| Sep 28, 2011
Last week at the Davis-Granite Bay boy’s soccer match there was a buzz in the air, and it was coming from the Granite Bay sidelines where the parents, families, and students all sit to watch the game.
The buzz was a rumor that Granite Bay star play Cody Giddings was not at the game that day and would likely not be with the team again because Giddings was told by his CDA (California Development Academy) team that he could no longer play high school soccer.
Giddings was not at the game, and for the Grizzlies, the nation’s No. 15 ranked team by the National Soccer Coaches Association, the match finished in a scoreless tie with the Blue Devils.
There is no way to conclude that the tie had anything to do with the absence of Giddings, but it was certainly a blow to the Granite Bay team.
Later that day it was discovered that the CDA did in fact send notice to their players that they could not longer play high school soccer, effective immediately.
Three days later, Davis took on the nation’s No. 1 ranked team in Jesuit, and that game also finished in a tie (1-1). Leading up to the Davis game Jesuit was already hampered by a rash of injuries, but they too were feeling the pain of being without two of their CDA players.
As reported by the Lodi News Sentinel on Saturday, the decision for high school players to not play for their respective high school teams came down from USA Soccer.
The news did not sit well with Jesuit coach Paul Rose who knows the difficult decision that has to be made by the player and their families, but it was the timing of the announcement that was the most difficult to understand.
“They were told at the beginning of the season that they could play high school soccer,” said Rose. “That this was going to be the last year that they would be allowed to play. From every angle, educationally, etc, to tell the kids halfway through the season that you cannot play, is really ridiculous. I feel bad. These kids came out, tried out for the team, and there are other kids I had to cut that wanted to make the team badly. I had four kids in this situation. This whole week has been absolutely crazy. I feel bad for the kids. They are crying, not knowing what to do.”
“This will change high school soccer as we know it,” said Granite Bay coach Steve Fischer. “These are just kids. They’re 17 years old.”
Driving the decision by USA Soccer is the risk of injuries to players they believe have a chance to ultimately play for USA Soccer, combined with the potential for wear and tear given a rigorous annual schedule if an athlete is playing both for his CDA team and his high school team.
Said Rose “Its fear, right? They told them that if you play you’ll be kicked out of the program. The argument is that this is the best way to get seen by colleges. This is the best way to get a scholarship. This is the best way to get to the national team, and so what ends up happening is that some kids are fearful that they’ll lose all these opportunities. They’re put in a tough spot.”
Some of Fischer’s former players, who are playing Division I soccer, were faced with this same decision a few years back and they decided to not play high school soccer. As Fischer tell it now, those players regret making that decision and wish they had not left their high school teams.
The questions going forward are many. First off, how will high school soccer be impacted in the years ahead? Secondly, will this same mandate coming from travel teams in such sports as softball, volleyball, and basketball?
A lot of promises are made to high school athletes whether it’s by their comp teams or by college recruiters.
Let’s just hope that in the end it’s the players who have no regrets.