The Development Academy -- is it time for more than one division?

Since its inception in 2007, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) had been a great success. Its success is manifested in the USMNT selection (10 DA players in a 32-man roster) along with recent success of the U-17 and U-20 USMNTs. Let us not forget the success of the U-17s and U-20s is confined to the region, and I wish them the best of luck in their World Cup endeavors (in India and South Korea, respectively). The USMNT has still a long way to go.

It is obvious that the DA’s are correct steps in the correct direction. If you look at the contents of the program U.S. Soccer wants to use the DA’s to minimize the abrasive effect of the “pay-to-play” system. It has a scholarship system to at least subsidize the travel costs of the needed families whose kids play in the DA teams.

U.S. Soccer also brought in Double Pass to audit the DAs. The “scans” -- as Double Pass calls them -- were first applied to MLS DAs but now is being applied to non-MLS DAs also. These scans produce recommendations for the DAs to follow for the betterment of their academies. But they are just recommendations, no carrot, no stick from U.S. Soccer. Some MLS clubs through their DAs are trying to circumvent the “pay-to-play” system. In an earlier January article, I have summarized some suggestions on how we can build the missing fifth pillar into our system.

If you look closely at the DA rules, U.S. Soccer is actually subsidizing this structure. In return, it asks for a dedication from the DAs.

U.S. Soccer provides:
-- All Academy event fees;
-- Referee fees (U.S. Soccer assigns referees for all Academy games and subsidizes all associated costs, with the exception of U-12 competitions);
-- Product sponsorship of Nike balls and Powerade stations;
-- Scholarships for need-based players.
(The Scholarship Program is supported by U.S. Soccer to help Academy clubs and players move away from the pay-to-play model of soccer.)

There is no fee to join the DA, but just the registration fee for the players and coaches. This is the first structure in our country in which players register directly with U.S. Soccer by passing the State Youth Associations.

U.S. Soccer has stringent rules for coaching and facilities. In order to abide with these rules, DAs might have to spend considerable amount of time and money.

So far, everything looks good and promising. It is obvious that 73 DA teams are peanuts for a country which is the size of a continent. DAs have to be expanded in numbers and in regions across the USA.

I visited Laredo last week. It is a border town of about 250,000. The town had a PDL club -- Laredo Heat -- which won a title in 2007 and played two national finals (2006 and 2008). The city is full of talented Hispanic kids. The city -- although it has the resources -- for reasons beyond me does not build any grassroots soccer facilities. The families cannot afford the “pay-to-play” system as applied in more affluent communities. Then I realized that there was not a single DA club south of Austin, including San Antonio. South of Austin means mainly Hispanic communities who have soccer culture, but cannot afford “the-pay-to-play” system. Then I did a small research on which states have DAs:

Development Academies by state:
Arizona 1
British Columbia 1
California 13
Colorado 3
Connecticut 2
Washington, D.C. 1
Florida 6
Georgia 2
Illinois 4
Indiana 1
Massachusetts 2
Maryland 2
Michigan 2
Minnesota 2
Missouri 2
North Carolina 4
New Hampshire 1
New Jersey 3
New York 4
Ohio 2
Oregon 1
Pennsylvania 3
Quebec 1
Texas 7
Virginia 1
Washington 2

If you look at the table -- excluding the two Canadian DAs -- the DAs only cover 23 states and D.C. Even if you exclude Alaska and Hawaii, the DA system only covers half of the country. California, Texas and Florida have a total of 26 DAs out of 71. It is obvious that except for MLS DAs, only clubs that have nourished through the “pay-to-play” system can take part in the DA system. With FIFA’s training compensation not applicable in our country, all amateur youth clubs including non-MLS DAs have to rely on “pay-to-play” system to survive. We all know that "pay-to-play” system will discriminate the less affluent sections of the society. We also know that soccer in the world is the sport of lower social echelons. Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Wayne Rooney and others like them were not born to wealthy white-collar parents.

If U.S. Soccer wants to close the gap between USMNT and the leading MNTs and the gap between soccer and the other four sports in the USA, it must expand the DA and find methods of embracing the needy talented kids.

U.S. Soccer can ask both NASL and USL to have DAs in the next three years. Some of the USL teams are already affiliated with MLS. This will expand the geography of the DAs as well as create a better environment for the talented players since professional clubs should have resources other than funds to cover player tuition. Does U.S. Soccer need to sanction a league that does not contribute to its main mission: “To develop players”? The owners just joining will join in being aware of this requirement and the old owners should be given a time to adjust.

There could be two divisions in DAs. I am not talking about pro/rel type of division. Division 2 might have less stringent rules, like quantity and quality of coaches, players etc. They can be promoted to D1 when they flourish to meet the stringent rules of D1. U.S. Soccer can subsidize DAs in D2 who choose not ask for tuition from more than a percentage of their rosters. This subsidy might include partial payment of certified coaches, sharing the travel costs etc. Well, is there a better way for U.S. Soccer to spend the $100 million surplus than for player development?

D2 DAs will expand the DA concept geographically as well as embracing the needy talented kids. UEFA had been supporting and subsidizing smaller nations of the continent so the level of soccer in those countries can be elevated, hence the overall quality of the European soccer.

You might find this idea too “socialistic” in a capitalist country. Unfortunately, in order to catch up with other sports and nations, we might not have too many options. After all, U.S. Soccer is the governing body of soccer for all 50 states and all of the people of this country.

Ahmet Guvener ( is the former Secretary General and the Technical Director of the Turkish FA. He was also the Head of Refereeing for the Turkish FA. He served as Panel member for the FIFA Panel of Referee Instructors and UEFA Referee Convention. He now lives and works as a soccer consultant in Austin, Texas.
52 comments about "The Development Academy -- is it time for more than one division?".
  1. don Lamb, May 18, 2017 at 11:01 p.m.

    Kudos, Ahmet. That's a great article that hits on the progress of the DA as it has become established over the last decade while also providing great insight as to what hurdles still need to be overcome. Now that it has been established that the first phase of the DA has produced quality players, and should thus be expanded, this seems like the perfect time to tackle these issues. Hopefully conversation like this and the Double Pass audit provide that spring board that take us to the mountain top.

  2. The Ghost of Gary Young replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:02 p.m.

    How would the non-MLS DAs sustain themselves without a pay to play model? Coaches coaching for free? Municipalities letting them use facilities for free? Get real.

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:14 p.m.

    Nah we don't need money. We just need to complain a lot and surely things will get better without any money.

  4. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 6:20 p.m.

    Your comments would be better without the constant childish name calling and personal attacks. You are an adult correct? Butt muncher? I haven't heard that since elementary school. It doesn't enhance the reasoning or arguments in your comments, that's for sure.

  5. don Lamb replied, May 19, 2017 at 6:26 p.m.

    Kumar - Do you think that all clubs produce professional players? Do you think that the clubs who have produced professional players do so with any regularity that training compensation would fund their entire operating budget?

  6. Robert Parr, May 19, 2017 at 1:19 a.m.

    Agreed on your main point that the DA, despite its growth, still misses most of the potential players in the country. No amount of subsidies can solve that problem, though. Only when we fall in line with FIFA on training compensation will funds flow to those who actually produce players most effectively. Mandating youth development on minor league teams with no real option to get a return on that investment will only hurt the growth of the pro game in the smaller markets -- the same ones you point out are limited in pathways already.

  7. Joey Tremone replied, May 23, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    One of my bigger problems with training compensation is that its advocates see it as a magic formula. Sorry, but 60 grand once going to one out of every 100 clubs once a year is not going to end pay-to-play. To the extent it does anything (which is obviously not much) it subsidizes the problem, which is youth clubs that don't have a senior team to contract players and therefore aren't oriented towards steering their growth in that direction. Now that you're paying them not to have a senior team, the economic incentive is to do nothing, keep kids from signing with pros, and hope you get lucky.

  8. K Michael, May 19, 2017 at 8:02 a.m.

    Ahmet, I like this article and your insight, but the good news is the DA this past year just expanded dramatically by adding the u12 age group and seeded roughly 70 new DA programs to boot. Now, not all of these will "grow" into the older age groups but many will. The academy, including the younger set, is now well over 140 clubs. Also, the DA just carved out two new dedicated age groups, u13, and u15, for Fall 17', thus expanding roster spots to kids who otherwise would have been forced to compete with older kids in the old 13/14 and 15/16 ages. The DA, in ten short years, has really been moving rapidly in a more sensible direction for youth development at the highest level.

  9. GA Soccer Forum, May 19, 2017 at 8:39 a.m.

    Keep in mind with Age group change the younger half of next years u12 sides, the 2007s are currently 9 years old. Most 9 year olds can be playing 6-8 games a month, under DA they will play ~24 games all year. Not enough in my opinion for a 9 year old kid that can go non stop. Its way to young for kids to be under strict rules -- no guesting, no playing with other teams, no 2 games in a day. Its terrible for keepers that need to play etc.

    Since we've already gone down the road - you expand DA and create a first and 2nd league with promotion and relegation. Even mls clubs can be relegated.
    Remove all sub restrictions at u13 to u15 age groups and enforce the rule that kids have to play 50% of the minutes each month. If a coach violates the rule they should be severely penalized -- this needs to be monitored monthly etc.
    US soccer should force a maximum amount that can be charged.

    The word development is in the leagues name --- there is nothing remotely close to actual development going on. Its lets play our top 11 players 95% of the minutes, and everyone else can sit and watch. Some of those kids on the bench aren't even given a chance. Needs to be fixed.

  10. charles smith, May 19, 2017 at 9:34 a.m.

    Great Insight by a very knowledgeable person. Thank you Mr. Guvener. I have some comments that I will put in another post regarding players form Laredo, which I know you are just using as an example of how unequal the USSDA clubs are spread out, but first I wanted to comment on GA soccer Forum. Development is going on sir. At FC Dallas my son practices 5 days a week. In Austin, with Lonestar USSDA, my son practices 4 days a week. If they are not good enough to catch the coach's eye during that time, then I am okay with them sitting on the bench and watching. Perhaps it will motivate them to work harder or learn what is holding them back. Eventually, most players will not continue to advance. If a player is sitting on the bench at a USSDA venue and is upset (usually it is the parents that are still set in the pay for play mindset or think that playing time should be shared) then the player might want to join one of the many other challenging leagues to get more playing time. I can tell you my son has blossomed playing with USSDA, with challenging practices, amazing coaching, and the best players to motivate him. I think the USSDA is heading in the right direction.

  11. GA Soccer Forum replied, May 19, 2017 at 9:49 a.m.

    Charles I agree, with regards to playing time I was focusing and should clarify, I was speaking about the younger age groups. At the 2 older age groups the 16s and 18s, I have no problem with top 11 playing all the minutes. But at the younger age groups, there is no table, no standings, no playoffs etc, then kids should be given a chance to prove themselves in a game vs just training. I'm glad your kids are getting that experience, as FC Dallas has the reputation of being the best youth club in the country.
    I'm assuming FC Dallas also has multiple staff per team, around here besides Atlanta United, its typically 1 coach assigned to a team with very little support from the club. That needs to be fixed.

    There are rumors of Atlanta United looking to "Ultimate goal is to remove the DA tag and just have the European model where you are on the U1x team and are not constrained by the DA rules. You would still play DA but also other highly competitive teams like MLS academies, etc."

  12. charles smith, May 19, 2017 at 11:16 a.m.

    Point well taken. I agree. It seems to me if we went to the European model, give the current number of MLS and USL teams we would be worse off in terms of availability of access. I hope the DA expands as Mr Guvener suggests. Looking at the players coming out of MLS sponsored academies (with much more in terms of resources and access to first team pro players) verse non MLS, it seems that a fair number of non-MLS academy players are represented on the various age group MNTs. So, expansion outside of MLS clubs is less than ideal, but good players and coaches seem to rise to the top. Especially, if every DA team is equally scouted 10 (or more now) games out of 30. Thanks for reading

  13. Fire Paul Gardner Now, May 19, 2017 at 12:08 p.m.

    Another terrific article by Mr. Guevner which acknowledges the progress we've made in recent years while identifying a potential major obstacle going forward.

  14. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 12:17 p.m.

    And of course you will jump on the highway to hell..

  15. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 1:17 p.m.

    Your comment makes no sense. Fortunately we are only a few weeks away from your departure from this board barring a USMNT win in the U20 world cup. Can't wait.

  16. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:01 p.m.

    Fire, I have very strong hopes and beliefs that the U20 will win the World Cup in 2017 but you and your supporters are still skeptics who believes and possibly hopes the U20 fails. You want to continue trying as oppose to succeeding. Trying is for other countries who don't have what the US has. Succeeding is what we do in all sports in the US we spend the money, put up the facilities, get the parents to the games and ensure our athletes go out their with heart and determination. Men soccer is our failure simply because you make excuses and are content with trying. Its a shame if some other country that simply has a less establish youth system comes up an win but I know you will be highly satisfy because you think the US making the World Cup was enough.. right ?

  17. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:16 p.m.

    Of course I hope we win but I'm also realistic. I'm not a child so I understand I can't always get what I want whenever I want it. I also understand that it takes time to catch up with countries that have been living and breathing the game for decades whereas soccer is still only the fourth most popular sport in this country and most people age 35 or over didn't grow up playing it.

  18. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 6:24 p.m.

    This same tired argument? I don't know who you are arguing with because I never said free play is bad, just that both free play and organized football is needed for development. The fact you keep arguing against arguments I'm not making leads me to believe you can't refute things I actually am saying.

  19. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 10:37 p.m.

    Fire the realistic.. is that what you are ? You realistically thinks that the US cannot win the World Cup U20 even though we are so much better and develope than other countries who have done so in the past-- I think your description is more pathetic than realistic.. We got 21 kids lining up on Monday to represent us and you think they are a failure before they even start.. Dude of all the back and forth that goes on in this site I never once would think anyone would have your judgement for young men trying to do something to make us feel proud. You need to rethink that statement because I hope you did not mean that..

  20. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 22, 2017 at 11:13 a.m.

    Who says we are better at developing young players than anyone else? Not me. We are much better than ten years ago but not where we want to be yet. I hope we win the U20 world cup but I don't expect it to happen. If it does, great. If not, that doesn't mean the kids are failures as you suggest. For example, I certainly don't look at 2015 U20 squad as a failure.

  21. Quarterback TD, May 19, 2017 at 12:09 p.m.

    Everyone is talking expansions like it's a good thing when in fact it's not. Over the last 3 years I have seen Academies grow and grow and grow but the players are less and less better. The grass root programs that develops all our talent is being replaced by this structured soccer nonsense that USDA is feeding parents. Kids don't play for fun and develop naturally anymore they develop according to the structured play the coaches want. Hence individual decision making is limited to the play the coach wants. In 5 years MLS teams will comprise of mostly foreign developed players who brings excitement to the game and not a robotic type USDA develop player. MLS will need to reevaluate their Academies and determine if it's really worth developing players that will either be ind finitely bench or sent to college. In addition the new league such as ECNL has already started to attract top academy players away from the USDA and that league has much better coaches than USDA. Solution is not expansion but quality.. in order to expand quality one must have the best selection process in place and currently USDA don't have that..

  22. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 1:17 p.m.

    ECNL isn't a new league. This comment makes little sense and is basically just a bunch of unsupported assertions.

  23. P R replied, May 19, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

    "In 5 years MLS teams will comprise of mostly foreign developed players who brings excitement to the game and not a robotic type USDA develop player."

    Where exactly did this pretty bold statement come from, is it just an opinion of yours, or do you have anything else to back it up? Also the MLS teams are the ones in charge of how their DA teams are run, so if they didn't like how the kids are being trained, they would change the training.

  24. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 2:12 p.m.

    His kid didn't make the cut at RBNY so therefore, all MLS development is horrible, the DA is a scam and everyone involved is corrupt.

  25. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.

    Fire, if you are going to hit under the belt at least aim straight. ECNL Boys is a NEW league however the organization is not. Not one person has explain to me why this super expansion that is currently diluted with very weak players is better. Have you been to any academy games ?

  26. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:18 p.m.

    Seems to me we need more opportunities for player development, not fewer. And yes I have.

  27. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:19 p.m.

    P R, simple question.. have you been to the games ? It's a prediction base on current set of players in the academy.. the level is bad.. the training is bad.. and the grass roots is being destroyed.. MLS is a business to generate money base on a franchise it's not there to grow and Academy unless it will get returns for those players. Right now the less than 1% repeat less than 1% going pro are either sitting on the bench, going to Europe, getting traded to USL or some level 2 team within the organization or leaving the system early to pursue another career. This is not success even though it makes for good debate on this blog. Bottom line expansion without a model for development into a career is not being address..

  28. P R replied, May 19, 2017 at 5:47 p.m.

    No QTD, I've never actually been to a game, I've never even touched a soccer ball, thanks for asking. Though I feel like I've heard more an more players are coming out of DA programs and making MLS teams, so I was just curious why you made such a bold statement. I'm sorry if I offended you by asking you to back up your statement rather than just believing it because you said so. And at the risk of offending you further, could you please let us know where you get the percentages of DA kids who are going on to play at higher levels?

  29. P R replied, May 19, 2017 at 7:01 p.m.

    JK, I have not deeply researched this, and you'll notice I didn't make any grand pronouncements about it, I just what I've observed. However I did see that after you had made some seemingly definitive statements about the the youth development in MLS under a different article, someone went and actually researched it all, and showed that you had well undersold how many players are coming into MLS teams and such. So you'll excuse me if I don't just take your word for things, and instead I like to ask for people to back up what they say.

  30. don Lamb replied, May 19, 2017 at 8:27 p.m.

    J - I'm still waiting on your research that you promised to come back with from two past articles. You are a fraud and have been proven wrong on every one of your assertions. Never stops you from moving on to the next wrong assertion.

  31. Quarterback TD replied, May 19, 2017 at 10:50 p.m.

    Why should Kumar give you guys anything ? Do your own research and dispel anything you see is wrong.. Kumar is absolutely rights in his assessment.. you all agree with this writer assessment yet some of the statistics are incorrect like New Jersey only has 3 Academy when in fact it has 5 (Red Bulls, PDA, Cedar Stars Bergen, Cedar Stars Monmouth and TSF) why don't you ask the editor for his research.. there are other items that are totally incorrect in this article but you believe it is correct and jump and cheer why ?? Because you think bigger is better and will dispell any reasonable logic that Kumar give you with some nonsense..

  32. don Lamb replied, May 19, 2017 at 11:06 p.m.

    QB - I didn't actually ask Kumar to do the research. The problem was that I routinely presented research and facts that squarely quashed this theory. His response is that "I am doing some research and will get back to you." Those are his literal last words on two recent posts -- so, he actually does indeed owe us something. Unless he wants to continue being the fraud that he is. I have continually shown that he is wrong on many many issues over the last year or so on here. I have also agreed on a couple of his major points. But the fact that he continues to double down on his ignorance (in a childish way, no less) goes well beyond reason. You do the same thing, so it is no wonder that you two are allies here. Saying that the US has the best roster on paper at the U20 World Cup is simply incorrect, and the contradictions that this idea presents with some of your and Kumar's other assertions either suggests that yall are incapable of comprehending a big picture or that your perspective is simply ill informed.

  33. P R replied, May 19, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.

    QTD, I see, and guess what, I'm the queen of England. According to you, I don't have to back this statement up, apparently everybody should just believe it unless they can prove that it's wrong, so unless you can prove that I, the queen, secretly follows American soccer, and posts things anonymously, then you have to believe the statement. Oh, and in case you missed it, people have also taken the time to prove JK wrong.

  34. Quarterback TD replied, May 20, 2017 at 12:06 a.m.

    P R, this article has numerical facts that are 40% incorrect in some instances and as much as 70% inaccuracy in others like I pointed out but you guys think the editor is super smart and good until someone like Kumar point out otherwise. This shows that you guys will follow anything as long as it songs good and not give a thought to the results it can produced. You need to read the original story of Pinocchio there is more than one moral to that story but one describe you. The part where he follows the wrong crowd and end up doing wrong. And right now you are following Don and Fire and they are the wrong crowd and you already failing. My advice is simply think for yourself and not let others think for you. You don't have to agree with Kumar but if you disagree with Kumar because of the two stooges Don and Fire then you will be the third stooge.. Don and Fire has a casting call waiting for you and it sounds like you already got the part-- do you want it ?

  35. Quarterback TD replied, May 20, 2017 at 12:14 a.m.

    Don, the way you guys hit under the belt with your insulting comments I don't blame Kumar for not giving you anything but more disdain. This is a blog not a statistic class. Learn to debate or simple not say anything or are you too uneducated to debate ?

  36. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 21, 2017 at 11:49 a.m.

    QTD has stated that he has no time to look up facts before posting and it shows. For example, he has posted multiple times that the Nets NBA team had horrible attendance in NJ but now they are sold out every game in Brooklyn. When I pointed out that stats show they actually had higher attendance in NJ, he made fun of me for looking up actual number and said he just relies on anecdotal "evidence" to form his opinions. Bizarre.

  37. MA Soccer, May 20, 2017 at 6:05 a.m.

    Pretty thin article and lots of silly comments. Site is getting boring and predictable

  38. don Lamb replied, May 20, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    What would rather see? Do you have something to add that would make it less "thin?"

  39. Bob Ashpole, May 20, 2017 at 6:06 a.m.

    Mr. Guvener, I am not going to explain anything as you need no explanations. I disagree with your conclusions on 2 points. First, the focus of player development, should be on player development, not team competitions. Second the number of DA players selected to the national team is a reflection of our scouting practices, not a measure of player development success. Player development success should be judged by the quality of the players we development. I see the desire for an objective test, but this is in reality a subjective issue.

  40. frank schoon, May 20, 2017 at 10:35 a.m.

    Guys. I think the point Bob makes about" the focus should be on player development , not games or team competitions" is right on, and this is also backed up by others here who say their sons practice 4 or 5 days a week, which ,I think is totally, rediculous. There has to be some form of street soccer, even played on concrete and free play as the greater part of a youth's development in the beginning instead it is programmed and controlled. I don't have a high opinion of the people who do the coaching and training in these academies, for I've been around too long to know who these people are...To me it is all about control and money. There is no quality there and they want another division DA, LOLOL , QUANTITY, QUANTITY, QUANTITY, MULA,MULA ,MULA. Those who point to good players coming out of the academies due to their training , well there will always be talent , regardless. Like Cruyff stated when he criticized the Ajax youth program as being lousy, and failing, stated it not about about the Wesley Sneyders, the Van der Vaarts, etc, who are talented but it is about gross of mediocrity that needs to be lifted in their development. This is why Ajax stresses individual development and not this IDIOCY, of team competitions

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  47. Goal Goal, May 21, 2017 at 10:08 a.m.

    In our little soccer world(here in US) these clubs think player development is accomplished by:
    1). Playing more games. Confirmed by the amount of tournaments played and sometimes even two or three games in a day. Absolutely ridiculous.
    2) We have a kid with potential so lets move him/her up to the next age group. Not taking age, size, physical ability into consideration.

  48. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 21, 2017 at 11:51 a.m.

    Actually DA limits the number of games played. Ironically, someone was just complaining about that too. Can't please everyone. But one game a week is generally optimal in my view.

  49. GA Soccer Forum, May 21, 2017 at 12:07 p.m.

    Yes if they actually played 1 game a week, that would be nice. They play ~ 24 games over a 10 month period, and some months, maybe 1 game the entire month.
    A balanced schedule of 1 game a week all 10 months, would be optimal with a little bit of time at the start of the fall and spring for preseason. The schedule is controlled by US soccer, so kids can go 3 weeks without a playing a game. And lets say your a keeper and you have 2 on the team, it might be the other keepers turn to play, the keeper that doesn't play can have 0 games the entire month.... how is this good??

  50. Goal Goal, May 21, 2017 at 1:22 p.m.

    Fire you are absolutely correct and I should have clarified myself concerning multiple games on the same day. I was referring to club play where this happens all the time and I have seen it in DA play. Say it in Dallas last year as a matter of fact. However one game a week is the rule but when you play one on Saturday at the end of the week and then play one on the following Sunday would you consider that one game a week? I don't think so. I have seen that happen in all age groups of DA. Not occasionally but frequently or at least more than it should. This leads to injury. Sure it would be said that when this occurs the coach has to learn how to balance the play using all of the roster. If development was the prime concern that is a good argument but winning is the prime concern and although winning is important it ain't the prime purpose. I would like to see some comments on this or I may be climbing the wrong hill.

  51. Rankin S, May 22, 2017 at 4:15 p.m.

    US Soccer is making it hard for players to explore other avenues of playing soccer. With that many practices a week there isn't much time left to play on their own. The club system draws youth players from different Schools and Cities which makes it hard for teammates to get together for pickup at the park. By discouraging players from High School soccer players miss an opportunity to play a 25+ game season. Ironically I have seen more pickup during the HS season with my sons and their school friends/teammates than they ever play during NPL seasons. Whether it's intentional or not, the free, no costs soccer is being squeezed out.

  52. Goal Goal, May 22, 2017 at 5:17 p.m.

    I know the argument against HS soccer. Some cases true and some not. HS soccer is not only an athletic experience but it is a social experience. What kid doesn't want to compete for his/her HS, representing the school in athletic competition with the chance of being an All District, All Regional or All State player and receiving a lettering in the sport they love. In my mind its not right. There is no reason there cant be some compatibility. Grown ups should be able to figure it out.

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