The New York Times wrote an interesting article recently about collegiate recruiting trends in women’s soccer. Over the past few years, coaches have been starting their recruiting processes earlier, going after players as young as 13 and 14 before they even set foot in high school. One of the reasons for this trend is that girls mature sooner than boys. A coach can get a good idea of a female player’s ability that won’t drastically change by the time they start competing at the collegiate level. Another reason for early recruiting is Title IX, a federal law that says that there must be equal spending on men’s and women’s sports. Women’s scholarship dollars have increased, but the talent pool has not grown as quickly, which has left coaches scrambling for good players.
For the most part, this early recruitment process is regarded negatively by both parents and collegiate coaches. Many believe that making such an early decision to college is psychologically detrimental to young players. The coaches agree, but if they refuse to recruit the younger players, another coach could sweep in and grab those players. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to the problem. It seems a bit crazy that an 8th grader should have to make such a significant and difficult life decision. What do you guys think about all of this?
To read more about the statistics in college recruiting and hear what some parents, coaches and players have to say, check out the full article here.
Image courtesy of Sarah Beth Glicksteen for the New York Times