U.S. Soccer Gets a Red Card
March 9, 2012
My previous posting paid compliments to a non-school lacrosse organization which appears to share some of the same perspectives we have for young athletes. Today I express an opposite opinion about U.S. Soccer which has created a “Development Academy” that has announced it is moving to a 10-month season beginning in the fall of 2012.
U.S. Soccer has declared that participants in the Development Academy are prohibited from playing on their local high school teams. This has prompted criticism from high school coaches who in many parts of the country, including Michigan, will lose some of the more accomplished players to the Development Academy.
The academy’s design follows that of powerhouse soccer nations where, however, high school sports do not exist like they do in the United States, where high school students play on high school soccer teams during defined seasons of the year.
The design of the Development Academy and the exclusive participation that U.S. Soccer is promulgating violates the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, which requires national sport governing bodies to minimize conflicts with school and college programs. I was involved in the preparation and passage of that law by the United States Congress; I know what it says and what it stands for. U.S. Soccer is violating the spirit and specific language of the law.
The desire and drive of U.S. Soccer to have U.S. teams excel in international competition is admirable; but its violation of U.S. statutes in the process is deplorable.