The 32-year streak of growth in high school soccer may come to an end soon, and the National Federation of State High School Associations blames an "unfortunate ruling" by U.S. Soccer for that.In a recently released document
, the NFHS laments the fact that the change to a 10-month training program will force thousands of players to choose between playing for their high school team or Olympic Development Programs. Previous arrangements allowed players to spend the fall season with their prep teams (assuming the state played in the fall) and then play for club teams at other times of the year.
"U.S. Soccer is trying to adopt the year-round, sell-yourself-out approach that exists in the majority of countries in the world. ... U.S. Soccer’s desire is to prepare players to compete against the best
clubs and international teams around the world. It is preposterous,
however, to think that having these elite players for another two to
three months is the answer and will close the gap between the United
States and soccer powers from other nations."
Furthermore, "While the number of boys involved in these programs is small –
approximately 4,000 of 400,000 – it is unfair for these individuals to
have to make a choice. But if any of these 4,000 elite players have any
hopes or desire to play professional soccer or to be selected for the
Olympic team, they are being told that path cannot include playing on
their high school team. That is wrong."
The change in schedule has been a contentious point in the soccer community, but it is undeniable that the United States can perform better on the worldwide stage.
What do you think? Is the NFHS just in its criticism? Is U.S. Soccer making the right choice? Comment below to let us know.