MLS Next vs. high school soccer: Arizona's elite boys players choose


"Before the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board voted Friday to cancel the winter sports seasons, many boys soccer teams were already trying to reconfigure their teams.

It wasn't the pandemic that caused them to lose players and figure who would be next to pick up the slack.
It was the new Major League Soccer Next platform, a year-round developmental academy for aspiring future pro players that was taking players.

Now, in light of Friday's news, those players recruited by the MLS Next platform gives them an outlet that their high school soccer teams may not have now.

Chandler Hamilton boys soccer coach Nick Barker, who came over from Scottsdale Coronado this year, said about 15-20 players were lost to the MLS Next platform.

"Unfortunately, the club directors aren’t seeing the value of high school soccer," he said before the season was canceled by the AIA. "Many players feel a pressure to stay with their club during the high school season, even if they're not playing official matches.
"Players and parents are put in a difficult position as they try to navigate through their opportunities. At Hamilton, we’ll coach the boys who desire to be part of our program. We also respect and support the players on campus who pursue other opportunities."

Mesa boys soccer coach T.J. Hagen was looking forward to what he felt was a special team.
He said he was disappointed that his players couldn't do both the MLS Next and high school and had to choose which one to go with.
 

happy9

GOLD

"Before the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board voted Friday to cancel the winter sports seasons, many boys soccer teams were already trying to reconfigure their teams.

It wasn't the pandemic that caused them to lose players and figure who would be next to pick up the slack.
It was the new Major League Soccer Next platform, a year-round developmental academy for aspiring future pro players that was taking players.

Now, in light of Friday's news, those players recruited by the MLS Next platform gives them an outlet that their high school soccer teams may not have now.

Chandler Hamilton boys soccer coach Nick Barker, who came over from Scottsdale Coronado this year, said about 15-20 players were lost to the MLS Next platform.

"Unfortunately, the club directors aren’t seeing the value of high school soccer," he said before the season was canceled by the AIA. "Many players feel a pressure to stay with their club during the high school season, even if they're not playing official matches.
"Players and parents are put in a difficult position as they try to navigate through their opportunities. At Hamilton, we’ll coach the boys who desire to be part of our program. We also respect and support the players on campus who pursue other opportunities."

Mesa boys soccer coach T.J. Hagen was looking forward to what he felt was a special team.
He said he was disappointed that his players couldn't do both the MLS Next and high school and had to choose which one to go with.
We haven't heard the final decision yet. I suspect the AIA will reverse their decision or become irrelevant. The decision was 5-4. Schools and districts are well down the road on putting together an option in spite of the AIA's decision.

Their will be passionate debate on the merits of MLS next and HS soccer. MLS next will promise life after club at the next level. Parents will believe their kid has an opportunity to turn pro. Age old argument - quality of HS play VS club. Plenty of HS kids who also play club go on to play in college.

Oh well, something else to debate.
 

Desert Hound

PREMIER
Age old argument - quality of HS play VS club. Plenty of HS kids who also play club go on to play in college.
Well HS quality is not there in comparison to club.

And yes HS kids who play club do go on to play in college. It is however because they play club that gets them there in the vast majority of the cases. Not many kids playing only HS soccer move on to play soccer in college.
 

happy9

GOLD
Well HS quality is not there in comparison to club.

And yes HS kids who play club do go on to play in college. It is however because they play club that gets them there in the vast majority of the cases. Not many kids playing only HS soccer move on to play soccer in college.
Certainly not comparing quality. Kids play HS for completely different reasons. Besides, it's always been a natural break. ECNL kids have been doing it forever. The GDA found out the hard way the impact of no HS. MLS next is young, we will see what happens. Kids who signed early left their DA clubs and played HS their junior and senior year. It will be a personal decision I suppose. My oldest made his decision once he signed his NLI. He isn't even looking back, his senior year is that important to him. Hopefully their is a season. If not, he'll go back and train with his club. Options are good.
 
Well HS quality is not there in comparison to club.

And yes HS kids who play club do go on to play in college. It is however because they play club that gets them there in the vast majority of the cases. Not many kids playing only HS soccer move on to play soccer in college.
When does the HS season run in your State(s)

Ours (Jan-Mar) worked at first with DA until JK decided against that. The scholarship and religious schools found a way around it but many normal public students had to choose.

Repeating that mistake for MLS NEXT is silly, work with is a better approach. MLS doesn't play until March so if keeping with the first team is a priority shouldn't be a issue around here.
 

watfly

PREMIER
Certainly not comparing quality. Kids play HS for completely different reasons. Besides, it's always been a natural break. ECNL kids have been doing it forever. The GDA found out the hard way the impact of no HS. MLS next is young, we will see what happens. Kids who signed early left their DA clubs and played HS their junior and senior year. It will be a personal decision I suppose. My oldest made his decision once he signed his NLI. He isn't even looking back, his senior year is that important to him. Hopefully their is a season. If not, he'll go back and train with his club. Options are good.
I agree. I think HS soccer and Club soccer are apples and oranges. This is an oversimplification, but I think with HS soccer you're playing for your community and Club you play for yourself. I wish that MLS Next didn't have a restriction on playing High School (btw is this an official policy?). I can see if you've been identified as a candidate for the National Team or you are on an MLS Academy, but otherwise I don't see the point of it. What percentage of kids playing MLS Next fall into those categories, 5%, 10%?
 

Desert Hound

PREMIER
When does the HS season run in your State(s)

Ours (Jan-Mar) worked at first with DA until JK decided against that. The scholarship and religious schools found a way around it but many normal public students had to choose.

Repeating that mistake for MLS NEXT is silly, work with is a better approach. MLS doesn't play until March so if keeping with the first team is a priority shouldn't be a issue around here.
Normally it starts later part of November and runs through Feb for reg season with playoffs and state finishing up in early March.

This year the season starts the 18th. Finishes at the same time I believe.

GA and ECNL allow HS. Not sure about MLS NEXT.
 

happy9

GOLD
Normally it starts later part of November and runs through Feb for reg season with playoffs and state finishing up in early March.

This year the season starts the 18th. Finishes at the same time I believe.

GA and ECNL allow HS. Not sure about MLS NEXT.
MLS next doesn't allow.
 

happy9

GOLD
I agree. I think HS soccer and Club soccer are apples and oranges. This is an oversimplification, but I think with HS soccer you're playing for your community and Club you play for yourself. I wish that MLS Next didn't have a restriction on playing High School (btw is this an official policy?). I can see if you've been identified as a candidate for the National Team or you are on an MLS Academy, but otherwise I don't see the point of it. What percentage of kids playing MLS Next fall into those categories, 5%, 10%?
MLS next is still in the honeymoon phase. A few years of HS attrition may change their mind. GDA was losing girls once they signed or once they realized all of the positives involved with playing HS sports. "Quality" of play is the last thing they use to justify play HS sports. Plenty of multi sport athletes as well that left the GDA (basketball players, etc). Before folding, the GDA was going to allow girls to play HS starting the fall of 2020.
 

happy9

GOLD
When does the HS season run in your State(s)

Ours (Jan-Mar) worked at first with DA until JK decided against that. The scholarship and religious schools found a way around it but many normal public students had to choose.

Repeating that mistake for MLS NEXT is silly, work with is a better approach. MLS doesn't play until March so if keeping with the first team is a priority shouldn't be a issue around here.
MLS next teams in AZ will continue to play friendlies until the season starts (if they can get teams to come in and play). For this year anyway, the pressure of playing in these friendlies will keep players on MSL next teams. I think it's silly and they are possibly shooting themselves in the foot, trying too hard to act like a real MLS academy team.
 

watfly

PREMIER
MLS next teams in AZ will continue to play friendlies until the season starts (if they can get teams to come in and play). For this year anyway, the pressure of playing in these friendlies will keep players on MSL next teams. I think it's silly and they are possibly shooting themselves in the foot, trying too hard to act like a real MLS academy team.
What have the Arizona MLS Next teams been told about when the season will start? As I mentioned in another post, we've been told SW won't start until September. Anyone willing to meet halfway in Yuma for some friendlies?:D:D
 

happy9

GOLD
What have the Arizona MLS Next teams been told about when the season will start? As I mentioned in another post, we've been told SW won't start until September. Anyone willing to meet halfway in Yuma for some friendlies?:D:D
Ahh,lovely Yuma.

From what I've been told, teams can expect the same menu as the fall - League play between AZ teams (RLS, PRFC, Del Sol, Barca) and whatever friendlies that can be scheduled with socal teams. Dallas cup is on the table as is another tournament in FL (escapes my brain right now).

The HS season will go on, but without the MLS next players. The ECNL players will do what they normally do - play HS.
 

46n2

SILVER ELITE
Can anyone confirm or deny what the real age groups will be in the MLS next Ive heard it starts from u15 and up and they are not doing ulittles
 
Can anyone confirm or deny what the real age groups will be in the MLS next Ive heard it starts from u15 and up and they are not doing ulittles
U15 & U17 are the two age groups that all the MLS & non have teams.

U13, U14 mostly non MLS clubs & select areas that where/are open for a few MLS clubs that put teams in.

U16,U19 going w/ 9 geo brackets 7 which are playing mostly non MLS but some areas do see 3 or so MLS in a bracket.
 
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