[MY VIEW] The 2014 NSCAA Convention for me and many of my contemporaries was one massive reunion. You could not walk into the Marriott Hotel lobby without being bombarded by players you played with or against, coaches who you were coached by, or friends you have made over the years in the soccer community. I wonder if the players today will have the same special bond that was formed with the players of my era.
Today, team rosters change regularly, parents take their “next Messi” and drive an hour or two away to a team that was undefeated last season and players really don’t have time to create that bond. Instead of a group of players going over to a friend’s house after practice for some play time, today the players get back in their parents car for the long ride home.
My main playing years were in the 1980s when you played on your town team from eighth grade until you went to college. You played high school soccer with the majority of these same players. There was little jumping from town team to town team and nobody formed a B team because your child did not make the travel team.
Growing up in North Jersey I was fortunate enough to play against the legendary Kearny crew a number of times. Tab Ramos, John Harkes, Mike O’Neil, Rob McCourt, Tony Meola -- man were they good. My college days were played at Rutgers with a great player, Peter Vermes … there were some seriously talented Jersey players who graduated High School in 1984.
I ran into to many of those players at the convention and it was as if we were still in High School or College, but a little grayer up top. There seemed to be that special bond and I really wonder if the change in the landscape of youth soccer has taken this away from the players of today.
Times have changed, but hopefully players can find a way to create that special bond with as many of their teammates as possible so they too can enjoy these special reunions for years to come!
(Tyler Isaacson is a club president, travel coach, recreation coach, youth player, college player and dad. He has 30 years of playing and coaching experience and is founder of youthsoccer101 an online coaching & player development tool. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)