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USAís Ďcuriousí way to create youth categories of soccer. (class 1 and 3)

In the whole world, soccer is divided into categories according to the ability of the players. This permits a more equal confrontation of power among the teams.

Plus, with some rare exceptions, there is a concept almost totally unknown in the USA in all sports so, in soccer too:


At the end of every season, the first teams are promoted to the level above and the last teams are relegated to the level below. This concept allows teams of the same level to stay together and have more balanced games.

Why is this so?

Aside from the equality concept, there is another great aspect. Teams that would like to go up, have to get better. Teams that want to stay in their category, have to get better, too, otherwise they will be relegated. This mechanism forces teams to constantly get better. This is really good!

The USAís way is different. In many Leagues (many, means, NOT all!), no matter what the level the teams are, not only do they stay in the same categories at the end of the season independently of the final standing, but, in the next season, they are allowed to CHOOSE THE CATEGORIES.

This is unbelievable!

A team is allowed to play at recreational level, class 3 or class 1, by their choice and the various Federations and Leagues donít have anything to do with this. If a Federation or a League doesnít regulate this aspect, I donít really see the reason for the existence of a Federation or a League! Just to set calendars and collect tons of money? Anyone of us could do this, very easily, in particular the second activity!

This aspect, has a deeply negative effect on the formation of the playerís character! It teaches them:

that itís not important to get better.
that itís not important to challenge themselves with their equals.
That itís o.k. to humiliate opponents with ridiculous scores (10-0, 15-0 or 20-0)
That itís better to win 15-0 against a team clearly inferior, instead of tying 0-0, or maybe losing 0-1, against a team CLEARLY SUPERIOR.
That there are not categories created by merit, but we can choose who challenge ourselves against with the goal of always being victorious against inferiors.
I could continue forever, but I think you get the idea!

So why does this happen? I believe itís an American characteristic. What is important is only to win. No one cares against who! No one cares if itís against teams that, even in 100 years, couldnít score a goal against them.

And because someone could think Iím talking in theory, Iíll give you a practical and real example.

In class 3 there are teams that are undefeated for years. Not only undefeated. They constantly win 6-0, 10-0, and really rarely they have a goal against.

These teams, not only are the fruit of a large selection (that is positive if they play in class 1) but they practice EVERYDAY, contrary to the other class 3 teams that practice 1 or maximum 2 times a week and, basically, are formed by a group of friends (boys or girls) that like to play and stay together, apart from their skill levels and are just a little above the recreational level!

So, the years pass, they grow older, the skill level grows in proportion and the difference among these teams becomes abyssal, but they still play in the same categories.

What can be done to correct this aberration?

In this moment, the ONLY way is for all the other teams to register an official complaint to the League and, after this, maybe theyíll put these teams in the correct categories.

Why does it have to be done in this very unfair way, forcing teams to denounce this absurdity, when the Federations and the Leagues, just by checking the scores and the standings at the end of the seasons, can easily fix the mistake and put these teams in the correct categories?

It is clearly not really a mistake. Itís a Ďpretendí mistake made by the people in charge of these teams, because Iím sure that it is not the players that create this situation.

Itís surely the people in charge, Coaches and General Managers, (a curious way that some parents of the kids have of referring to themselves), who prefer to show the other parents (including themselves!), that they are victorious with the purpose of defending their positions. For them, itís much better to play against inferior teams, and be victorious, than to get beaten and work harder to try to make the team better, besides the fact of having to explaining to the other parents, why they are loosing so often. Much better to be unbeaten no matter what the reason is.

How is it possible that parents donít see this ĎphenomenonĎ, just to use an euphemism?

I know why, and many of you know why, too, but I think I already said enough to make people hate me a little more than the usual!

Many times, I wrote something not exactlyÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ.....Ďpopularí.
I made a choice. I like to challenge myself instead of following the current. Itís not an easy way, but, itís the only way that I know that permits me to be in peace with myself and, more important, to help youth soccer to get better. It even costs me economically but, this is the way I am!

I donít think that adults will ever fix this aspect. Itís an aspect that is deeply rooted in American society. My only hope is that the youth generations, will prefer to challenge themselves in a more correct way so, from now on in this article, Iím just talking to them.

A long time ago, I wrote a comment on this quotation: To be the best, you have to beat the best.

I hope that youth players will read this and that some parents who agree with me, will also encourage them to read it. Itís never too late to fix mistakes. One day, these youth players, aside from the fact that they will inevitably become parents in their turn, might become Coaches, General Managers, League or Federation Officials and will do something to fix this deeply wrong way of forming the character of the future citizens that will have to guide our country. (please note that I said our country and not your country.)

Coach Gianni
Posted on 30 May 2007 by coachgianni
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