Commentary

Video Games vs. Youth Soccer, the mismatch

By Mike Woitalla

In an article by John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project, he writes that three out of four young athletes leave organized sports by the age of 13. And that many, especially boys, turn to video games.

O’Sullivan is no fan of video games – “I see no value in them for my kids” -- but contemplates why so many children rather play video games than organized sports and comes up with these reasons:

* Video games put the kids in control, while in youth sports the adults take over.

* Video games are action packed 100 percent of the time and inclusive of all participants (especially their friends), while organized sports have huge numbers of kids sitting on the bench or standing in line and not participating. Throw in the push to form “select” teams at younger and younger ages and there go their friends too.

* Video games allow kids to create their own reality based upon their values and motivations, while youth sports today attempts to impose adult values and priorities upon them.

* Video games allow children to experiment and fail without fear of criticism and critiques, while youth sports rarely allow such space, especially in the competitive arena.

Read O’Sullivan’s article, “What Youth Sports can Learn from Video Games,” which includes suggestions on how coaches can keep kids enjoying sports, HERE.

U.S. Soccer Development Academy products in MLS pass 100 mark

In 2007, MLS mandated that its clubs field youth teams and U.S. Soccer launched the Development Academy. In 2014, D.C. United’s Bill Hamid became the first homegrown player to win the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and Gyasi Zardes, who scored 16 regular-season goals for the LA Galaxy, became the first homegrown player to score in an MLS Cup.

According to U.S. Soccer, 16 new players with Academy club ties are on this season’s 20 MLS rosters, upping the total to 109 players. Seven of them have been earned U.S. national team caps: Juan Agudelo, Steve Birnbaum, Wil Bruin, Luis Gil, Hamid, Wil Trapp and Zardes.

Go HERE for the list of former Development Academy players in MLS.

In the News …

AYSO and FOX Sports announced a jersey sponsorship as part of the five-year partnership between the two organizations. AYSO’s 500,000 players begin wearing AYSO-FOX Sports 1 jerseys this spring. ...

… Pennsylvania’s WNEP 16 reports that a wife and husband who served as Greater Pittston Stoner Youth Soccer Association president and treasurer have been charged with stealing more than $40,000 from the organization. Kathryn and Edward Koch allegedly forged checks to pay personal bills and for their vacation. … CentralMaine.com reported that the Winslow Travel Soccer Club's former treasurer, Charles Spaulding, 43, has been charged with stealing an estimated $15,000 from it over a five-year period.

(This article from the Youth Soccer Insider archives includes safeguard suggestions against embezzlement: “Stealing from children -- and how to prevent it.”) ...

... Video Pick: Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy's Aaron Herrera bicycle kick golazo made it on ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day. Watch it HERE.

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