Can I Play High School Soccer?
Article By Michael Flores, U17 boys coach, Ahwatukee
We are in the part of the season where Challenge FC players aged U15-U18 compete in high school soccer! During tryout season, I was asked by a U14 boys parent if they should move their kid to <insert club name here> so they have a better chance at playing high school soccer. You’ll find varying opinions on this as you will most soccer topics. Many kids of high school age will play club soccer in the fall and then high school in the winter. And plenty of paid club coaches will claim that the path to a high school soccer team is through their club. Here is my take, based on my own team’s experience, the Challenge FC Ahwatukee 99b team.
First, what does it take to play high school (boy's) soccer?
Be in peak shape. You are competing with 40, 50, even 75 others for a spot on the varsity team, and that’s a lot of numbers for high school coaches to fairly consider. They have to find a way to quickly weed out the weak links or the uncommitted players, and they often do that by running you into the ground early on in tryouts. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how many juggles you can do, how many goals you scored for your club team.
Know the game. Remember it’s a tryout. It’s not practice. It’s a tryout. You do need to stand out. You do need to be a little selfish, but that doesn’t mean you purposely hog the ball or try to bring others down. The BEST players make players around them better. They give better service, they move more off the ball to give options, and they communicate in a positive way. But you can do all of that, and still show off your own abilities,
So the question becomes, does CFC provide you with the ability to be in peak shape AND provide you with training to have skills that allow you to stand out from others? In short, and without a doubt, YES! Our physio training is better than any I have seen from other area clubs. We provide 2 physical training days per week as options to each of our club players. Second, our coaches are all certified in the same way as other club coaches. The only difference, is that our coaches are volunteers. Never confuse the difference between a paid coach and a certified coach. Other clubs try to blur those definitions.
So, how did the Challenge FC players do? Here is the details for the 2015-16 season:
Desert Vista - 6 players on team. 4 juniors, 2 sophomores on varsity team. Two of those players were playing on the varsity since they were freshmen, Greg Samuels (GK) and Jordan Hall (Def). Currently, DV is the #16 team in Division 1. This was a team that surprised a lot of people this season.
Mountain Pointe - 6 players on team. 1 senior, 4 juniors and 1 sophomore on varsity. Chris Boyle (Mid) and Drew Perez (Striker) are captains of the varsity team and both have been playing on the varsity team since they were freshmen. Chris and Zach Jakpor (Def) were voted “best XI” players at the Arizona Soccer Showcase at the end of December. Matt Logan has been playing on varsity since he was a sophomore.
Corona del Sol - 3 players on team. 4 juniors attend Corona, Parker Marschel (Mid) made varsity as a sophomore but elected to sit this season out. The other 3 juniors are on JV. Matt Sitz (Mid), Nathan Flores (Def), and Danny Martinez (Mid) are captains of the JV team and Nathan Flores has suited up for varsity a few times this season. Currently, Corona is the #6 team in Division 1.
Brophy – 1 player, a junior. Zach Abeln (Striker) is on varsity for the #1 team in Division 1 with 11 wins, 1 draw and 0 losses.
Horizon Honors - 1 player, a junior. Alex Weixler (Mid) is on varsity for the #13 team in Division IV and is one of the captains of the team.
Therefore, nine players will get experience in the AIA State Championship tournament that starts Feb 3, 2016! Unfortunatly, Mountain Pointe was not able to qualify for this event, but they have great promise for next season. Each player has succeeded in their own way and each has enjoyed the chance to play against one another's schools. It's their equivalent to playing for their national team vs. their club team. This part was one of my favorite aspects of High School soccer when I was this age! Whether club, school or wherever a young aspiring soccer player plays, they must do so where they are supported, encouraged and provided opportunity to mature as players and young adults.
Round 1 of the championships will see Desert Vista vs. Brophy and Corona vs. Chandler in Division 1, round 1. Should be fun to see how it unfolds, I could not be more proud of each of these young men. Wish them all luck!