Welcome to SoccerNation’s “Ask The College Coach” column. In this series we take questions from soccer parents from around the country and have real, currently employed college coaches answer. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Ask the College Coach”.
Today’s question comes from the parent of a high school freshman in Orange County, California:
There is so much pressure for our daughter to play high school as a freshman this year by the school coach and her friends. I have heard that there are leagues that don’t allow for high school or that playing high school can increase getting hurt or lower your playing ability playing lower competition kids? What is your opinion?
Great question! Different coaches may say different things about high school soccer. It can be more dangerous than club, because many times there are high school players that don’t play club soccer and aren’t quite as refined – they may accidentally come in for late tackles or make up for lack of skill by playing more physically.
I personally think that playing high school soccer was a really fun experience, and although the quality of the soccer was much lower than club, it was great experience to represent my school and also get to play with players of different ages. The high school teams are comprised of Freshmen to Seniors, just like the college environment. For these reasons, we give all our commits and recruits the green light to participate in high school soccer if they’d like to.
Regardless of a player’s decision to play high school soccer, playing in competitive games and training in a challenging environment are key components to success. There is no replacement for the game in terms of soccer fitness and experience, so make sure not to sit out for those key months!
Assistant Coach Women’s Soccer
San Francisco State University
Note: it is true that whilst playing high school season a player may not participate in club competition.