Eddie Johnson on the state of youth soccer

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by upper left, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    [/QUOTE]

    I'm seeing club baseball, basketball (primarily AAU) and lacrosse grow by me. Main difference from soccer is that they don't really start up before 4th grade and kids generally don't move into it until 5th/6th grade. Same cost structure and commitment as club soccer. Perhaps we'd be better served if club soccer had a similar timeline rather than tryouts and team placements in 1st/2nd grade. I don't see that happening, though. The perception that you "need" professional coaching in soccer from the earliest ages isn't going to be broken anytime soon.
     
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  2. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Club baseball has gotten a lot bigger in the last 5-10 years. AAU basketball has been big for years. Lacrosse, of course, is still continuing to grow.

    I cannot speak for all groups, but from everyone I've talked to about AAU basketball those coaches don't get paid. Now, I do believe the top-level AAU groups will be paying their coaches good-to-great money depending on the prestige of the AAU team(s). But, there are tons of AAU teams out there too. I can't speak to knowledge of anything with club baseball or lacrosse, as I know no one who does either.

    I haven't said it in this thread yet, but I've said it elsewhere, but...I have ZERO issues with reasonable fees. I don't expect anyone to get anything free. It's amazing if there are sponsors or donors who help offset costs to make the sports affordable, but nothing is free to run. I have no problem paying for coaching, but I know what is reasonable and what is not. We pay a hefty fee for swim lessons for our 3 kids, but it's not to make them Olympic gold medalists...it's so they don't die.

    Reasonable expectations and reasonable fees are completely acceptable. Some things are easier than others to learn, teach, and develop. Sure, it's easier to go to a basketball court to shoot some hoops than it is to go to a pool to learn swimming, so I expect swimming to cost a little more. Gymnastics or ice hockey? Yes, those will (and should) cost more than soccer. Facility space and proper equipment is necessary in learning sports.

    My point remains: if parents and players continue to spend their only time with a sport DURING the official training and match times, you WILL continue struggling. More time is needed. And, everyone can make that time happen on their own.
     
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  3. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Aggregate numbers don't necessarily tell the tale...

    By removing and segregating the best players (theoretically) from soccer by High School, you kill the sport in terms grassroots popularity… I love BB’s comment that they “vanish into DA” I would argue that one of the main and subtlety powerful reasons sports like Football, Baseball, and Basketball enjoy such tremendous grassroots popularity, which DRIVES all overall popularity of those sports, all the way to the pros, is because those sports maintain a level playing field, where everyone, everywhere has a chance or opportunity to move to the next level, be that college or the pros…big school, small school, urban, rural, rich or dirt poor; it doesn’t matter…yes, it’s still a slim chance, and maybe even be just an illusion in many cases, but Soccer don’t even pretend to maintain that illusion…everyone knows high school and college soccer is a dead end; US Soccer and MLS doesn’t even pretend to give a crap about it…

    When watching almost, any given high school or college football, baseball or basketball game, you could very well could be watching a future Heisman trophy winner, super bowl MVP, NBA All-star or Hall of Fame inductee…not to mention your run of the mill future D1 and pro players…nobody, with half a clue, thinks that when watching HS or college soccer…
     
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  4. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    But the parents who are coaching basketball, football, and baseball more than likely PLAYED the sport when they were younger. I'm about to hit 50 and I remember playing "Wildcat" baseball before I turned 10. Assuming I had continued playing (I think I stopped at ~12), even just through HS, I'd have some knowledge on how to coach.

    Yes, I know there was soccer 40+ years ago, but it was not wide spread. It's going to take generationS to change that around.

    As others have said, it's also a case of numbers. DS played on a travel basketball team for one season. There were no leagues, we just went to tournaments. I think the furthest we went was an hour, maybe 90 minutes. Most games were within 30 minutes. Fielding a team in basketball requires at least 8 players, and you probably get 10-12 on a team. Try being competitive in soccer (playing 11v11) with 12 players.

    To the people who say "you shouldn't pay that much", I say "then don't sign your kid up for that club".

    As far as "research" for college in lieu of going to showcases, please tell me what to do... my DS wants to play in college. However, he does not know what he wants to study, doesn't really care (location wise) where he goes to college, and isn't really concerned about the size of the school. So what research should I suggest he do? He's gone to a couple of camps (from D1 to NAIA), but what's the next step?
     
  5. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It takes generations to change when people rely on others to make the change happen. Just look at lacrosse right now, it happened in a few short years.

    There's a lot of those parent coaches of other sports who "played" who still accomplish MORE than these paid youth soccer coaches. A lot of youth coaching just is about being a good person, making it fun, getting kids to play and play and play, and retaining them. Right now, none of that is currently happening.

    Who says it has to be 11v11? A friend of mine is getting ready to start a 3v3 youth soccer league in his community. It'll replace a youth league that's in shambles. He knows it's about playing. Low-entry fee. Kids get tons of touches on the ball. They play, learn, and socialize.

    Not many people grew up in a smaller community than me, and we were able to survive in a town league that had less than 300 kids in the whole league!

    Start looking. Start contacting. I could lay out all the steps for you, as I have for MANY parents. They still think that a blind showcase will reward their kid with a scholarship that pays everything. Delusional. It's not a complicated process, honestly.
     
  6. Iniesta62106

    Iniesta62106 Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    My kid has grown up in a house where soccer is a big deal. We do all these things you suggest and she puts in time every single day. It makes for a lot of fun, a love for the game, and a lot of broken crap in my house. But at the end of the day, you need fierce competition to refine all that and for that competition you need either a critical mass of like minded people or you need to pay and take part in the system. You can’t get it in Rec leagues.

    It will take generations for a grassroots movement to take hold. Maybe that is what needs to happen for American Soccer. But ultimately my kid will go to college in not that long and she wants to play there, and I don’t see a realistic path outside the system.

    As to the costs. . . piano lessons will set you back about $1500/year for 30 minutes a week. Exorbitant, given there is only one adult to pay and no field/equipment/uniform costs? That’s roughly 25 hours a year. . . we cover that in about 4-6 weeks of soccer. When I think about it in those terms it doesn’t seem as crazy to me. I don’t love it, but it doesn’t seem out of line.
     
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  7. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You go ask any college coaches about the club scene, they'll all say the same thing. It's currently lousy. There's no competition. DA is a bunch of robots. These kids already don't know how to compete.

    Yet, when it existed in the backyards, the streets, recess, etc. there was competition. It was fierce. There was no true difference between rec/club because the only thing that existed was whatever was local to your community. What is now known as "rec" was all there was and it was good enough! That's how the majority of basketball, football, and baseball is...why isn't it "good enough" for soccer?

    Was at the convention talking to tons of coaches last week. It's all the same. Same frustrations that have existed for 15+ years. This is a newer phenomenon. Championship coaches say recruiting domestic players is harder now than it was 15 years ago. They aren't as good. They don't know how to compete. They don't know how to win. There's no leadership. Why did it change? The club culture took over.

    I would imagine many of us grew up shooting hoops, passing a football, or throwing a baseball in our backyards with a parent and/or sibling(s). A lot of that is gone. Go to high schools, it's gone then. Go to college, where they have EVERYTHING a few steps away, and it's gone. Athletes just aren't working like they were less than a generation ago. Why does it take "generations" to build, yet it took less than a generation to crumble?
     
  8. Iniesta62106

    Iniesta62106 Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    I think it has to do with two income households and parents (often) having more money than time to give their kids. All kid activities have been “professionalized,” not just sports.

    How’s that for a can of worms? :)
     
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  9. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Let me play cynic…I wonder if trashing the club scene in such a matter, smooths the guilty and negative feedback these coaches have or get for filling their rosters full of foreigners…I get that these coaches have no other mandate but to win, but they also have to know they are doing soccer in the US no favors by recruiting all these foreigner…
     
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  10. GotSoccerIsDumb

    Fire
    United States
    May 30, 2019
    These whiny college coaches are the ones that are clamoring over DA players as evident by their attendance at the DA events. Fact is you'll see more internationals and/or lower quality players going to power 5 schools than ever as more and more top domestic players bypass college altogether.

    The college game in general is so aggravating anymore. These guys will take to Twitter and talk about changing to the 21st Century Model but decline it to their AD behind closed doors because of the additional costs that would take away from their fat annual salaries that only require 3.5 months of consistent work. Let it be the pathway for the student-athlete but lets not get too butthurt by its decline into irrelevancy for those on the pro path.
     
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  11. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I love this discussion, by the way!

    As a former college coach, I cannot say how they all feel or how they operate, but I know some of it. The "mandate to win" is overblown for the majority. Sure, no one wants to be bottom conference, but there's few pressures for the college soccer coaches to win. They have more pressure to do these things: recruit their numbers, retain players, keep kids out of trouble, and graduate numbers. Those four things carry more weight than winning at 90% of all college soccer programs.

    I also do know this much: recruiting internationals is easier than recruiting Americans. It has nothing to do with talent here. It has everything to do with international players will go ANYWHERE to play and to get their education done. As long as it fits in their budget, they are most likely going to go. Domestic players...wow, they need the luxuries of college. If your school doesn't have a country club, rock climbing wall, the right amount of students, slushy machine, etc. then they don't want to look at you.
     
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  12. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Weren’t you just bitching about lazy people? Regardless of the sport, recruiting players, selling yourself, your program and your college, is part of a coaches’ (or the staff’s) job…

    Given the low expectations, lack of popularity, and glut of marginal, readily available, talent, college soccer coach sounds like an cushy gig…;)

    But I do take your point…the stereotype of many US soccer players is probably well deserved…
     
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  13. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure that's how pickup soccer happens.

    Either there's a bunch of young people getting together on their own to play for fun without any adult supervision, or their isn't. You can certain try and facilitate informal games and kickarounds--I did a few of those myself, taking my son to pickup games I was invited to as an adult, signing him and some of his teammates up for an indoor tournament where the only "coaching" I did was to be the point of contact and manage substitutions so everybody got the same amount of playing time; stuff like that.

    But a true pickup/street soccer culture has to come from the kids, IMHO.
     
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  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I liked your post in general but this point in particular jumped out--did you see how many 3rd-round MLS picks were left on the table? I know there were plenty of D1 players in the mix, the teams just weren't interested.
     
  15. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Umm...it's not how the "culture" works, but it's better than what exists right now. A lot of the parents had the pick-up culture growing up, so they can bring it back with their kids. I know a few areas trying to get this street soccer going, and it can start from any group of people actually, you know...starting it.

    The SuperDraft has to go away. 27 picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds were "PASS." They are just making a mockery of the system anymore. Sucks for the players involved, led along being lied to.
     
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  16. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have no idea why you're choosing to be condescending.

    I already explained what I did to try and foster pickup soccer in my community; I can't count how many times I gave my son a ride to and/or from a park or indoor facility before he was old enough to drive.

    And it's pretty widely discussed that fewer children today engage in ad hoc, unsupervised pickup games in any sport. I didn't invent the problem. I was just discussing it.
     
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  17. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Its sorta seems like USL-2 is selling a pipe dream to a lot of players.
     
  18. GotSoccerIsDumb

    Fire
    United States
    May 30, 2019
    I don't think that is their intent, but I see how someone could reach this conclusion. Speaking from experience USL-2, formerly PDL, was a great opportunity for college age players to continue to train and play outside of their very short college season sometimes with better players and coaches than their college team. With the Open Cup starting earlier now many of those USL-2 clubs will be without those college guys for the first round, essentially a death sentence for many of them. All pretty much irrelevant if by some miracle the 21st Century Model comes thru. That could mean the end of USL-2 altogether.
     
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  19. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, they throw the "Path2Pro" hashtag around a lot.

    I don't think it's a particularly awful thing, mind you, and college players are adults who are responsible for figuring things out for themselves. My son played a season of PDL a few years ago and it was an OK experience.
     
  20. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
  21. GotSoccerIsDumb

    Fire
    United States
    May 30, 2019
    This is the 21st Century Model. Google "21st century model soccer" for some good reading.
     

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