Something Gained . . . and Something Lost
The New York Times ran an article last March about the "new model" for soccer in the United States, and as a coach I have been seeing this idea slowly being implemented in New Jersey . . . essentially, the United States Soccer Association wants to "uncouple high school soccer and the training of top youth players," and so these potential stars will not have the option to play for their town in the fall, instead these players must train and play year-round on regional Development Academy teams . . . so a good player essentially has to choose whether he will play for his school, or play on an elite team (and he also has to choose soccer as his only sport . . . no lacrosse or tennis or golf in the spring . . . no hoops in the winter . . . it's got to be soccer, soccer, soccer) and while this may help us compete with Brazil, Argentina, and Germany on the world stage, and while this may be good for the highest level of U.S. soccer, it's not going to be particularly good for acquiring a girlfriend . . . which is what playing high school sports is all about . . . because you're never going to impress a girl by explaining to them that you play on a Development Academy team-- a team that plays games in some faraway place against some other abstract Development Academy Team . . . most high school kids can't even communicate with the opposite sex well enough to ask someone on a date, let alone explain that nonsense . . . so while our soccer skills may increase, and while these players will certainly be able to focus completely on soccer -- because they won't have any girlfriends -- there is something terrible being lost here (and it's certainly not anyone's virginity).