Very telling things about the current state of college soccer

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by Sandon Mibut, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    A) The College Cup starts in a couple of hours and there has been very little chatter here about the games. Or college soccer in general. In terms of traffic and posts, it's been very light the past couple of weeks. And this is among people who actually care about college soccer.

    It just shows how small the sport's following really is.

    B) MLS is continuing to de-emphasize college soccer. The league has done away with the annual Combine, replacing it with a much smaller - in scale, cost, length and participation - "showcase" to be held the day between the SF and final of the College Cup, ie tomorrow.

    Further, they are changing the draft and doing it remotely instead of making it an event where everyone is together and is televised. Instead, it will be shown on Twitter.

    Even the NHL and MLB, which rely less on college talent to immediately stock their rosters than the NFL and NBA do, still televise their draft. But MLS thinks it's not worth the expense or hassle.

    Tonight we'll see how much interest there is in the Cup. It has a local team in Wake Forest and two of the other teams are a driveable distance away and the fourth team, while from across the country, has a huge and wealthy alumni base. In other words, the ingredients are there for a good crowd. Let's see if they get it.

    None of this is good news for the state of the game at the college level.

    I know there supposedly has been momentum in the decades long quest to extend the college season, but at this point, it may be too little, way too late in terms of college soccer capturing the public's attention.
     
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  2. fknbuflobo

    fknbuflobo Member+

    Nov 16, 2011
    Akron, Ohio
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    USSF needs to broker the relationship between the MLS and the NCAA. Both must concede multiple points, too many to list here.

    Either that or the downward spiral will continue until there is nothing left worth saving in College Soccer.

    Every soccer conversation I have is implicitly about USA winning the WC, the benefits of which are (again) too numerous to list here.
     
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  3. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    No stories (online) this week on the College Cup in the Raleigh News & Observer, the largest paper in the Cary area. There's also nothing about the Cup in the Greensboro News & Record (Wake Forest) or the San Jose Mercury News (Stanford).

    There was an article in yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch (UVa) and today and yesterday's Washington Post (Georgetown).

    Granted, newspapers have lost most of their former relevance, but still. The local paper of the host sight and the biggest local papers of two of the participants couldn't be bothered to write about the College Cup this week.
     
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  4. NoHammiesAltidore

    NoHammiesAltidore New Member

    North Carolina Fusion
    United States
    Jun 28, 2019
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #4 NoHammiesAltidore, Dec 13, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
    I attend NC State, about 10mins away from WakeMed where it is being hosted. There has been no advertising, I get no advertising on campus because of the fact that we went out in the first round, but there is absolutely no advertising that I've seen in the city itself.

    Edit: The Winston-Salem Journal is a better representative of Wake Forest, which does have articles about College Cup, they're just buried down the webpage, the News and Record is harder to find outside of Greensboro.
     
  5. collegesoccer

    collegesoccer Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    It's the most wonderful time of the year but not for college soccer. A year-long calendar and spring championship with ESPN hyping the event in beautiful weather like they do softball, baseball and lax is the only cure. It's the busiest time of year with NFL, NCAA football and basketball, NBA, NHL, etc. Need the push of the ESPN machine. ESPN doesn't need college soccer this time of year. Early June is another story as they have limited programming and would NEED college soccer. One can dream!
     
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  6. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To be quite honest, this is the state of soccer in the US. Nearly all stats point that direction too.

    1) youth soccer numbers have been on a continuous decline since 2008 (Aspen Institute)

    2) MLS has seen ratings and attendance declines

    3) USMNT missed Russia and terrible attendance

    4) All of US pro soccer rosters are continuing to emphasize international players more than domestic

    5) college rosters have been continuing the same international trends

    6) absurd costs to participate, travel requirements, etc. continue to plague the sport

    If youth numbers are declining, and they have no “higher level” to truly pursue, how can we expect the game to trend positively? Kids leave the sport at 10, they average less than 3 years in the sport by the time they quit. Soccer has the lowest return rate of any sport in the US.

    While all this is happening, ZERO leadership is coming from the top on any strategic initiatives to develop more opportunities for kids, teens, young adults, and adults. I’ve been quite transparent about this for years, back in my college coaching days that US soccer is slipping as a whole — top-down and bottom-up.
     
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  7. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Dystopia
    And that's the good news! Wait until you hear the bad news.
     
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  8. Fish On

    Fish On Member

    Oct 22, 2016
    Club:
    AC Mantova
    Have to spend money to make money to give money (or something like that). There’s no money in soccer.
    -They need a TV deal like baseball. Baseballs contracts are absurd. When was the last time anyone watched a 9 inning baseball game yet they still have a shite ton of money in that boring sport.
    -MLS not televising draft is more on them and not college.
    -its an upper middle class sport. If little billy doesn’t like running anymore-he has options. Quit and get fat sounds better.
    - college admin will not move to full year as they would have to do that with ALL Olympic sports.

    It needs more MONEY at pro level. Baseball type money.
     
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  9. collegesoccer

    collegesoccer Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    The draft was one of the best events at the convention. Over 1,000 people attending... Very short sighted. Even if it is to do one round. You have the attention of the entire soccer coaching community, plus local fan clubs. In Baltimore this year it would be DC United, Phila Union, Red Bull and maybe Miami/Nashville crew. The NFL and NBA realized what a big event it was. The MLS followed but now too cool to host it whether it is insignificant or not. FWIW, the MLS Rookie of the year usually comes from that draft group and not homegrown (age probably has something to do with it)
     
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  10. staffstaff

    staffstaff Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Club:
    AC Milan
    A year-long calendar and spring championship will be the end of D-I college soccer. Think people don’t care about the sport now, it’s about to get worse! As soon as mid-major AD/administrations get hit with the additional costs, and stretched support staff and facilities, you will be seeing all the club level men’s lax programs gaining NCAA status, and men’s soccer being moved to the club level. Don’t think as a soccer person, think as an AD that already looks at soccer as a waste of budget money! I am also hearing that there is a push for athletic aid to non Americans being halted at state institutions. Apparently certain Division II state schools have no Americans receiving athletic money. Two examples of the concern will be playing in the D-II finals. Tax payers have concerns as to why some of those dollars aren’t being used on a percentage of in-state athletes, or simply even an American citizen from any state. Changes are coming.
     
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  11. Terrier1966

    Terrier1966 Member

    Nov 19, 2016
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    So, I figured you were exaggerating a bit... but Charleston has 1 player listing a US origin, a senior, he played in 7 games for a total of 110 minutes

    Last year they had 2 other players, both freshmen, who are no longer on the roster.

    I can understand that raising some questions.

    Seems lacrosse is a big competitor to soccer...it has the “hip new sport” thing that soccer used to enjoy, it has the appearance of more scholarships (I don’t know how many) and the college roster has 100 players so your kid can “play college lacrosse”.
     
  12. RusskyHoya

    RusskyHoya New Member

    DC United
    United States
    Dec 15, 2019
    The University of Charleston is a private institution, so no taxpayer money is implicated in athletic scholarships for their players, whether they are West Virginians, US persons more broadly, or otherwise.
     
  13. SBZipfan

    SBZipfan Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I dunno about lax being the hip new thing. Attendance at the lacrosse final four (held over Memorial Day weekend, with DI semis on Saturday, DII and DIII championships on Sunday, and DI championship on Monday) has been declining year by year ever since it peaked in 2007. And lax has 1/3 the number of DI teams as soccer. Growing at 1 or 2 new teams per year, it has a long way to go.

    Typical high-level DI lax roster is ~45, compared to ~30 for soccer. E.g., Virginia, last year's NCAA lax champ and this year's College Cup finalist:

    https://virginiasports.com/sports/mens-lacrosse/roster/2019
    https://virginiasports.com/sports/mens-soccer/roster/2019

    Nearly all lax players are Americans though, so there is that.
     
  14. espola

    espola Member+

    Feb 12, 2006
    It's the original American game. There is an subtle effort down here to get the local Indian Reservations to build lacrosse fields (which, coincidentally, are just the right size for soccer fields),
     
  15. Terrier1966

    Terrier1966 Member

    Nov 19, 2016
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    #15 Terrier1966, Dec 15, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    Lacrosse participation is up 300% 2001-2017.

    Parental focus on scholarships is misguided, in all youth sports...if you talk to lacrosse parents at big clubs or prep schools it is a significant ambition.
     
  16. SBZipfan

    SBZipfan Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Santa Barbara, CA
    And still smaller by a factor of 8 when compared to soccer participation.
    https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/kids-sports-participation-rates

    I completely agree.
     
  17. Terrier1966

    Terrier1966 Member

    Nov 19, 2016
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    The conversation was about the reduction in soccer participation...that is a relative argument.

    The fact lacrosse participation has increased by several hundred thousand players is a factor in the reduction.

    Nobody said it was bigger.
     
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  18. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Dystopia
    A pretty obvious symptom is that most posters here are talking about lacrosse.

    Edit: D'oh!
     
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  19. stphnsn

    stphnsn Member+

    Jan 30, 2009
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It starts and ends with youth participation. Youth participation is driven by culture. Generally speaking, the US does not have an ingrained soccer culture.
     
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  20. collegesoccer

    collegesoccer Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Yesterday was a wonderful display of soccer by both teams. A fantastic game in which, unfortunately, someone had to lose. Exciting for all 110 minutes plus PKs. College soccer may have its problems but yesterday's match was not one of them... Congrats to both Georgetown and Virginia for a great exhibition of what is possible in college soccer.
     
  21. espola

    espola Member+

    Feb 12, 2006
    There are pockets of "ingrained soccer culture" but it seems to be a policy of USSF and USYSA to ignore them.
     
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  22. MySonsPlay

    MySonsPlay Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Oct 10, 2017
    Yet we are only one year removed from West Chester University (PA) playing for a DII national championship with a roster of players who all lived within a 90 minute car rife from campus.
     
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  23. staffstaff

    staffstaff Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Club:
    AC Milan
    #23 staffstaff, Dec 16, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    There is a soccer culture in the USA. But there is also now a lack of simplicity surrounding the sport. Soccer is stressful on parents. Parents have choices too.

    Parents take their kids to soccer because their kids like playing soccer, but if it was another sport, they would take them there too. I coach at a DA program, and also work closely with an MLS DA program. The MLS DA offers programming for young players; pre-academy. It is implied, or highly suggested to the parents, that these young kids participate in the MLS DA programming in order to stay in contention for making it to the DA team. The MLS DA training facility is a distance away from where most players live, with many kids traveling from out of state just to attend these programs. The stress in terms of the travel is extreme! I know this, because I coach within the pre-academy program and it’s terrible getting to training, and I have no doubt it’s the case in most cities that offer DA. These kids also continue to train with their club teams.

    At my club, for many of our young players, 8U to 13U, they are training 2 to 3 times and week, lots of travel for games, and some away weekends, plus tournaments. We have 8U to 13U traveling as long as 2 hours for a game that has 2x25min halves. In many cases the parents are young. They aren’t established in their careers, and often have additional young children at home. Very stressful on young families! The parents are paying a lot of money to play. At the DA , training 3 to 4 times a week, and have games or training on the weekends. We have to spend a good number of weekends in hotels. It is also difficult to get to training because of traffic, very stressful. The parents are also paying to play at the club. Our afternoon training starts around 4pm for our U18/19 teams since they can drive from school to our training. Our players that can’t drive have sessions at 6:30pm or 8:00pm. This means our 13U to 17U are leaving the facility around 10pm a couple times a week. Many of our players live an hour away from the fields, some longer. The cost, travel and overall time commitment is stressful for the parents, and players. This is the case at most DA and ECNL clubs. Remember, it is not just a fall season, it is from late July to June. The parents make it all happen.

    Some will argue, but in most cases, this is not how the majority of lacrosse programs function. Lacrosse is more localized, practice is within, or close, to the school district where families live. Lower cost public facilities are often used, they have parent or volunteer coaches, and fewer paid coaches. Travel for games and practice is way less! Practice is local, twice a week, games are within a reasonable distance, and summers are off! In many places, lacrosse is way less in terms of the time commitment. There is no big goal on the world stage.

    Parents work hard, and the travel involved in getting their kids to soccer is a second job. Not to mention it must be tough with the other kids in the family, and challenging for couples to have a normal relationship, even cut the grass. My point, soccer has become very stressful since 2005 or so, and parents are looking for other activities with a more reasonable time commitment. Parents are the ones that channel and guide their kids in sports. When it is time to choose a sport, and become sport specific, in my opinion, they are now making thoughtful choices in terms of sport selection for their kids. Sports shouldn’t negatively impact a family. My prediction is that more families will choose not to play soccer. Young people born 1988 to 1994 are getting married and starting families. This is the age where soccer specialization started, and these young people were training 3-4 times a week with lots of travel. Will they want that for their own kids? Do they want to repeat what they had to do as kids?

    IMO, the overall game of soccer is better. The DA and ECNL have helped to make the game better. But I think we have lost many people in the process of making the game better. So much soccer should be played on a local level without giving up quality. Also, we have put so much into the levels of the game, that if kids don't make the highest level right away, they quit and move on to a different sport. You don't make DA or ECNL at a young age, just move on to lax. All levels should be given value. This is also a big problem to me.

    Reduce the stress on parents, and they will come back to the game, because the game is beautiful.
     
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  24. espola

    espola Member+

    Feb 12, 2006
    The administration of the boys DA program has been so inept that is good defense against those who would call it a fraud. "We're not crooks - we just don't know what we are doing."
     
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  25. staffstaff

    staffstaff Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Club:
    AC Milan
    #25 staffstaff, Dec 16, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    West Chester University certainly did well last season, and should always be competitive, since it is the nicest and most reasonable priced state school in Pennsylvania (PSAC). With many boys playing soccer in the Eastern PA area, and limited soccer scholarship opportunities elsewhere, WCU should always make it to the NCAA tournament and making it to the tournament always gives you a chance. But put any of the PSAC schools in the Sunshine State, Peach Belt or Mountain East Conference, and they never see the NCAA tournament. Please correct me if I am wrong, but Cal State Dominguez may have been the only team to win a D-II national championship with some American players back in 2008. Most D-II rosters look like the teams that played in this years Final Four. D-II would be better off looking like West Chester University, or Grand Valley on the women's side. Our kids should be able to play college soccer and what is going on now isn't good for the sport in the USA.
     
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