Academy soccer extension could strip high school teams of players

Photo by Jack Killeen
Head Varsity soccer Coach Tim Cashel talks to the Varsity team after its loss to Rockbridge of Columbia on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Jack Killeen

High school soccer teams may lose some of their best players to academy soccer because this year the season for academy soccer has become 10 months long instead of the normal eight month season.

High school athletes can only play for one, so 10 months of academy soccer will interfere with the high school season and prevent players from playing both.

According to the U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on, “If we want our players to someday compete against the best in the world, it is critical for their development that they train and play as much as possible and in the right environment. The Development Academy 10-month season is the right formula and provides a good balance between training time and playing competitive matches. This is the model that the best countries around the world use for their programs and I think it makes perfect sense that we do, as well.”

About 80 Academy teams play across the United States. St. Louis has two teams: Scott Gallagher Metro, located in Collinsville, IL, and Scott Gallagher Missouri located in Fenton.

The U.S. soccer club website states, “Teams train together three or four times a week and play games on the weekends. This format is similar to elite soccer playing nations around the globe.”

The website claims a 10-month season creates better competition. By decreasing the number of games played, the level of competition increases as players work for spots on the field. Students also play with similar skill leveled players who are all fighting for the same goal.

Head Varsity Coach, Tim Cashel, said, “Athletes who’ve been playing together their whole life in the Webster soccer club come to the high school and play with one another. Private school players come from all over. They have no loyalty to one another or the team.”

“There is important enthusiasm and motivation in high school soccer that academy players no longer have after a while. Webster Groves maintains program control with or without our players. It’s a great program,” Cashel said.

“I’m proud to be playing for the Statesmen,” said ex-academy player, senior James Wunderlich.

Cashel said there has been no downsize in the roster due to the season change.

He also said, “Private schools are losing players; Webster is proud of no players leaving and is going to keep it that way.”

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