Almost exactly two years ago I wrote the post High School Soccer- Yes or No and it’s been one of my most popular posts. At the time of writing the article BSG was in eighth grade and just starting to look into High School soccer. Two years later she’s played two seasons and most of the things that we expected have held true.
BSG’s High School has a strong girls soccer program with mostly all club girls and all club coaches. I know that this might not be the norm for many high schools, so our experience could be a bit different. The program is organized and well run with weekly emails sent to parents with scheduling information. There are three levels of play- Frosh/Soph, JV and Varsity and each team has at least 20 girls.
Next year will be a big change for the girls High School programs in many areas due to the advent of the US Development Academy for Girls restriction on High School play. You can read about the Development Academy in these articles: US Soccer Development Academy for Girls, Development Academy for Girls, Academy Update, and Timing is Everything. Officially girls are allowed to still play High School, but there is no High School break in Academy play so girls would be in jeopardy of losing their spots. (CIF rules don’t allow girls or boys to play club and high school at the same time- most leagues take a high school break, but the DA doesn’t) I don’t think that will be a common practice except for possibly some of the very top players, or players who are have already committed to play in college and want to enjoy the High School experience.
Here’s what I’ve seen and heard as the pros and cons of High School soccer. Not all have applied to my girl, but many have.
- Social interaction (finding your “place” at a big school, team dinners, riding the bus, hanging with friends etc)
- Break from club soccer (not as stressful, limited weekend games)
- Being cheered on by other students (how often do friends come to a club game??)
- Being recognized in the local paper and at school
- Representing your school and playing against girls that you know from club
- Increased opportunity for injury (daily practices, multiple games, substandard fields, lower level of play)
- Time away from homework/studies (later games and taking the bus can make for some very long days)
- Fragments the club season
- Different style of coaching/play
- Possible politics with club coaches
- Disorganized programs with limited communication
I think the key words in all of this are “enjoy” and “fun.” If your kid isn’t necessarily super serious about soccer (and injuries or not they won’t be playing at Stanford), high school sports in general are great way to make friends, support your school and stay in shape.
Overall it’s been a positive experience for BSG and a part of her social life at school. That being said, she’s considering not playing at school next year in order to make more room in her schedule for a class she wants to take. It’s all about choices, right? LSG is now in 8th grade and faced with her own choices. I’ll keep you posted what they decide to do…
What has been your experience with High School soccer?