Articles

2008

Jay Martin. Cold Hard Facts: Just How Accessible is the College Scholarship Many Are Pitching? Soccer Journal. May-June 2008.

“While there is nothing wrong with using soccer to help a soccer player get into one of the best schools–and perhaps get a scholarship–everyone involved should be realistic about the situation.”

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Frank Pace. College Recruiting. Soccer Journal. May-June 2008.

The recruiting process has become so accelerated that players are committing before they’ve taken their SATs; the official visit has become obsolete, and most high school college advising program have been taken out of the decision-making process. At Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada, Calif., where I coach, our college advisers often call me for updates on what our kids are planning regarding college. Commitments are made before our high school advising process even begins for seniors.

“It’s insane,” says Purdue women’s coach Rob Klatte.

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Bob Graham. Have We Killed Our Golden Goose? Soccer Coach. May-June 2008.

The soccer fields in my city are being taken over by lacrosse players; few American kids are kicking a ball around or playing a pickup game for fun. And when I see how many high school varsity soccer teams have been decimated by club soccer, the question has arisen in my mind: “Did we kill the Golden Goose?”

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Michael Sokolove. The Uneven Playing Field. The New York Times Magazine. May 11, 2008.

Girls and boys diverge in their physical abilities as they enter puberty and move through adolescence. Higher levels of testosterone allow boys to add muscle and, even without much effort on their part, get stronger. In turn, they become less flexible. Girls, as their estrogen levels increase, tend to add fat rather than muscle. They must train rigorously to get significantly stronger. The influence of estrogen makes girls’ ligaments lax, and they outperform boys in tests of overall body flexibility — a performance advantage in many sports, but also an injury risk when not accompanied by sufficient muscle to keep joints in stable, safe positions. Girls tend to run differently than boys — in a less-flexed, more-upright posture — which may put them at greater risk when changing directions and landing from jumps. Because of their wider hips, they are more likely to be knock-kneed — yet another suspected risk factor.

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Bill Pennington. It’s Not An Adventure, It’s A Job. The New York Times. March 12, 2008.

Dozens of scholarship athletes at N.C.A.A. Division I institutions said in interviews that they had underestimated how taxing and hectic their lives would be playing college sports. They also said others share a common misperception that athletes lead a privileged existence.

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Bill Pennington. Recruits Clamor For More From Coaches With Less. The New York Times. March 11, 2008.

Every coach interviewed said the battle over scholarship dollars would go more smoothly if parents and athletes did their homework and knew how few full scholarships the N.C.A.A. allowed in each sport (11.7 for baseball, 12 for field hockey, for example) and how few Division I institutions actually funded sports to those levels (far less than half). Most said there was an overemphasis on the potential financial benefit of a child’s athletic success.

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Bill Pennington. Athletic Scholarships: Expectations Lose to Reality. The New York Times. March 10, 2008.

But the expectations of parents and athletes can differ sharply from the financial and cultural realities of college athletics, according to an analysis by The New York Times of previously undisclosed data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and interviews with dozens of college officials.

2007

Bill Pennington. Division III Seeks Harmony Between Field and Classroom. The New York Times. February 13, 2007.

What started as a group of unhappy parents griping amongst themselves has ballooned into multiple investigations, an observer attending every girls varsity basketball practice and a committee that will pick the team.

2006

C.W. Nevius. Parents vs. Coach: Battle Goes Wild. San Francisco Chronicle. October 22, 2006.

What started as a group of unhappy parents griping amongst themselves has ballooned into multiple investigations, an observer attending every girls varsity basketball practice and a committee that will pick the team.

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Shari Roan. Narrowing The Field. Los Angeles Times. October 2, 2006.

What is happening at the high school level is, we’re principally satisfying kids who are elite athletes — the best, the most skilled, the most developed in their particular sport,” says Bruce Svare, a critic of the nation’s youth sports system and director of the National Institute for Sports Reform, based in Selkirk, N.Y. But, Svare adds, “we’re forgetting everyone else in terms of their health and fitness needs.

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Laura Pappano. It Takes Muscle. The New York Times. July 30, 2006.

The steady march toward more and better play is claiming more time, energy and attention. Once extracurricular activities, even low-profile sports like softball and rifle dominate students’ social circles, schedules and even majors.

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Rick Reilly. The Parent Trap. Sports Illustrated. July 24, 2006.

Since this loony lacrosse coach scheduled an extra practice at 6 a.m. every day, our little Ashley is so tired at night, we do her homework. And we’re gettin’ C’s!

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Jennifer Alsever. A New Competitive Sport: Grooming the Child Athlete. The New York Times. June 25, 2006.

As the nation’s love of sports grows, more children are focusing on one sport at an early age — sometimes as young as 4 — and practicing it year-round. To keep up, parents spend thousands of dollars for team memberships, personal training and even private sports schools in the hope of turning their children into high-caliber athletes or landing college scholarships for them.

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Tina Kelley. It’s Goalkeeper vs. Bookkeeper as I.R.S. Discovers Youth Soccer. The New York Times. June 25, 2006.

The audit, which became public this month and is now under appeal, was not just a rude awakening for the association. It has raised this deeper, almost theological question relevant to many youth sports clubs across the country: Are they growing too fast for their parent managers to keep up?

2005

Tom FitzGerald. When Is It Time To Pick Just One Sport? SFgate.com. October 30, 2005.

A newspaper article that discusses the trend toward athletic specialization.

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Tom FitzGerald. Advice From College Coaches. SFgate.com. October 30, 2005.

What’s the best way to try to land a spot on a college soccer team?

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Eli Saslow. High Schools Address the Cruelest Cut. Washington Post. August 22, 2005.

Pressure to make team forces new methods upon imperfect process.

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Frank Pace. Can’t We All Just Get Along? Soccer Journal. July/August 2005

The case for why club and high school soccer can peacefully co-exist.

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Jay Martin. Burnout Feedback. Soccer Journal. March/April 2005.

Two coaches respond to the Journal’s comments on player burnout.

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Bill Pennington. Doctors See A Big Rise in Injuries for Young Athletes. The New York Times. February 22, 2005.

Around the country doctors in pediatric sports medicine say it is as if they have happened upon a new childhood disease, and the cause is the overaggressive culture of organized youth sports.

2004

Bill Pennington. Title IX Trickles Down to Girls of Generation Z. The New York Times. June 29, 2004.