Soccer as a sport to practice in the winter months, before it is played in the summer. In the USA, it is common for schools to have soccer fields available after school. The only problem with this system is that it leads to many youth players playing soccer during the summer when they could have been learning more productive lessons. After all, if the winter months are not spent playing, how can they learn?
Soccer was originally played at the high school level in the US, but as other sports emerged, and more and more kids started to play them, it was decided that high school would be replaced by a more recreational season. This led to a decline in the number of teams, and the time of the season.
In order to ensure that soccer didn’t end up like rugby, football, and hockey (which are all popular and played throughout the year), the USFA organized the youth soccer leagues, which are run in cooperation with the youth football association.
While the top league, U-14, was never entirely professional, most of the others are open to professional teams, and the majority of the clubs are full of former high school players. This year there will be a double header, and the USFA is expecting to have around 900 teams with around 200,000 kids participating in the next four years. And of course, the kids have to love it. Like betmeister that provides you the best team to bet on.
“It’s a big commitment, because you have to live with your team,” says Mike, an 18-year-old former pro player. “You’re going to be around them for six or seven hours a day for four years, and when the club is gone, they’re gone for good.
But I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve grown as a person, as a player, and the thing that has impressed me most is that it’s not works. It’s not something that I have to get up at five or six in the morning and I have to get to practice on time. It’s a great way to unwind.”
Kids Like it
For kids like Nick, the commitment to the game itself is not nearly as significant as the personal risk involved. “The biggest issue you have is that it’s a 24/7 job, and you’re constantly going up against guys you’re going to know and you’re going to compete against, and there’s no time to really have a real life,” he says. “Even though I love playing basketball, sometimes the reality of it weighs more than the love of the game.”
This is not the first time Nick has chosen to participate in a project other than basketball. Before his sophomore year at Duke, he participated in a Project Harmony mentor ship program that has resulted in more than 800 young people around the country signing up to be mentors for at-risk youth.
The mentor ship program is modeled after the famous AAU programs like the one founded by Rick Pitino. It’s a program that gives teens a mentor to assist them as they build their basketball abilities.
The young people learn by giving mentees advice and examples of how they can improve their game. “Some of the advice that they give is, if I get an opportunity, I can be one of the best players in the game,” Nick says.
While some AAU programs recruit basketball players to serve as mentors and role models.