By Ivan Avalos
Every year, as high school soccer begins, many kids who are good enough have to decide what they want to do: Play for their high school or go off and play for an academy soccer team outside of school.
Academy is a league created by U.S. Soccer that, “hopes to improve education, resources, and support to impact everyday club environments that will develop world-class players” as stated on ussoccerda.com.
One way they hope to improve the quality of training is by not allowing the players that are in academy to play on any other teams. Unfortunately, this affects many high school programs as some of the best players in the high school programs leave to play academy. This season, Brien McMahon had 5 players play academy, meaning they couldn't play for Mcmahon.
“Players tend to choose club over high school because the club/program promises them better scouting opportunities to go pro or colleges” said Helmuth Iraheta Jr (16). Kids that play academy usually end up going to Division 1 colleges and some end up going professional because many professional teams have youth teams in an academy league. This means that there is a really high quality of soccer being played, which attracts college coaches.
Eduardo Vargas (19) told us “the reason I chose academy my freshman year was for the traveling, and playing against MLS Academy teams. But also getting noticed by college coaches and MLS scouts.” Eduardo, who played for Everton FC academy, is one of the players that for the 2016 season will have to make the decision between playing for academy and high school. “There's a lot of pressure on me when it comes choosing between my friends and representing my school or playing academy and trying to go as far as I can with the sport I love.”
“Academy requires a lot of hard work, high school is more of playing the game you love with your friends and being part of a family that you won’t forget” stated Kervens Jean-Charles (16). Kervens was one of the kids that alternated between academy and high school. His freshman and junior years he decided not to do high school and played for Beachside Academy, while his sophomore and senior year he decided to tryout and made varsity on both years.
“I think people forget how competitive high school soccer is,” said Helmuth, “we slay against tough teams like Darien, Greenwich, Ludlowe who did well and there are players in the FCIACS that could be playing Academy” Many people choose high school because they feel a certain pride that comes with representing their school and wearing the school's name across your chest. “High school soccer is a time to make memories and present your high school with Pride that you don't get from playing Academy” said senior captain Stathi Panagiotidis (16).