Wednesday, September 25, 2013

U14G - U14 Girls Youth Soccer

This page is focused on Under 14 girls youth soccer in Region 1. Everyone says this is the 'nice" age group both internally and externally. Stay tuned.


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Anonymous said...

I doubt this rumor is true. It sounds like people trying to create issues where there is none. There is no place for these rumors. Kind of like the PDA guy who says, I heard this team is falling apart.

Anonymous said...

Question: How many top level ECNL teams are attempting to play ECNL, NPL, and State Cup including Premiere/National League?

Anonymous said...

Why is it parents are always trying to change the team their kid is on from within? Put your kid in an evironment where you trust the coach to look out for your child's best interest, that you can afford without griping about cost, and where you can get along for the most part with the other parents. If you dont find that match, move on with your mouth shut. PDA produces quality players at the highest levels. So does Bethesda in my neck of the woods. There are many other teams in the region that this blog covers that do so as well. If your daughter can't make the "A" team for some reason don't fill her head with excuses like "the coach plays favorites" or "the other parents felt threatened by you". Will do nothing to help them deal with disappointment as adults. Every player has their level and they (and their parents) should recognize what it is. Play for the love of the game, not some mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If the WNT, tuition assistance, or a pro contract is in your daughter's future, it will be there no matter whether she wears the powder blue or not. If you don't like the ECNL model or a tiered club or a town team, don't play for them. Find a home for your kid that works for them and be happy. Love soccer.
IF from MD

Anonymous said...

I think you have an overly simplistic premise, that if you are unhappy with your situation go find a different situation elsewhere. For sure on the US Club Soccer through the ECNL and NPL have narrowed the pool of opportunities for kids. I think that is a very worthwhile debate. 3 or 4 years ago you had a better environment for all teams having the opportunity to compete. TR and Freehold were very good examples of high quality town teams that were very competitive. Their circumstances have changed for many reasons, but going forward those teams will have very little opportunities to prove their worth agains a Gunners type team and I think that's a shame. Also, in the past environment, if you were not located near an ECNL club you still had ample opportunities to play against those teams. I have been through several kids through youth soccer, and if you have watched over 5-7 years it is clear that there are very closed systems of competition where other teams cannot show themselves even if they have earned it. I'll give you 3 opinions of what's wrong with the current structure. NEFC is an NPL club that is the best NPL team in the region but do not have an ECNL club. Because they have been fairly dominant at the NPL level. Second, I will bet you that PDA does not play in the NJ Cup anymore because it is embarrassing and not inline with their objectives when an NPL team loses to a local town team that had lost quite a few players to an ECNL club the year before. Third, I have heard directly from a few coaches that they want to get away from playing town teams because they do not want to compete against teams that play bad soccer.

Maybe the pendulum will swing back, but the debate over what what US Club Soccer high level teams are doing for competition through closed systems is a very good debate to have regarding the state of youth soccer.

Anonymous said...

I think ABGC and FC VA may be trying to do that. I don't think any of the PA teams do it. I don't think PDA does it. CFC might.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for Virginia or CT., but I believe quite the contrary. PDA has been narrowing down for the last several years the competition. There are very limited times where PDA is not playing "elite" versus "elite." It is clear from the DOCs team discussions where he wants to take the club and who he wants to be playing.

Anonymous said...

I like the US Club Soccer debate. I don't think there is nothing wrong with it - they are trying to do something the USSF should be doing creating a pyramid for our kids. I agree there is a level for every player. As the player gets better she can move up the pyramid. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion it's healthy for the player. It will be obvious when the player is ready for the next level on the pyramid.

Tier 1 = ECNL
Tier 2 = NPL
Tier 3 = PL
Tier 4 = Travel
Tier 5 = Rec.

It's simple. ECNL and NPL clubs try to follow the DA standards, so I'm okay with those being closed leagues since not every club likes to play by the rules.

PL and Travel leagues can have pro/rel between them to make sure your strong town teams play strong non-ecnl/npl teams in league play. Nothing wrong with that.

I don't understand why some parents want their kids team to play ECNL teams? If you want your kid at that level tryout for an ECNL club.

PS. It's not a closed system - it's the same system our pros have.

Tier 1 - NWSL
Tier 2 - W-League
Tier 3 - WPSL (i think it's actually tier 2).

This is a closed structure as well.

I agree with you that an open system is the way to go and US Club Soccer is trying to do that for their PL and Travel Leagues.

If your kid's team doesn't follow the DA standards why should they be allowed in.

Do you think a village team in Europe will be allowed to be promoted into top leagues and still play their games on their village field? If they can't they don't get promoted, you usually have a bigger club take it over to play in the league under their brand.

I think US Club Soccer is trying to do something right. But you have the money makers (not willing to give up their piece of the pie). SO you have a lot of dirt being thrown at ECNL and NPL, which is cool it's their opinion.

I just happen to like their model.

It's unfortunate that a team like PA strikers can never play ECNL teams. But they shouldn't be allowed to, all they care about is one age group - where the ECNL clubs care about the game at different ages. And yes people get payed for this as they should I don't expect anyone to do it for free or for peanuts.

PS. what's wrong TR and Freehold playing PA Strikers or PA Classics or any non ECNL/NPL team in a PL that leads to a national event to play other top teams?

Yeah, they prefer Region1 Premier and National League which is cool. What's the difference playing for a USYSA National Title or a PL National Title?

Give US Club Soccer a few more years (they said 10).

ECNL is only 4 years old
NPL is only 3 (2 for girls)
PL is only 2 years old I think.
Travel leagues just finished their 1st year.

Give them time to grow. Look at NYCSL taking over NY reducing ENYSA to rubble. They have Westechester, Long Island and the Cosmo joining them. So instead of 4 different leagues, they will all be ONE with a chance for pro/rel for the teams looking for that and the kids can always leave and look for the appropriate level.

I can see EDP making a power play in NJ also and bring in top teams from upstate NY, CT, PA, DE and MD

Give them (US Club Soccer) time - they are not half way through their 10 year plan.

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

The system is open for players but not for teams and for the kid who wants to stay with the same team that it has played for for some time and doesn't want to leave. Europe has open systems. There is promotion and relegation and there are open tournaments where teams Premier league teams play second division and third division teams. You describe a US pyramid but it is far from an open pyramid. No team earns a spot in the MSL or NWSL. The ECNL has a board made of of ECNL team heads with no independence so it will clearly be political who gets in and who doesn't rather than teams or clubs earning spots on merit. I posted a while on the crazy goal differentials you see in the NPL and ECNL leagues at all ages, teams and clubs have not earned elite status on merit. There have been a lot of articles posted on this website, a few by me, that point out that the pay-for-play system and the closed system of play as main drivers of why the US does not develop teams and players like you see globally.

To answer your question on the Village field, yes every year the bottom four teams in the Premier League get relegated and the top 4 teams get promoted even though they do not play at Anfield or Old Trafford. This happpens in 8 divisions

Since promotion and relegation happens every year in Europe, when was the last time a promoted team got taken over by a bigger brand, I don;t know of an example. Watch the FA Cup next year where teams from 8 leagues enter and watch some of the fields they play on. They do not separate out a Premier teams and everyone else and it is an honor for teams to play anyone from every league.

Anonymous said...

3:52 "PS. what's wrong TR and Freehold playing PA Strikers or PA Classics or any non ECNL/NPL team in a PL that leads to a national event to play other top teams?"

There is nothing wrong with the scenario you said except that if the ECNL is the elite of the elite, there is no National event mechanism fro TR or Freehold to earn a place to compete against the elite.

There is no doubt that there is a conscious effort by the ECNL and to a lesser extent the NPL to push kids to those clubs, and to limit the ability of smaller clubs to compete for kids. This is good for their clubs but I believe bad for US Soccer.

Anonymous said...

4:24 can TR or Freehold Boys play in the DA league? SO is the USSF limiting the ability of smaller clubs to play their Academy teams? They must be doing the same thing as the ECNL on the girls side? Why do you think? STANDARDS clubs have to meet certain standards to be accepted to the league. It's simple. These clubs don't meet those standards so why should they be allowed to play in that league?

4:18 I was talking Europe not just EPL but if you are more familiar with EPL I can talk EPL. Each EPL flight has certain standard that a team has to meet in order to be promoted, agreed. So what happens if the team doesn't meet those standards? Do they get promoted? So what does the 7-1 beating Brazil took at home in the World Cup do to that Event? Does it hurt it?

What were your suggestions to fix such an issue, did you see mine about college? With all that money these schools have for soccer.

Why don't the schools become the Club, so for example you don't have PDA you have Rutgers.
parents pay

2,500 at u9
2,500 at u10
2,500 at u11
2,500 at u12
2,500 at u13
2,500 at u14
2,500 at u15
2,500 at u16
2,500 at u17
2,500 at u18

So every parent pays 25k for their kids to play soccer. If the kids are talented, Rutgers can offer them a full ride , if the kids are done playing soccer they can have their tuition reduced by 25k and go to Rutgers or they can transfer to another school.

We have taken money out of the equation, all the money paid goes towards a college education. The talented ones learn and advance their game.

Tier 1 NWSL
Tier 2 W-League
Tier 3 WPSL
Tier 4 College
Tier 5 Youth Soccer.

There you go we just opened up soccer for everyone and helped parents reduce their tuitions when the time comes. DO you like? To radical?

Plus we scrap the draft - so pro teams buy the rights of the players from the school - the school makes even more money and will concentrate on developing players instead of winning and the teams that have money get good fast.

We can make the NWSL an open league D1
W-League becomes D2
WPSL becomes D3.

So you can have investors invest in a Tier 3 team buy some top talent from College and in 3 years they can be in the NWSL. It would work. At least in my mind it will, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Plus if we did this on the Boys side we would build global powers - the LA Galaxy will be an even bigger global brand.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak to the Boy's side because I am not familiar with with. There are many clubs that can meet standards that won't be considered by the ECNL. Yes I'd like to see a promotion and relegation type system, but recognizing how unrealistic that is in the current environment. There are fewer mechanisms for a high quality local teams or even academies to compete against the "elite" even if it wasn't agains the elite. Having played many a game in Freehold, there are actually quite a number of fields that meet or exceed what you see at a PDA or other "Elite" Clubs.

Whether EPL or Spain or other European Clubs. They all have promotion and relegation systems and they have tournaments that accept all comers from higher and lower divisions. I'd still like to see an example of a team from a lower division across Europe that was refused promotion due to Standards. I don't think standards will be as big an issue as you think they will be, but we should have some type of mechanism where teams that emerge as the best can compete with the best. That will not happen in the near term because that will require USYS and US CLub to work together. The only other place to accomplish this would be at large tournaments. We know entry into these tournaments at the high level is highly political and one hand washes the other there.

No the 7-1 beating of Brazil, it actually demonstrates the point that soccer is won on the field, simply because you put on a yellow jersey and play for Brazil does not make you elite.

So my solution is more open competitions, or a mandate that you at least have to play in the State Cup or NJ Cup process if you are a US Club or USYS team. Make it a mandate. and while you are at it, do not separate out the groups. Stagger the groups so the lower rated Cup winners get invited to the upper level Cup tournament. At least then you have one opportunity a year where every one competes in an open competition. Right now, a US Club team has no ability to prove they are better than an ECNL club, this would allow for it, like the FA Cup or Copa Del Rey.

I have no issue with your suggestion, but I think that NCAA rules would prohibit alignment with clubs.

Anonymous said...

I'm digging this last flurry of discussion.

In my mind it is clear that what is best for U.S. SOCCER and dU.S. Soccer development is and OPEN system like many have described above.

That IS NOT what you have here in the U.S.
If you don't know this you don't know anything.

"No the 7-1 beating of Brazil, it actually demonstrates the point that soccer is won on the field, simply because you put on a yellow jersey and play for Brazil does not make you elite. "

--------> exactly right.
And in the same way just because you play in "EIEIO" league does not make you an elite team.

I have personally watched a few ECNL matches (various age group). It is the same mixed bag that you find in most leagues. Some teams very capable of playing THE GAME, others capable but unwilling and those that are simply incapable of playing THE GAME.

I know of at least 3 teams, in the current U14G bracket that were not accepted into this past Spring's PDA tournament because of, and in order, 1) out-of-state clubs were bringing more teams in many age brackets and only came as a "take us all or take none of us" package, 2) Got Soccer point rankings. The same crap PDA parents complain about (Gunner are really #1 and who cares about Got Soccer Points)...well your own club used this as a deciding measurement. FACT

OK, so perhaps taking the out-of-state Club teams made for a better tournament financially speaking but at least 2 of the 3 town teams I know of shut out were quite capable of making waves and playing at or near the best of the competition.

NO DOUBT so many other clubs and their tournaments are guilty of the same. This mentality is widespread and very common. There is no governing body to prevent this. These 'top' clubs market themselves as such and work things in such a way that the average 'mom and dad' simply cannot refute what they see or are being told.

The MORE you look into how some of the 'better' club teams do, head-to-head with some of the 'top' Academy teams you will see the results are quite event. OK, perhaps just in my limited scope of NJ soccer, but my guess is that this may hold elsewhere as well.

I've posted links in the past and wish I and more time today to post more but there is A LOT of great soccer minds in the U.S. soccer developing some great ideas as to how we can get to where we need to be as a Soccer nation. Some of the ideas shared above resemble some of the ideas/programs these folks are working on. We can only hope such reorganizations can take place. It's what's best for ALL of our sons and daughters.


Anonymous said...

I have one recommendation for US Soccer that won't address the Open/Closed system question but would improve US Soccer and is free. On off season times of year (now), on non-training days, or any time that is sensible, find local fields where parents drop their kids off and leave and no one over the age of 18 is allowed to even watch and the kids just play, and it wouldn't have to be with kids all from the same team.

It will be tough to compete globally and develop great soccer players until kids just play to play. In my view, this is more critical that the small group training or 1-1 professional training people pay for or the additional speed and agility work people pay for.

Pick-up soccer is the answer to a lot the US's technical skills. It is the only place a player can practice, develop new skills, try new things without fear of reprisal, judgment, etc. Go ahead take a player on 1-1 with a new move you have been working on, you'll either impress your friends or take some friendly ribbing, but there will be no coach asking you to explain what you just did or a tense father staring his daughter down as if she just ruined her entire soccer career.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:59. This is a great idea & I wish it could be done. Only problem is...who would pay for it. Where I am there are insurance headaches. What if someone gets hurt, lawsuits, etc. The days of kids just playing in the park are long gone. I used to play dodgeball in school (unimaginable now)

Anonymous said...

3:52 - sorry a slight correction

Tier 1 = GotSoccer point junkies like ABGC Premiere in VA
Tier 2 = ECNL
Tier 3 = NPL
Tier 4 = PL
Tier 5 = Travel
Tier 6 = Rec.

Tier 1 is teams who just want to win as many national championships as possible (ECNL, NPL, Super Y, and USYS) even playing Super Y because you can get GotSoccer points for the finals.

Anonymous said...

Man have the times changed. I'm from the city and we would walk to the park and play or play on the corner (got expensive breaking to many windows). There was no insurance you got hurt you went to the doc, you had beef you danced. Now there is a lot of $$$ to be had. Change is a lot harder to make - unless you have the USSF put out a MUST DO, which they never will. They dropped the ball big time in my opinion with the NWSL. Should have just built on the WPSL ELite Division and make it an OPEN league as it is the girls get paid 6k if you are not a NT player or a big name.

Which is sad - we have youth soccer coaches making more money than MLS and NWSL players. Something wrong with that picture.

But it is what it is.

Have a good weekend All.

Anonymous said...


I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying. It would be nice to see a bunch of U8 to U12 kids playing on a local field because they love the game. When I was a kid we played football, basketball and baseball everyday after school at the local park. In the summer we lived at the park. I don't see many "pick up" games in any sport with the exception of basketball. My personal opinion why we don't see more of this is because youth sports have become so competitive and specialized. Club this, club that, personal trainers, camps etc. Who has time for a pick up game... Plus at U14 and up is there really an offseason? High school has already started conditioning and lifting in the summer. Our club team practices all year (one time a week during HS season)and 3 times during ECNL season + games. When I was a kid we never practiced like this at such a young age. Maybe now kids are just so saturated with training they don't feel the need to play more in a park, they're just trying to catch their breath. That said and back to your point I don't believe soccer has completely crossed over into our culture like some of the other sports have. Still in the process.

Anonymous said...

You are probably right and it is a shame that kids specialize so young. It's a shame that kids have little chance to play and practice without fear of judgment from parents or coaches. My guess is that kids would prefer the schoolyard play to all the extra stuff they do outside of their club activities - private, training, agility training, etc.

The other thing is that on the men's side, the MLS plays what is considered 2nd tier soccer and on the women's side the NWSL is in a few cities, in my opinion it is poorly marketed and I don't think you can find it on TV. NBC pays $80ml a year for the BPL while networks pay a total of $30 million for the MLS. There is clearly a lot less interest in home grown soccer. Kids have few stars to emulate and look up to in soccer that are American players. So kids have a few global players that every one hears about and maybe a couple of women's players that most kids watch play only when their is an Olympics or World Cup. We get all ec

Anonymous said...

How many of you guys are watching and supporting the NWSL today on ESP (right now)?? Very good game (8 goals). Cascadia blows us (the east coast) away when it comes to soccer. A decent crowd with very good supporters in Portland, Seattle is the same way. What do we get for a Sky Blue game 1k, 2k if we're lucky? Yeah, it's easy to say MLS and NWSL have no marketing. They shouldn't need to, we have kids that love this game we should find it and support. I love MLS it's getting better I bought MSL live and would do the same if NWSL had one package. That's my way of supporting US Soccer. We support our daughter's club the best that we can and I try to talk soccer on this board. It's easy to point out what's wrong with a system much harder to fix or support when the quality isn't there yet.

At least our kids have soccer to watch on TV. The MLS is expanding to 24 teams, NASL should merge with USL Pro - but traffic is a big partner and they are in it for the money (last thing I read they (NASL) are going to add a Canadian division/league. We have many PDL, NPSL, WPSL, W-League teams that we can support but we don't (I'm not talking about the select few on this board that do).

So when I defend PDA/ECNL/NPL/US Club Soccer i do this because I see a chance for our sport to change the way things are done in our country.

I would love for ECNL u23 to be sanctioned by USSF as D3 on the Pyramid behind W-Legue and WPSL o even D4 if they make W-League D2 and WPSL D3. with some type of pro/rel Closed league or not. At least you can have local clubs join NPL build a brand and some success and then join ECNL and who know some day pro/rel between NWSL/W-League/WPSL & ECNL.

Yes a pipe dream. But I will never stop supporting soccer .

PS. Score is 6-3 does this mean NWSL is not elite because it has blow outs?

Anonymous said...

All sports need marketing, the networks constantly advertise what their upcoming NFL games are coming up. Until there is an embedded soccer culture, I do believe marketing and incentives are required get people interested. You may be unique, but I believe that kids like to play and compete, I don't sense a lot of kids are chomping at the bit to watch the next MSL or NWSL game. We keep thinking after the 1998 Women's Wold Cup, the Olympics, and the last Women's World Cup that interest levels would be sufficient, but how many incarnations of leagues have we been through?

I've put my suggestion out there, soccer shouldn't be Practice Monday's and Wednesday's games on the weekend and agility work Thursday. It needs to be schoolyard play, the kids need more US identifiable players to look up to. There are only a few identifiable stars for our kids and they are probably almost entirely national team players.

As a better strategy clubs need integrate the NWSL into what they do, pay them a few hundred dollars to help run a training and spend time with the kids. Many of these players in the NWSL make a lot of there money though camps and appearances. Let the kids feel a connection with these players, not just Alex Morgan or Tobin Heath or Hope Solo. Clubs should be taking busloads of kids to D-1 soccer matches and NWSL games.

Where I differ is that I see many of these clubs having 2 objectives 1) Winning and being seen as having a winning program 2) getting kids playing in college. Why because the record of performance will bring the next cluster of kids willing to pay for "professional" coaching at younger and younger ages. I don't know that clubs give much of a second thought to the broader state of US soccer.

Look at the breakdown of the current USWNT we have more players over 30+ maybe even 35+ than we have 25 year old players or younger (I think that it is 5 out of 26 players), as a recent example, compare that to the Men's German National team with 20 out of 33 players being under the age of 25, and I think the USMNT has 6 under aged 25. Does that mean that what our system was putting out 5, 10, 15 years ago is superior to what we are delivering today.

IMO, I think this is because 10-15 years ago, girls didn't have the same Academy pressures and the same grind that exists today and the girls that played 10-15 years ago played because the loved it nothing else.

Yes, I think the current system is bad and on the girls side where I know more, it will continue fall behind relative to the rest of the world. Why, because from about 12, our Academies grind girls into the ground mentally and physically and the current structure means that a vast majority of girls have limited opportunities to be seen and developed at the highest levels. The grind is true, and all data indicates that concussions, fractures and ligament tears are on the rise in female athletes and female soccer players.

Anonymous said...

Us Youth National Championship - Day 1 game LIVE tomorrow @ 2:00pm 7/22nd
Match Fit ECNL u18G team

Anonymous said...

1:38 I am going to agree and disagree with you on the marketing. If someone likes something they will find it. If MLS is trying to get fans that are not soccer fans well then yes they need to market better.

My daughter watches both becasue We talk about both. She knows more about the womens game than I do, she was happy it was on ESPN yesterday. We have gone through so many incarnations of the league becasue let's be real it's a womens sport. The culture needs to be changed but that's a debate for another day.

I agree with your comment " I don't know that clubs give much of a second thought to the broader state of US soccer" but if we had a pro/rel system of an open league they would becasue (1) can move them up the pyramid and also make them transfer money for developing their players. (2) I don't want to talk about College sports, we are the only country in the world where college sports is so huge and that is also becasue every sport in every country has some type of a pro/rel system which we don't all are pro leagues are closed leagues.

The breakdown of our USWNT is ODP's failure in my opinion. we have lost generations of women soccer players (don't get me started on thsi one). We just fired a coach becasue he wanted to get younger players involved and I agree with Germany is not alone. UEFA has made it a bigf deal to invest in the womens game.

I disagree with you about the academies, I think the ECNL will only help our National teams and will help even more if the USSF sanctions them as a DA. This will make a lot of people unhappy. But I'm looking at the big picture and I don't want us being left behind. SOme will say look at the success of the WNT and I will agree they won lot's of games when no one played outside of the states, we have a few teams that give us headaches now and that number will only grow.

The grind is true, and all data indicates that concussions, fractures and ligament tears are on the rise in female athletes and female soccer players and this is becasue the level of play. The same can be said obout Tommy John surgeries. The athletes are bigger and faster the games is played at a different level than it was and with that will come injuries. PS. More and more women are playing soccer.

I will say again.

D1 NWSL 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The CHampions play in a Champions Cup the bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the W-League.

D2 W-League 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The Champion and runner up in each region advance to the NWSL Lthe bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the W-League.

D3 WPSL 4 regions of 16 teams (each team playing 30 games) The Champion and runner up in each region advance to the W-League the bottom 2 in each region get relegated to the ECNL

D4 ECNL u23 - The Champion and runner advance to the WPSL

D5 ECNL (64 clubs) the top two clubs get promoted to the ECNL u23, the bottom 8 clubs get relegated to the NPL.

D6 NPL (unlimited) the top 8 clubs get promoted to the ECNL.

No COllege Drafts - player rights are purchased from the clubs. This will make sure clubs are developing talent as that is their way to make money. This should keep parent fees down.

just my opinion as a fan

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that we are actually talking about soccer and potential ways to improve it even if we disagree. On the injury front, I personally think that between the number of regular season games, state cups, tournaments, championships, high school kids are exposed to more opportunities for injuries.

We will not agree on the value of academies and the narrowing of the competition. I personally think that the dividing of kids at early ages into elite and non-elite is a going to hurt us and keeping it as essentially pay for play will especially with the cost of all the travel that seems to be increasing yearly will ultimately hurt US Soccer at the National level

You can also say that anyone can tryout for an "elite" team every year, but we all know that at these ages teams churn fewer and fewer girls and there are fewer spots for someone who may have decided to play "elite" and an early age.

I'm pessimistic about soccers the future of US soccer based on the Youth system. A lot of poor countries are competitive because any kid can play as long as they have a ball, in the US we have made a sport that anyone can play into a sport for the well-resourced. That kind of stratification of players can't be good.

Anonymous said...

4:45 I am also enjoying this talk - sorry to you guys that are not.

I don't argue about kids being exposed to more games, but imagine they played in the schoolyards they would be playing even more games. I think injuries will happen since more kids are playing and speed and level of the game has increased.

I don't view the academies of narrowing the field - look at them as more of the police - now you can call them what you want. They are trying to put standards to youth soccer and their member clubs have to meet those standards. Yes it's narrowing the field, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Like I said for every PA Strikers you have 10 hack clubs in it for just the money under the non-profit flag.

I don't see a problem with roster spots. If an academy invested 3 years of training in a player why would they kick that player to the curb for a player slightly better - I wouldn't would you? If the player was head and shoulders above, they take the player on and I bet they give the player being replaced an opportunity to try and win some playing minutes back instead of just kicking them out. Yeah some people can say they are doing it just for the money - but the player has the ball and they can fight for their spot back or they can leave instead of just being shown the door with no choice.

You forget about one thing when we talk about soccer in other countries. They use the game to get out of their situation. MLS and NWSL don't pay. I can guarantee you this if MLS or NWSL paid like the MLB, NFL or NBA we would be a powerhouse it's that simple. Our leagues would attract the best players and coaches which will only benefit our kids.

Just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Us youth soccer National Championship games LIVE via video stream

Anonymous said...

8:06 I don't agree with the police analogy because the people that are assessing the standards are people that run clubs with a vested interest. It Is the fox guarding the henhouse.

I have no doubt that you are right about that money is a key element in the US position in World soccer on the Men's side. I don't think that speaks to what I believe has been a regression of our game on the Women's side were money is equalized globally. You can at least argue that our top stars do better with endorsements than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps the world has caught up, but as I laid out in a previous post, for some time now, our National Team coaches have not selected much in the way of youth. I am very interested to see how we compete at the World Cup.

Regardless, having a system you determine who gets trained in soccer as a have-have not decision and continuing to get more so is not good for soccer development in our country.

On a separate point, I believe the NWSL is shortsighted in generating fan interest. For the second year in a row, the NWSL after allow access to all of their games free streaming on YouTube is now moving the playoffs to a premium channel. Last year it was to Fox Soccer and this year it is to ESPN2 which is not available on basic and many 2nd tier packages. This is a short-sighted quest for profit over generating fan interest.

Anonymous said...

While I am enjoying the posts and their content, this is a U14g blog and few posts actually about that. Find a thread for this kind of VERY interesting conversation perhaps and continue. Now, back to topic.....

Anonymous said...

The standards are the same as the USSF DA standards and it's only that because the USSF thinks for some crazy reason the Girl's side doesn't need a DA system and that ODP still works. I agree with you our game has declined on the WNT side. We get to see in a few weeks how the u21 Nt does up North, I was actually thinking of making a trip to see the girls play. Just need to see when the girls get to Montreal and then check to see if we have a club conflict.

I agree with what you say about soccer being a "status" sport to a degree. But that doesn't mean the clubs don't have quality training. I wish we had a solution for the fees, but that won't change any time soon if at all. In a country as big as ours with the player pool we have and the training we have - filling a roster of 24 should be easy. But I guess we like to over complicate things. Instead of having a true pyramid with the USSF being the top - we have many different branches all promising the same thing.

I don't believe having a pro/rel system in youth soccer is the way. While the kids play to win - and results are used to measure the team and the player's development to a degree. I still believe in a closed system with strict standards. The kids need to compete to make these teams or they are left out. There is nothing wrong with that philosophy, unfortunately for us so many people are making $$$$ change well we will never see it unless if it comes from the top and the USSF seems to care more about the MNT than the WNT as I said before it's a culture thing.

The tough macho guys, need to accept that it's okay to be a fan of SKY Blue or any other Womens team in addition to their EPL, Seria A, MLS or any other league until that happens our girls will have a big hill to climb.

MLS is growing at a nice pace - most home games avg around 16k, Seattle is over 30k and they have the Mariners and Seahawks to compete with.

NWSL is the only league to allow free access to their regular season games and it still doesn't generate fan interest. Because lets be real it's a GIRLS league and well it's not cool to support a GIRLS league is it? The answer to that question is very simple.

The tickets are cheap, the games are streamed on you tube and still no one goes. How do you expect the league to pay their players? Not the NT player's that the US, Mexico and Canada pays. 6k that's what a player is paid. These girls should get support for following their dreams when everyone is saying to them it's a waste of time.

We have how many girls that play "Club" soccer in NJ? and yet the NWSL get's no support in NJ, what does that say?

Anonymous said...

It's the end of July, most Championships and tournaments are over with the exception of USYS which has 1 NE/Mid-Atlantic team playing. Kids are going into HS and there won't be any meaningful play for another 4 months.

The summer transfer window has been quite slow in the U-14 age group, so what's wrong a conversation about soccer.

Anonymous said...

10:06 this is my point about why soccer in our country will always fail. This is a u14 blog and has everything to do with soccer and what we are talking about.

So in a few days it becomes a u15 board, followed by u16 and u17 and u18 then what? Soccer isn't important anymore right?

If your kid loves the game, feed that love.

I will stop with these posts, since it bores most of the posters.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the posts about soccer but the social commentary about the "haves" and the have nots" has very little to do with anything other than being upset your a "have not". Frankly the teams I see play (I would assume you would call them the "haves") are great teams with hard working dedicated young girls giving it everything they have. Not only that, but they are the best players around; period. I can pick any sport and say someone did not get a fair shot so what's your point? Take a look at women's World Cup, clearly the US is doing something right.

Anonymous said...

OK U-14 topic, any thoughts on the NPL College Showcase in Florida. Are they serious? The currently committed clubs are all Northeast and are mainly the distant sisters of ECNL Clubs, some that are not even strong in the ECNL. Alberston, East Meadow, CFC, FC Bucks, Penn Fusion. Match Fit, Boston Breakers, FC Bucks and Penn Fusion were a respective 11 and 38 in their NPL league.

And they are running this the same week as Disney? Where do you think coaches will go.

For all of this talk of what is good for US Soccer. if not for world domination what good can come from US Club Soccer directly competing with Disney an hour away and potentially dividing coaches. Why not stagger with Disney so coaches can attend both. Why because that would be good for kids but not for US Club.

Anonymous said...

10:58 No I grudgingly pay over $2500 for my kid to play at the highest levels. That does not mean that I have to like it. They are not the best players around, you must be from PDA because no one can deny that PDA is the best in the region beyond that, I think you have to look to Mass to find another best kids around type of club. Between NY to PA you can name a bunch of clubs ECNL and NPL that consistently lose to town clubs and lower level "academies." The fact is that US Club Soccer is trying to divide players. I am part of the problem because I pay, but I don't thinks it's good.

Cost and allure of being seen by college coaches. If you are from PDA, you have undoubtedly played the Match Fit, Albertson, and East meadow ECNL teams.

Anonymous said...


Frankly the teams I see play (I would assume you would call them the "have nots" and "have somes") are great teams with hard working dedicated young girls giving it everything they have. Not only that, but they include talented, skilled, dedicated players....some of the best players around.

Enjoy your high quality experience...your child is fortunate that you can provide it for her.

I will challenge your statement that your team has the best players, period.

That seem unlikely when most players in NJ and anywhere else are not in a position to pay and play for PDA type, very costly, albeit very high quality clubs.

Anonymous said...

10:58 Aside from quoting yourself on this blog, please post a reference from someone who actually argues that pay-to-play good for US soccer. It is good for you because it narrows the field that your daughter has to compete against. If your are interested, I can post 20-30 articles on the detriment of pay-to-play in youth soccer.

On the Men's side, we know that US Soccer is trying tomove away from a pay-to-play model and some clubs are starting to follow-this model, yet you want to argue that pay-to-play is good. Is your argument simpy that I must be a have-not?

Please provide your argument as to why pay-to-play is good for soccer and is inclusive to ensure that the best players and athletes are encouraged to play soccer through a pay-to-play model.

I assume you would argue the general exclusion of Latinos from US Youth Soccer is a good thing. You really just have to look to the MLS Academies to see that that with the rise of no-cost academies also saw large rise in Latino population.

Of course, none of that is important to you because the pay-to-play system protects your daughter's situation.

Anonymous said...

There is little money to be made in women's soccer. Where is the incentive to identify and develop all talented players? The incentive is to identify and develop great players that can finance their own development. Who can afford to look for and develop top players for free or low cost?

In men's soccer, truly top level players can potentially earn income for themselves and many others around them.

Anonymous said...

The WNBA is a good model for Women's soccer. No there currently is no money, maybe that is because us Soccer does not have broad appeal. Very few identifiable black or Latino stars. The WNBA while not perfect gets and average attendance of 8,000 people and the average salary is $55K a year. Not great but also not the NWSL. Perhaps part of the problem is that soccer is a mostly white suburban sport. It currently is not inclusive.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious 4:17 or anyone else crying about the money, no one mentioned anything about the success the US women have had at world cup? I will take that success as a clue we are doing something right.

I don't view it as pay for play, I view it as pay for training. Anyone complaining about $2500 for a full year of training, tournaments doesn't understand inflation or what anyones time is worth, or do I dare mention what it cost to obtain good fields. Plus ECNL travel is the big cost not the club fees in my opinion. It is well documented on this blog that overall training (practices) cost roughly the same, whether its ECNL or town team. What is different is frequency and or sum total. If your DC Shore and one practice a week and a long offseason is your thing, well great there is a place for you and the cost reflects that. There are plenty of people on our team that bitch about the cost, including me, but they make sacrifices because it's important to their daughter. Maybe it means you don't take a vacation or maybe you don't travel with your daughter to tournaments, but they make it happen. I choose to celebrate the U8 to U18 girls I see busting it 3-4 times a week, sacrificing their social life, their bodies, their time to become the best players they can possible be, instead of wondering about things I have no control over. Frankly what I see as the problem has nothing to do with money but more to do with dedication and willingness to work hard and make sacrifices. That to me is the great (filter) of soccer not money. Tell a young girl what it will take to be a really good (if your lucky great) soccer player and most will say hell no. I choose to have a life that doesn't require me to eat sleep soccer 24/7. I'm of the belief that any kid can play REC for chump change and have a blast. If you fall in love with the sport - well it's up to you to pursue the sport not the sport to pursue you.

In closing I will say that you could be 100% right, that money in soccer is a horrible thing. I certainly am not an expert, but I do deal in reality and not what ifs'. I see the best players moving to ECNL and I see what it cost. Fortunately my daughter is talented enough to have choices. She can choose or not whether to participate. It's my job to make it happen for her (if I can) and if she really wants it. So unless a giant soccer fairy shows up in the next 2-3 weeks and clicks his heels and mandates free soccer for everyone, I need to get back to work so I can pay for another year of expensive, time consuming soccer...

Oh and 4:17 my family is "American" but we are of Guatemalan decent, but nice try with the race card. It usually falls to that when you have nothing else to say.

Anonymous said...

I have a question - I think we all will agree the girls of today have a better chance to develop their game than the girls of ten years ago.

Do you think we will ever see girls that are dual citizens and can become a dual citizen opt to play for another NT just to play at the highest level in Soccer. The international game is the top of the Pyramid, kind of like how boys do with Baseball?

5:16 I agree with you about the WNBA - I guess the NWSL could have gone the WMLS way - would that have been better? Not sure but at least the girls would play in soccer stadiums instead of College Soccer stadiums (not all). I get it they went the USSF way to make sure the league is around for more than 3 years.

Our girls are moving to u15 and some can actually start playing for WPSL and or W-League teams in another year or two with College kids.

The good thing out of all of this - is that there are many options (IS it really a good thing?) for our kids to play.

A. Academy Team 100%
B. 2nd Tier Academy/High School/ODP
C. Town Team/Select Team/High School/ODP
D. Town team /High School/ODP
E. Boys Town team/High School/ODP
F. I'm sure I'm missing a few.

1. College
2. WNT USA or Other
4. W-League/WPSL

"Almost every European country (including Russia) has a women’s professional soccer league. Some pay a very small amount of salary and other leagues like Germany and Russia pay very good salaries. All, however, provide free housing and meals and, sometimes, even cars. Each European country and their top league are given slots for either one or two of their top teams to participate in the UEFA Women’s Champions league."

"Top women soccer players can make a lot more than that playing in Europe. Megan Rapinoe makes $14,000 a month playing for Lyon in France."

There is money in Soccer just not in the USA.

Anonymous said...

The Girls have had 6 World Cups, We won 2 the last one our girls won was 15 years ago in 1999 and the first was 1991. We have much better success at the Olympics. But as you can see from the below numbers we have had success because we have a huge player pool. Germany has won 2 of the last 3 World Cups, Europe is investing in the Womens game. There is a future for our girls that truly love this game and are willing to sacrifice their free time to work at becoming a top player. Live the dream girls because us parents will find a way for it to work.

Some stats from 2006.

1 US Soccer Federation (USA) 1,670
2 Deutscher Fussball-Bund (GER) 871
3 The Canadian Soccer Association (CAN) 495
4 Svenska Fotbollförbundet (SWE) 136
5 Football Federation Australia Limited (AUS) 112
6 Norges Fotballforbund (NOR) 98
7 The Football Association (ENG) 97
8 Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (NED) 84
9 Dansk Boldspil-Union (DEN) 56
10 Fédération Française de Football (FRA) 49

FEMALE YOUTH (in 1000s)
1 US Soccer Federation (USA) 1,563
2 The Canadian Soccer Association (CAN) 407
3 Deutscher Fussball-Bund (GER) 237
4 Svenska Fotbollförbundet (SWE) 107
5 Football Federation Australia Limited (AUS) 84
6 Norges Fotballforbund (NOR) 83
7 The Football Association (ENG) 70
8 Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (NED) 43
9 Dansk Boldspil-Union (DEN) 42
10 Fédération Française de Football (FRA) 28

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Why delete a link to a Bloomberg article about the low levels of Latino participation in youth soccer in this county? I thought it was one of the more interesting links I have seen posted here.

Anonymous said...

What are the levels of (girls / women) youth participation in South American countries, Central American countries and Mexico? I'm curious. The only country that has had a whiff of success is Brazil and they only had a runner up and third place.

Why is that the men do very well? Is it economics, cultural, or just small player pool size?

Anonymous said...

We know in the US its economics and availability because youth soccer is a suburban sport. I am guessing the last post was deleted for how I made that point although it was entirely factual. Life isn't fair and that is life, we have created a market based youth soccer system. But I think the system will mean IMO that we will continue to lose competitiveness at the global level because we are narrowing the player pool very early. At least on the men's side US Soccer has recognized this an are pushing to remove pay to play which is the term they use.

Anonymous said...

My post was removed exactly why?
Who is the moderator?


Anonymous said...

Somebody with an OBVIOUS interest in seeing things remain the way they are is deleting posts. Or someone (perhaps a parent of someone on a named academy team). VERY ODD that my post would have been removed otherwise.

Shame, shame, shame.


Anonymous said...

We will see how long this post remains up, but my post was essentially removed for saying that Latinos and blacks were under-represented in youth soccer relative to the population. I also referred to youth soccer as a mostly white suburban sport.

We have created structural barriers that I think discourages kids from playing soccer. That is why I believe that we will continue to struggle at the national level.

Anonymous said...

DC - I'll take a different approach.

In the states - we haven't had a successful soccer league in a very long time and you couldn't find soccer on TV unless you had Fox sports and watched the same game a million times.

That has changed, the MLS while not a top league - it is number 7 in the world when it comes to attendance. We are starting to bring quality players (older - yes) but still quality. We need to start bringing in some top coaches from around the world also to take MLS to the next level. Also, with EPL, La Liga and Seria A games on TV in addition to all the Champions, Europa and Cop Lib plus Concacaf Games you are starting to see a lot more soccer on TV and as the league starts to pay more you will see more kids picking soccer over other sports.

Now the Girl's game is another story. A lot has to do with cultural background. For those that have traveled you know what I'm talking about for those that have never left the states - it's a different world outside our borders when it comes to crooks, racists and a women's role. In the Soccer nations of the world Women just don't play and they were looked at a little different if they did. That also has started to change.

I think we are a young soccer nation and there is no way we can build a global powerhouse in 20 years. We might need another 10 to 20 years to be legit. If we want to be a soccer powerhouse we will be we have the resources we are just not committed to the game like we are the other sports.

Anonymous said...

2015 we will have the 100th Copa America in the states and who knows maybe 2022 will be here as well instead of Qatar.

Soccer is growing as a sport in our nation - we have everything in place to make the NWSL the GLOBAL league - we just have to support the game which we don't 1k at a game is sad .

Anonymous said...

Deleting posts will make the issue magically disappear I suppose.

I don't think there needs to be too much concern about things staying the way they are. It is a market driven sport and that is the American way. I don't necessarily object to it either..if someone puts out an expensive quality product and customers want to buy it, you have got a successful business...not an easy feat.

I object to the idea the best quality club translates automatically into having all the "best quality" players. They will likely have the best players that can afford it..and that is not the same as having the best players,

Anonymous said...

AVG Attendance
Portland Thorns FC 13,320
FC Kansas City 4,626
Western New York Flash 4,485
Washington Spirit 3,620
Boston Breakers 2,427
Seattle Reign FC 2,306
Chicago Red Stars 1,711
Sky Blue FC 1,664

NWSL 4,270

Anonymous said...

1:45 I don't buy your objection.

If you have a prodigy kid that has dreams of playing at the highest levels parents will find a way to make it work.

Keep in mind - let's say your kid was WNT material - you will drive and you will pay what ever it takes to get her what you believe she needs to play against other kids at the same level 2/3 times a week plus games.


Anonymous said...

One last thing on NJ soccer - 1.6k is sad. There are so many clubs charging an arm and a leg for kids to play and yet no one is supporting the only shot they have to make a future in the sport.

Oh yeah, because College Scholarship is the end game. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Of all the posts above, it's worth noting that the first real spike in US soccer enrollment occurred in the 1990s after the World CUp and we haven't seen large increases in soccer enrollment since 2000. The current system is great for the Suburban kid who has talent and wants to seek better clubs and better training, it doesn't change the fact that we have structural barriers to broadening the player pool. The choice that US Soccer has made on the men's side is to push for development academies to be no-cost. It is happening and we have seen a rise in latino enrollment at DAs, if that is playing a race card, so be it, but it is also fact. Making soccer at the highest levels as sport of privilege will be a barrier to continued soccer success at the highest international levels..

Nearly 87,000 came out to see the LA Galaxy/Man U game yesterday. A California newspaper wrote, "The majority of fans in attendance came dressed in No. 14 jersey for Mexican Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Hernandez, who joined the tour Tuesday, didn’t see any action.

I see it as a massive problem for US Soccer at the highest levels if we can't tap into the full US Youth Population for our player pool. Clearly there is a lot of Latino interest in the sport.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that all the best players play for expensive club teams? It is unwise, unaffordable proposition for many families even if their children have the ability.

I am sure these clubs will have the best teams. Solid training and coaching, deep rosters of talented players. they will win the games, leagues and championships.

There are very talented individual players playing on less expensive teams. They find ways to challenge themselves. They play up a year or two to try to ramp of the pace and skill level of the game. They attend additional practices with older age groups. They practice on their own and with friends.

Nothing wrong with it..we are talking about youth sports here not the world cup. I think many families at top clubs realize and appreciate their privilege and the exclusive nature of their player pool. Some do not and have spout out "our club has the best players period", thinking all great players would of course play there if they were good enough.

I am not talking about National team players...they are a tiny handful of players and very few clubs in NJ or anywhere else will ever have one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think the LA Galaxy game is a great sign shortly after the World Cup with the fans dressed in man United red and a lot of Mexican Jerseys and a lot of Chicharito Numbers. Not much La Galaxy Representation. The 7-0 result is also not a great sign, but I guess the Man U players all have something to prove for their new Manager.

Anonymous said...

i have a older daughter that plays after talking to College coaches at major events that could care less about what tournaments you have played or what leagues you have played in if you can play they want you bottom line .

Anonymous said...

3:05 I agree with you, but what happens if a coach gets contacted by 50 kids and only needs 3 spots - he has to put the kids an order, he may not see all of them and some may not even get a legit look?

What do you think decides that order? Did they do ODP? Were they a PDP or id2 pool player?, What Club they play for? I'm sure they can all play but chances are the coach won't see all 50.

I hate saying it but the first player he looks at isn't going to be random?

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to applaud the topic selection of the posts here lately, bravo! I feel that one aspect of the race/money issue has been missed. If a player from a small team (possibly inner city) has a talented player, likely that player will be seen by a bigger club and be offered a spot on the bigger club. I think often they give scholarships to players that can;'t afford it. There is a good documentary on a youth team in inner city Philly on netflix right now. I forgot the name but recommend everyone watch it.

Anonymous said...

I agree me and the little one enjoyed it

Anonymous said...

Congrats to NEFC today, their U14 girls beat Legends 2-0 in OT to win Nationals. Way to represent Region 1.

Anonymous said...

Boycott quatar world cup 2022

Anonymous said...

6:03 Forget 2022 - how about 2018 - unless things change Russia is not looking very good when it comes to public relations these days.

2015 - Copa America

2018 - World Cup.

Now wouldn't that be great, to have both those on our turf.

Anonymous said...

Don't get your hopes up, FIFA is not switching locations.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than Russia's Public Relations is FIFA's PR. I don't think they care, the voting committee received their bribes, so all is good.

Anonymous said...

1:23 so you do know how it works.

All it takes is the UN placing an embargo on Russia and FIFA has to follow.

This happened when Yugoslavia started their break up. Serbia backed the Serbian Nationals in other states and Bam they were isolated from the world. Russia will be a little tricky since love them or hate them they are a super power that can push back.

I still think playing the World Cup in Winter will never fly. But only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

6:12 I do know how a UN embargo would work and will never happen against Russia. Russia is one of 5 Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and any one of those members can veto a UN resolution regardless of how much the World wants it. China is also a member of the security council and would likely block any sanctions against Russia because of the energy demands in China and Russia being a major energy supplier to China. France is also a member of the security council and also has important trading relations with Russia which would likely mean that they would at least abstain from and sanctions agains Russia.

The civics lesson aside, it is very unlikely that FIFA would get involved in disputes and take a position, that becomes a very tricky game. FIFA just this weekend said stated its opposition to moving the World Cup from Russia. Once they go down this path it becomes a tricky path when other countries do something that part or all of the world is opposed to. Qatar is a different situation because it was corruption that brought the Olympics to Qatar and everyone knows it, however, FIFA wants to conquer the world and getting Gulf money into FIFA and supporting global soccer is important priority for them. Every day that passes means that it becomes more difficult to pull the world cup because the amount of investment that goes into preparing. How does FIFA compensate a country that has built stadiums and resourced for the cup?

Time will tell, but I believe there still a small chance on Qatar because there is a strong case to be made based on corruption.. On Russia, there is a 0% chance. Pulling the world cup makes for good headlines in the US, England, and Germany there will be zero will for FIFA to take any action.

Anonymous said...

10:22 Good stuff - I want to continue with this but I think we would drift away for u14 soon to be u15 girls soccer.

Anonymous said...

That is why, as chairman of the Division I men’s coaches committee, he has joined forces with NCAA leaders, Major League Soccer officials and the U.S. Soccer Federation to radically change the landscape of the college game.

They have proposed turning Division I men’s soccer into a full academic-year sport, one that would kick off in mid-September and culminate in late-May. If approved by the NCAA, the new calendar would begin as early as 2016-17.

“We have to change the game and do it justice,” Cirovski said. “College soccer has been relevant, but it can become much more relevant. It is doing a good job; it can do a great job.”

This is great for soccer and player development, let's hope the girl' game has this look as well.

Anonymous said...

Why is PDA Shore Breakers a top 20 Gotsoccer team? Aren't they brand new?

Anonymous said...

They have mostly NJSA Bulldogs filling out their roster, so they came with points.

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