What price do you pay for playing soccer at a level which could lead to a college scholarship, playing professionally, and possibly playing to represent your country?
Starting this fall, it could mean the opportunity to play for your high school.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy announced a move that could alter the landscape of high school soccer programs around the country. The academy, which is backed by the U.S. National team, announced it is moving to a 10-month training schedule effective this fall.
While the Academy said there could be some exceptions for particular players and schools, the decision means players who want to be in the U.S. Soccer development structure will not be able to play at the high school level.
Moving to a 10-month season means players can focus on training together three or four times per week and play meaningful games on the weekend nearly year-round. Fewer games and an extended season will allow for the addition of a substantial number of extra training sessions, which are the primary vehicle for player development.
The decision could have a particularly strong impact on St. Louis' strong soccer scene, including Oakville, Chaminade, De Smet and Priory. The latter two teams won state titles in 2011 with a handful of players who had also participated in the Scott Gallagher club system, which is part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Please join the panelists we've assembled, including local coaches from area schools in our COVER IT LIVE chat. Weigh in on the debate and what it means for your school, your team, your family and the St. Louis soccer scene!