Changes to College Soccer Would Be Detrimental

Posted: November 28, 2011 in US Soccer
Tags: , ,

This article addresses the proposal the NCAA is making to do away with the five spring developmental matches that are currently allowed in Division I soccer.  As it stands we are facing a major shift in the development of soccer players in the United States with the introduction of the US Academy system.  Players are already giving up high school soccer and traditional club soccer for the pursuit of the being seen to sign a professional contract or consideration for a national youth team.

The NCAA should be considering moving soccer to a split season format, not decreasing the number of matches even further.  As it stands D1 schools are allowed only 20 matches in the fall championship season, and five developmental games in the spring.  These 25 matches make up one of the shortest seasons in college sports.  While our international counter parts are getting 10 months of soccer training and matches to develop top performers our kids will get a four year degree, but be limited to five months of competition and training in a structured environment.

What the NCAA is proposing is going to make it harder to sell kids on the benefits of pursuing a degree while also pursuing the dream of playing soccer at a higher level.  More kids have already given up playing high school soccer to be a part of the US Academy system.  Players in this system are already being molded to think more about pursuing a professional playing career immediately out of high school rather than pursuing an education.  For most of these players they might spend some time on a developmental club or in a lower division professional team, come out at age 20-24 without any higher education and try to figure out what to do next.

Instead the NCAA should be working with USSF to figure out how we can accomplish the task of developing young talent best for the professional and international game, while still promoting the importance of a college degree.  If this proposal passes (and there is already a proposal for the NCAA to decrease the number of fall matches to 18) than the other divisions and college leagues will probably follow.  Division II soccer will eliminate their dates of competition in the spring, and the NAIA will eliminate theirs as well.  Then we will see more and more kids opting to skip college and try their hand at a professional career instead.  Right now the talent pool in college soccer is still very high and considered a good source for our professional league, but with this new rule we will see college soccer become a second-class citizen to the semi-professional teams that are in and out of leagues annually.  We need to do what is best for the development of soccer and the development of productive young men and women for our society.

  1. ponchat says:

    I saw this awhile back, since I am at an NCAA school…I try to keep up with these things. If the NCAA couldn’t get ANY more stupid, they release this info:

    Basically, it is saying the APR score was raised from a 925 to a 930. So, if a team has an APR of below 930, they face discipline. These APR scores affect DI football and basketball mainly. So, what does this 930 score mean? It means you graduate 50 PERCENT of your student athletes?! They think that’s a good precedent to set? That is baffling. They think that schools should be able to achieve that?! DUH!!!

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