at your greatest level can't be a goal when you miss or attend sporadically 2-3 months of training because you play basketball or some other sport. In my hometown and at our tiny high school, we have a player that currently starts for a D1 Big Ten volleyball program as a freshman! She was all everything at the high school level. However, she went to each high school program that wanted her to participate (basketball, track, etc.) and told them she would participate in that sport, but if there was a conflict with her club volleyball team, she would be missing. Some coaches were okay with that, some weren't - she prioritized.
- Utilize the training and playing opportunities the club offers. Prioritize games, especially in the spring. I assure you, Siesta Key will still be there when you graduate from high school. We live in the age of the over-scheduled and under-committed player.
I've noted in previous newsletters that it is difficult to get recruited to play at the highest levels. Some publications put the odds of a female club soccer player from Ohio playing at the D1 level as 40:1 and a male club soccer player at 109:1!
An example of a training opportunity not utilized enough, primarily on the girls side, are the Wednesday sessions that began this past week (why the disparity between female/male participation can be debated). Now this session is designed around the "street soccer" concept, which is advocated at every level within the US developmental model. It affords each player the opportunity to allow the game to teach and players to lead within a free and fun environment.
A former female Galaxies player who played D1 soccer and has recently joined the Galaxies staff remarked "man, I wish we had done this when I was here, I would have loved it". And there is a speed & agility component this year as well! And yet, the participation percentage on the girls side has traditionally fallen within the range of 30-40%! In fact, this past week, in the case of one of the Elite teams, the participation was 20%! And it's a team full of underclassmen hoping to be recruited.
College coaches are in the business of winning. And they are looking for players or "employees" who will help them win. They are looking for players who make soccer a priority and take full advantage of games and training in order to be the most productive person on staff!