From what I have seen, I think the trends are that the club system and certainly the men's professional game are moving in the right direction. But I'm afraid the same can't be said for women's soccer and NCAA soccer. Apparently at the NSCAA convention the Duke men's and women's coaches gave a workshop and laid out the 9 characteristics they look for in recruiting... http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/458/20206 These include; competitiveness, athleticism, willingness to take players on 1 v 1, special qualities, working off the ball, coachability, fitness, psychology, experience Not included? Technical ability and tactical awareness. Ok, I'll try to be fair and allow that movement off the ball can be demonstrative of some tactical awareness (it can also just be indicative of a willingness to run around like a chicken with its head cut off) and in special qualities they did mention technical skill (ability to head the ball and long kicking ability - uggh). I guess the first argument they would make is that obviously you need a minimum level of technical and tactical ability to compete. But clearly you need a minimum level of these other traits just to compete as well, so why gradate based on these? And I will anticipate that the next argument would be that technical and tactical skills can be taught. Certainly (especially when they are making choices with sophomore-aged players) other elements can be taught. I tend to think you can drastically improve the performance of players when they are immersed in a structure like the Duke athletic department with the resources available to deal with factors like nutrition, strength, flexibility, bio-mechanical training, sports psychology, et al. This is what they choose.