12 January 2009

Georgia High School AAAAA Preview – Some Background

It’s a gorgeous winter day in Atlanta; perfect for pre-Spring season training and with that, my thoughts are turning to high school soccer in Georgia.

By way of background, for those of you checking in from abroad, the United States uses the same athlete’s promotion system for almost every sport (save gymnastics and tennis where serious talent is typically home-schooled). In other words, kid’s here don’t get recruited in to professional academies, rather they almost always travel up through the same high school to college to professional system.

This system is modeled on the American football promotion system which basically means that players play recreationally at the youth level, they try to make their high school team (in the US those are years 9-12), then rather than go in to professional soccer, they try to make a university team, and finally after university, they will find their way in to the professional ranks.

I’m starting to see more emphasis placed on a player’s club performance as opposed to a player’s high school performance, but the outcome has essentially the same net effect. The goal is recruitment to a university team, rather than a professional academy.

This system is the rule for which there are very few exceptions. But suffice it to say, we don’t have proper football academies so in spite of its inherent flaws, this is still our best means of surfacing international caliber talent.

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