Sad Developments in Men’s Soccer

Posted: February 18, 2013 in South Dakota Soccer
Tags: , , ,

Recently our state has gone through a few milestones in growing the beautiful game, and we’ve taken a few setbacks.

In 2012 the South Dakota school activities association became the last state to to finally implement a sanctioned season for high school soccer.  It’s been an issue I’ve watched closely since I came to the state five years ago.  It was a big step for the state activities association to sanction the sport three years ago, however it has caused a momentary break in the progress of soccer in the state.  Only a third of the high school club programs switched over to school sponsored programs, leaving the state high school teams divided into two leagues, and three classifications.  The state is divided on which school districts are willing to finance the future of high school soccer.  At a time when more communities are sponsoring and supporting the sport of soccer the state is at risk of losing half of their high school teams once club sponsored teams are not allowed to compete in the fall season.

The development of collegiate soccer has been a roller coaster itself.  The state has seen a number of college programs started and closed over the years.  National American University discontinued men’s and women’s soccer after the 2001 season, and Huron University closed, taking the men’s and women’s soccer programs to Dakota Wesleyan University in 2005.  In 2012 the state of South Dakota saw SD Mines and Technology introduce men’s soccer bringing the total of men’s soccer programs back to five.

Then the sad turn of events at the University of Sioux Falls saw that number drop back down to four, while the number of women’s teams maintained at eight.  It’s been an up and down battle for soccer, and the trend for collegiate programs is simply keeping steady, never really gaining ground, but not losing ground either.

The state has also seen a Premier Development League franchise come and go.  The Spitfire had a good run for their first two seasons qualifying for the national final four, but were forced to close after seven years in the USL.

It’s hard to see growth in the youth game when there are such limited opportunities for players at the senior levels.  But a lot of it comes down to a lack of support from school administrations and the soccer community.

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Comments
  1. Troy says:

    I would like some more education on this subject so I know how to help more in my own community. Any suggestions?

    • Coach T says:

      Not sure what kind of information you’re looking for, but I think the biggest thing is helping the youth who are involved in soccer become fans of the game. I’ve tried very hard to have the local youth players and parents of the kids I coach become fans. We have “Youth Soccer Saturdays” to try and draw the young players to the college games. We’ve taken groups to semi-professional games in the area and US Men’s National Team games. Any opportunity I can get to help the players I coach fall in love with the sport and support its growth here in the USA. I test my players on MLS scores and USMNT/ USWNT results when there are games on TV to try and get them to watch more.

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