For a while now it’s been perceived the best players are those playing in the most tournaments and in the highest playing brackets, but that’s not necessarily true, and is an unfortunate stigma. Players who are allowed to be creative and make mistakes will not always be on winning teams, the development and winning philosophy cannot co-exist. A team continually developing it’s players will have player rotation and will allow the players to play with risk and make their own decisions.
The following is taken from the iSoccerPath segment, ‘Ask the Coach’.
My son wants to play in the academy, however it’s about a 90 minute drive each way and I am worried his grades will suffer. He plays in our local club and does very well but some of his friends are going to the academy. Can you advise us on if it’s worth it? Do all academy players get college scholarships? If you play in the local club does that mean you can’t get a college spot?”
Our answer this week comes courtesy of Kelly Findley, Associate Head Coach of Davidson College Men’s Soccer Team:
“Let’s start with the last couple of questions and work our way backwards.
A player from any club of any level can earn a spot on a college roster. Which roster a player can make is always dependent on the quality of the player and the college program, and not which club/academy team they play for. This would also go for players that play on academy teams. All academy players do not get college scholarships or play in college.
Playing in the academy may create more exposure, that is playing in front of college coaches more regularly due to the events academy teams participate in, but it does not guarantee anything. Coaches look for players that can help the program on the field, have the grades and test scores to gain admission and have the character to have a positive impact on the programs culture.
One very important aspect is development. Some teams, coaches and clubs are more focused on winning than player and personal development. When college coaches are recruiting potential players, they are projecting and investing in what the player will develop into, not the players current level of play.
The most important thing is to find an environment where aspiring college soccer players can get coaching focused on development, play in meaningful games and train regularly at a high level. If you can find that, you have found the right place to play, whether it is academy or club.”
Associate Head Coach/Recruiting