Youth soccer clubs or High school soccer?
The high school soccer vs club soccer has been around for years in the United States and it looks like this topic will never go away. Some people state that high school soccer is “inferior” and amateur youth club soccer is much more advanced. This general comment is both naive and in many cases wrong.
With respect to all soccer clubs and soccer coaches:
I moved to the US after playing professionally to earn a bachelor’s and Master’s degree. During my first few year in the US, I immediately learned about issues between high school soccer vs amateur youth club soccer in America. I’ll be honest, it is very confusing and it is extremely sad!!!
I’m not defending either side but protecting the game of soccer and the many opportunities that this game has given many of us worldwide.
The chance to play professionally or in college is not a RIGHT nor is GIVEN to you simply because you play for a “top amateur youth soccer team” or “because you play for a big high school team”. Each player must EARN the ability to play soccer in college or professionally through passion, dedication and lots of personal sacrifices. More important, you must show that you are mature and a well-experienced goalkeeper or field player to be selected to play at the next level.
Playing the game, at any level, is where you master your skills and gain lots of experience. Games experiences can come from all different sources such youth club, pick up games, personal training, playing on your backyard, high school varsity and junior varsity soccer games and the list goes on…
If you are a professional goalkeeper or field player who earns million of dollars playing for a club, then I totally understand why you should commit to a team 100%.
However, understand that playing soccer is beautiful and it is ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE you gain in every game to reach your fullest potential as a soccer player. In the game of soccer you must be able to speak the language of the game, adjusting to various playing skill levels, types of players and even multiple spoken languages.
You will never be fully prepared to be the best player you can be if you only play with one team. This is about your individual growth as a player, and your dreams.
If you start short-changing or choosing which games you want to play or what teams you want to play for, you are denying yourself many opportunities to grow, gain different experiences, to struggle, recover and BE CREATIVE. No coach or team can teach you to be creative in the game, this is something you learn from your OWN playing experiences.
Like millions of kids around the world, I grew up playing on the streets. For me it was on the streets of Panama and South America. This is where I gained the confidence to handle the ball despite of the terrible field conditions. The streets is where I learned to do my first goalkeeper dive. Here’s where the basic techniques started for many goalkeepers and field players who are currently playing professionally around the world.
I can’t imagine, if we were told to STOP playing on the streets because you “could get hurt” or “because playing on the street with your friends will make you an inferior player” and is not real competition. This would’ve been simply devastating for many professional players today and I would not be here as an international goalkeeper coach.
I find it extremely ridiculous to hear coaches say, “when you play in High School is just like playing with your friends & having fun”. Last time I checked, even Professional players play with teammates who are their friends and still having fun at the highest level!!.
I have personally heard players, as if they rehearsed it, saying the same things, “playing in high school is just like playing with friends”….. These kids are brainwashed by their coaches and it is so obvious!!!, actually very sad.
Statement like this comes from closed-minded and arrogant coaches who, in reality, are still AMATEURS because true professionals will tell you to play anywhere you can to gain experience.
What’s most disturbing is when coaches & few club teams are literally PROHIBITING parents & young players from playing or training outside their own youth club team. In some cases, parents are THREATEN to lose their spots or not make certain teams if they do not comply or follow these ” rules”. I simply cannot understand how this type of behavior is allowed in the 21st century and many parents simply take it!!…. But it happens MORE than you think.
“Humans will mature through both positive and negative experiences that occur in their daily lives. Sheltering yourself from ANY of these experiences, a person will NEVER be able to reach their full potential” Z Lozano.
Many times people think of their FUTURE without ENJOYING their present. We want the big dreams and play for the best teams, play for well-known colleges and dream about the lucrative contracts you will earn some day. However, we must not forget that every time you step on the field you are one step closer to reaching your dreams. Reaching your dream comes from ALL the different playing experiences that you can gain when you play the game anytime and anywhere and as often as possible.
I encourage you to take a stand for yourself and play as much as you can with any team that allows you to play for them; youth club, high school, or pickup soccer in the park etc. NOBODY should tell where you are “ALLOWED” to play unless you are earning a salary from the amateur youth clubs. In fact, YOU & YOUR PARENTS are the ones paying the clubs THOUSANDS of dollars a year to play soccer. (hotels, tournaments, showcase, trips, uniforms, club fees, etc). So you have the right to do what’s best for you.
DO NOT just wait for a coach, parents or team to organize pick-up games or practices. Instead, YOU take the INITIATIVE to go out and practice on goal-kicks, side punts, shots on goals or something. DO NOT be the type of goalkeeper or field player who will only play for “good teams” or “ with good players” to be known as the best keeper. This attitude WILL hurt you later in your career. STOP BEING AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES IN GAMES and gain as much experience as you can by simply playing anywhere you can possibly can!!
We understand you want your kid to get “full ride scholarships” playing in college. However, in reality your kid may get just a small portion of a scholarship since college coaches have to divide scholarships among 24 or more players according to the NCAA regulations. We also understand that if you play for XYZ team, it may give you a certain “exposure” that you may or may NOT get.
You MUST be aware of these coaches or clubs who are prohibiting you from doing what YOU KNOW will help your sons or daughters such as outside additional training, playing in other teams, High school, pick up games etc. ONLY YOU as parent know what’s best for YOUR CHILD. Nobody will care MORE about your child than YOU!!
NOTE: Coaches/clubs who go out of their way to stop you or your child from going to play or train outside your club are DANGEROUS for your child….No other way to put it!!.
Sooner or later your child will leave home to pursue their own destiny in life and in soccer. Some of them will play and others will not. You want your kids to be fully equipped to play at a higher level but the only way you can help them reach these goals is by providing them with new and different playing experiences. That’s how they gain confidence and respect!!
High school coach, club soccer coach or Director:
You are FULLY responsible to EDUCATE and DEVELOP PLAYERS , not to play the role of a RECRUITER or to be the coach that ONLY LIKES & WANT to work with the better players and better teams to be known as the “Great Coach”. Also, remember, as a coach at a YOUTH AMATEUR CLUB LEVEL, you are there to develop players. Nobody will care about your record but they will remember the players that you trained and learned from you, that’s why you coach!!!
ENCOURAGE THEM TO LEARN & PLAY the game anywhere possible. Provide them with the opportunity to go out and explore new experiences. Allow them to make mistakes and use these mistakes as a POWERFUL learning tool.
Remember, an unforgettable playing experience does not only come from winning a State or National title, it is about friendship, unity and fun during the learning process. Players will have PLENTY of competition later in life and beyond soccer.
Our organization, ZPro Futbol, is providing advanced weekly goalkeeper training to youth, high school and college goalkeepers in the Denver Metro area as well as professional goalkeepers around the world. However, we have NO attachments with any youth clubs. Therefore, we do not worry about the politics or decisions making process that occurs inside youth clubs. We simply TRAIN with the most innovating ways possible to help goalkeepers stay competitive in the 21st century.
We are incredibly blessed to have met great local coaches in Colorado from soccer clubs such as Colorado Rush club, Real Colorado, Colorado Storm Soccer, Altitude FC, and Colorado Rapids youth soccer. All of our students come from these clubs and just like these coaches, ZPro Futbol Goalkeeper Training Camps work hard to provide these young goalkeepers with an incredible learning experience.
As long as, arrogance exists inside some of these programs and coaches then this feud with youth club vs high schools will never stop, which it is very sad for soccer and for the upcoming generation of soccer players.
Read More on this Subject:
High School vs. Club: Can this storm be sent out to sea? – By Greg Winkler of SoccerAmerica.com