My BSG will be starting High School in the Fall (sob!), but as she is on the younger side of her age group, many of her teammates are already playing HS Soccer this season. It’s a strange year for our U14 team as only 5 girls are not in High School so it’s been a very nice break for BSG…the first long break she’s had in many years. Our Middle School actually plays in a competitive “league” with other middle schools in the area, and although LSG is super excited to be playing on that team, BSG decided that she would rather not play. The picture above is from the last middle school away game- pretty nice view from the bleachers, huh?
Amongst high level club soccer players, there is a debate raging about playing High School soccer. Boys on Academy teams are forbidden from playing HS soccer and ECNL on the girls’ side is entering the discussion as well. As I don’t yet have a High Schooler, all my information is second hand, but here are some of the arguments I’ve heard and read for and against playing HS soccer…
-It’s fun to represent your school and play with friends
-It’s a well needed break from the pressure of club soccer
-Removing high level club players from HS teams brings the overall level down and is discriminatory against players who don’t/can’t play club
-Players get injured
-Level of play is lower and hinders development
-It interrupts the flow of the club season
-Club coaches as HS coaches are biased against players not from their team/club
The most common argument that I hear against HS Soccer is that since the level of play is lower, high level players are targeted by opposing teams and the risk of injury is high. Several girls in our area are on US National teams and they are all playing HS- and at great risk for injury. I’ve heard numerous stories of injuries this year at all levels- Varsity, Jr Varsity and Frosh/Soph. I know several club girls that are considering running track or cross country next year and keeping soccer just for club.
On the flip side, it can be so much fun to play for your school! Most club games have only parents cheering on the sidelines, but many HS games have bleachers filled with supporters, cheerleaders and even reporters from the local newspaper. Teams gather for team dinners and ride the bus together for away games. Being a part of something can make or break a high school experience and decent grades are a team requirement.
BSG already signed her name on the interest list for HS soccer, so by this time next year I should have some first hand knowledge. Do your kids play HS Soccer? What’s been your experience??