Should Academy Players Be Able to Play for Their School?


Joey Fentress

Percentage of college players played club soccer

Playing at the highest level that you can play at is a time commitment that most don’t have time for. With school classes getting harder and harder the older you get, one thing every athlete must learn is time management. Some sports, for example soccer, will not let you do certain things because of your commitment to their club program. Playing at the Academy level is a time commitment that the majority of families and kids do not have the time for.


The rule that academy soccer puts in place is that, if you play for “us” then you cannot play for your highschool team. This rule has been in effect for quite some time now and could very well carry over to other sports. Many ask, what is an “academy?” Academy is the highest level of soccer that one can play at through highschool. Although academy is part of a club, academy usually stands alone because of the skill and talent that the players have at that level 


For many, Club sport takes priority over highschool sports because of the time commitment and the benefits it has. The main benefit that club provides is coaching. The coaches that are in the club organization are completely different from your regular highschool coach. The majority of the time, coaches at a specific school are, most of the time, a teacher by day and a coach by night. Their primary job is not coaching. For a club organization, a coach’s primary job is to coach and only to coach. In a big organization, they will only hire you as a coach if you have collegiate level experience or even more. Most of the time for a school they just offer the job and anyone can pick it up. More than likely your coach will have some experience but nothing more than highschool level experience.


Another benefit that would sway an athlete to play for an organization over their school is their facilities. Every club has some sort of homebase where all the training occurs. For soccer that could be a weight room, trainer, and multiple high quality fields for practice and games. Not every school has multiple fields or a nice weight room or a trainer who knows what they are doing. 


In a podcast episode done by soccer wire in 2019, they discussed what a club will give you that a generic highschool program would not. “I do think that high school soccer is very important, and it still serves a very important role in this country. But at the same time, if you want to be a professional; if you want to be a National Team player, or even just a college player, the DA is 100-times better than high school in terms of development. You get better training, better resources, better facilities, and you’re learning how to play in a professional environment.” 


Depending on what a player wants to do in the future, club sports could be a big contributing part to going pro. Club practices go into much more detail and provide a greater understanding of the sport. If what you want to do is to make it to the next level whether that be college or maybe professional, club sports are definitely worth the investment. For the kids that play academy soccer and do not participate on their high school team, the majority of them want to have a future in soccer.