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More about Club vs. High School

I received this question from Coach Michelle. I think that her question, and my answer, could be useful to you.

Coach Gianni


Hi Gianni,

I would love to get your perspective of the overlap of High School soccer in the CCS. The overlap by CYSA causes all this pressure for the tryouts for High School when club practices are still in session. Club coaches that do High School understand but ones who do not do Coach competitive soccer put my team at risk. Now I have one player injured from tryouts.

I remember I could play all sports with no overlaps now we force kids to specialize in a sport. I don't have a problem with that, but some athletes like to do different sports to build their performance by doing other sports. I see that Club soccer performs better and they play a better game but the media continues to glorify the High School game in our area.

What is your take on commitment?

Yours in Soccer,

Coach Michelle Lee


Dear Michelle,

Thanks for your email that permits me to clarify, one more time, the great misunderstanding that still happens in our country about sport in general, and soccer in particular. The dualism of club vs. high school!

Until we get out of this dualism, we'll always have problems. The pressure, that you correctly underlined, is tangible and can lead to only one thing. Stressing players emotionally and forcing them to take the risk of getting injured.

But before developing this topic, I'd like to emphasize another concept that is much, much more important.

High schools, and schools in general, are still PRETENDING to develop the skills of the players.
Considering the brief duration of the season, with 2 or 3 games a week and 1 or 2 practices ONLY, there is no time to develop skills. So, who does the job?

The clubs!! And why . . . ? Because they practice all year round and have the time to do that!

So, what do the schools do? Try-outs and choose players that the clubs have developed! And when the clubs have the need for players, the schools have the ARROGANCE not to allow them to have them!

The real problem is the compression of 3 sports, if not 4, during the academic year. Instead of trying to be really good at something, they say it is better to be so-so in everything! In my opinion, this is wrong.

Up to 10 - 11 years old, kids have to try all the sports, to see what sport they like and to harmoniously develop their bodies. Even when they play all positions on the field. But at 13 - 14, it's time to choose a sport (not necessarily soccer) and be ready to succeed in that. In High School, when the sports should be clearly defined and have players in each sport that practice and play ALL YEAR ROUND, kids can succeed in the one that they choose, so these teams will be the clubs and they will be inside the high schools. This way the dualism will finally be resolved.

Doing this, we'll finally see again the Dream Teams that win gold medals at the Olympic Games or the World Cups in every sport, instead of basketball teams, that don't win even a bronze medal and, at the Basketball World Cup, get beaten by Costa Rica and classify in the 7th spot in the world!

Naturally, to stop calling the finals of Baseball, World Series, and call the team that wins the NBA title, World Champion, would be really useful, but this would be asking a little too much of a nation that still believes it is the best in the world and, unfortunately, is not that anymore.

And here, to be clear, I'm talking only about sports!

So, you stated: I see that Club soccer performs better and they play a better game but the media continues to glorify the High School game in our area.

This is the real problem. Youth sports, in the USA are considered only at a scholastic level. The way in which the NBA and NFL is conceived, with the ridiculous mechanism of the 'first choice' from the Universities to enter the professional teams, CAN'T work in soccer.

The training at school doesn't exist!

So, until professional soccer teams start developing youth teams in which the talented players go to play (and study!!!!) there will always be some 'little' club that tries to survive and deal with the arrogance of the high schools, that pick the best players and win championships, pretending to use players that THEY have developed.

I conclude with another of your statements: I feel this is such a life lesson that you finish what you start. Am I wrong?

You're absolutely right! But first let's define what "you start" means. If you start ONE thing, you can stay focused on that and finish it. But if you start 4 things, like soccer, basketball, football and lacrosse, and just to complete the mess, learn to play an instrument, sing, dancing, tennis, chess, swimming, horseback riding, bicycling, rock climbing, and who knows what else, how you can finish what you start?

I hope that these concepts (probably confused because it's written from the heart) answer your question.

Yours in soccer,

Coach Gianni

Posted on 05 Dec 2007 by coachgianni
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