I wrote a story for Tuesday’s paper that explored the new, level playing field among boys soccer teams in Washington this season.
Because academy players — kids who play for Crossfire Premier and Sounders Academy — can’t turn out for their high school teams because of a new U.S. Soccer-mandated rule, the postseason is wide open this year.
“In talking to my coaching friends, it is having an impact,” Puyallup coach Matt White said. “Teams are significantly more equal.”
It’s also widened the rift between high school and academy teams. High school coaches already feel looked down upon by club coaches and this reinforces that feeling. And clubs resent the media coverage high school teams receive.
From U.S. Soccer’s perspective, providing consistent training for the best players in the country is a no-brainer. Instead of playing for an academy team, ODP team, high school team and possibly other teams, the best players will receive instruction from one coaching staff. Their progress can be measured and monitored. The goal, obviously, is to develop players that can compete at the highest of international levels.
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