Friday, September 19, 2014

Diploma Divide

Hey y'all, checking in with another piece bringing some soccer issues to a general audience light. This time it's college soccer training limitations and reform. I know you know enough to get the gist of it, but I did have Andrew Wenger and Jordan Morris among others weigh in – figured you'd want their $.02.

Note: I fully understand that it's not a matter of choosing between college and a soccer career.

- Jacob Klinger


jon said...

Nice article.

The only criticism I have is this bit:

"Of the 18 other field players named to the roster for the U.S. friendly match against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, only four had played any college soccer.

It showed."

The number of guys on that roster with college experience had more to do with geography than some indicator of skill level.

Jacob Klinger said...

Thanks man.

You mean the location of the friendly or the birthplace of some of the players?

I'd say the latter is big-picture relevant. The former ... guilty.

Tom Shenk said...

"Effectively, he [Wenger] extended his season. He remembers that each fall some of his Blue Devils teammates would return to Durham not in good enough shape to play a competitive game. They hadn’t all summer. They’d been working summer internships. And for some of them, it took two months — half the season — to get there."

This says it all. For a striker like Wenger, he probably needed even more time working on his craft. But it is clear that there is a minimum amount of training 18-22 year olds should be getting in order to progress as players and college can't provide it. The notion of amateur athletics, especially in a college context is antiquated. It serves the purpose of neither the kid who wants and academic degree or the one who wants to be a professional athlete. It's the worst of both worlds.

What isn't touched on is how well those teammates of Wenger's probably did by focusing a little more on their post-collegiate careers. Unfortunately, soccer isn't the same thing as getting a job with an accounting firm. You have to actually spend those 10,000 hours working to achieve mastery before you graduate college, not after.

dikranovich said...

as long as we can all come to grips with the fact that a vast majority of college athletes are not going to be pursuing a professional career in their sport, then we should be able to make great strides, and we have made great strides. Harrison shipp is a player, and so is wenger.

college is great, throw the coaches a bone and give them a couple more games and a couple more hours in the offseason. college coaches want self starters on their team, guys that can go out on their own and improve

Jacob Klinger said...

Wenger and Shipp are players, but surely they could be better ones from having had more practice time in college.

And yeah, coaches do want guys who can get better on their own, but they also improve from working in team practices, which are pretty limited.

Tony M said...

You can even see this in high school. I saw some of my son's teammates regress during the high school season compared to where they were for thier clubs.

Dany Tzvi said...

its no secret that high school and college soccer are broken. the simple fact is that training with organized facilities, tangible coaches, and the peer pressure of a team around you is much more beneficial.

The solution is that college players play for lower division teams in the offseason. Unfortunately with the lack of promotion-relegation the lower divisions are not very good and it's still not a high level of training.

Tom said...

"organized facilities, tangible coaches, and the peer pressure of a team around you is much more beneficial"

What do you mean by tangible coaches?

Dany Tzvi said...

one of the NCAA restrictions is the number of hours a coach can be with the team. in the offseason there are still some team gatherings, and there may even be a practice plan, but there is no coach. having a coach around to give a player tips will improve that player's game.

of course in an academy/full-professional setting this is not a concern

dikranovich said...

Dandy, I read the story that the head coach can only spend two hours with the team in the offseason, but that does not mean assistants can't fill in those other six hours, and really it is assistants who give technical teachings.

Again, I think it is important to remember that this is college, and coaches in college missing out on acquiring a talented prospect has been happening for years.

Tom said...


Okay, gotcha, thanks.

Dany Tzvi said...


NCAA Bylaws
"only a student-athlete’s participation in required weight-training, conditioning and skill-related instruction shall be permitted. A student-athlete’s participation in such activities per Bylaw 17.02.1 shall be limited to a maximum of eight hours per week with not more than two hours per week spent on skill-related workouts."

8 hours of strength, conditioning, and skills
no more than 2 hours of skill training

this is nowhere near the standard of professional academies

Jacob Klinger said...

@Dany Tzvi: Word

Players are making that connection. Parents of children who seriously want to be professional players are starting to too. And college soccer runs the risk of becoming obsolete for top talent if it doesn't change.

And that's not coming from me. It's coming from the college coaches losing out on the recruiting trail.

dikranovich said...

The inevitability of college soccer loosing out on top talent is a good thing for soccer in America. It means we are advancing. Lord have mercy with this commentary.

Jacob Klinger said...

Oh I agree this is good for American soccer. That said, college soccer getting better at developing the super-late bloomers and anyone else who goes the school route can't be a bad thing.