Heard Around The Pitch: Quotes from coaches on high school vs. club soccer
At the Jefferson Cup last weekend, PSW reporter Coree Reuter asked numerous coaches what their opinion was regarding high school vs. club soccer. Considering many athletes had to make a choice between playing their high school games on Friday night or attending Jefferson Cup, the question remains: should players have to make a choice between the two teams? Several high schools in Virginia rescheduled or canceled their games due to the conflict, but the frustration of scheduling and priority still remained for many coaches.
“Our high school season is the fall so we don’t have the issue [of conflicting schedules]. As [high-]quality of an event as this is, with as many coaches that are here, it’s definitely worth it for the girls to come down and see what the next level is like. This gives them a great opportunity. It’s missing a day of school but it also gives them a chance to get to the next level, which is also important.”
–Beadling SC United (Md.) head coach Gregg Day
“I also coached high school and I had a number of students who wanted to play at the next level and that’s really important. These tournaments will get you there. This is where they showcase and where they get the exposure.
“I would bring up my JV players and the fact that these are not conference games means really nothing when it comes to that banner, and I know how important the high school banner is. I believe in that. I think they have the right to fight and try to win that banner, but during this time when it’s so important for the girls to try and get to the next level, they have that opportunity, and I think the high school coaches should recognize that and support this opportunity. It’s an educational institution, and these girls want to get to the next level in this institution, so why not provide them that venue?”
— LMVSA Patriots (Va.) and former Yorktown High School head coach Lula Bauer
“Our high school season runs in the fall, but there has to be a balance. If you ask kids to choose, you’re putting 15-, 16-, 17-year old girls in an impossible situation. You have to find a balance between high school and club, and that needs compromise on both sides.”
–Massapequa Force (N.Y.) head coach Frank Marino
“I don’t like these conflicts, and I have a real problem with the control that the club soccer programs have over our players, but right now that’s the reality of the situation. If high school coaches enforced the VHSL rule and mandated that high school soccer must take priority over club soccer during the spring, then the majority of top players probably would not play high school soccer. I also take issue to “showcase” tournaments that schedule games when these kids should be attending school. I know two of my players have a game scheduled at 11am on Friday. And then we expect these kids to be in top form on Monday when they have already played 3 or 4 games on the weekend. Not to mention the injuries that can and do occur.”
–Madison High School girls head coach Grant Massey
“High school soccer is completely opposite what a real soccer person would teach. I’m totally against it, to be fair. I understand the prestige. I wanted to play for my high school, but my high school played real soccer. High school soccer in this country is run by, most of the time, people who don’t understand how the game should be played.
“I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but if they would embrace the culture, and seek advice and help from a qualified or experienced person who teaches how the game should be played, they would be a lot better off. Instead they’re running every single day, and the tactical awareness and technical part is neglected because all they do is run. I will say when you get them back they are fit, but they do so many things that aren’t conducive to the real game, and most college coaches will tell you the same. They come back with so many bad habits.”
–YMS Premier Fury head coach John Greaves
“[NCAA] D1 programs just don’t have the time to get to high school games. The level is so varied that it’s kind of a waste of our time. But high school is where their memories are. I get frustrated myself at the club coaches that say their kids have to be at everything. The club thing is where they’re going to get seen and where the opportunities are college-wise, so you don’t want to discredit that, but at the same time, they’re not going to remember their first game on Friday at the 2011 Jefferson Cup. They’re going to remember their high school games, the camaraderie, the pasta parties, and all that good stuff. The level may not be the best, but that’s what they’re going to take away.”
–University of Delaware head coach Ginna Lewing
“One of my players has a game at 7:30 tonight. If she wanted to play in that game, which I have no problem with, then I probably wasn’t going to play her today, or tomorrow morning since I think that’s too much. I always allow the choice. What I would like to see, is that the high school teams pay a little more attention to this tournament, since so many good players play in this tournament as well as high school. Consider using it as a blackout day for high school. No reason to miss this for a high school game this early in the season.“
–Bethesda (Md.) head coach Ellis Pierre
“That’s a part of their identity, you don’t want to take that away from them because they enjoy it, and it’s a good preparation for them to get into the college atmosphere. I’m not against it, I think that it’s just hard to transition them from high school back to this tournament. I wish they all played for the same high school!”
–United FA Elite (Ga.) head coach Iggy Moleka