So Cal Recruiting from 2010-2019

MarkM

SILVER ELITE
Sure...in separate posts...first, I think what's most relevant to this original post is that US Soccer may finally (hopefully) be recognizing that early maturers -- ie, the big/fast boys and girls at the younger ages -- don't = success on the field. The relative age effect was first documented in Canadian Junior Hockey. But more detailed research demonstrates that while the older/more mature kids do have a temporary edge in endurance and speed, that doesn't carry over into winning. And if US Soccer is concerned with finding players to help them win games (as they should), they should id and develop the players with better skill. The original poster seems to be relaying this in his story--a player that was fast and physical but not as skilled. Here's a recent study that goes into a lot of detail (probably more than you need), so excerpts below.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254614000635

Combining a database of birth month and year with the season ending records provided a look at whether that assumption actually resulted in a better record. From Table 3, it is obvious that simply having a team populated with players born earlier in the birth year is no guarantee of having a successful season as evidenced by the lack of a correlation between average team birth date vs. winning percentages and scoring. The lack of any discernable pattern would seem to indicate there is no systematic benefit of having a team of early maturing players.

If the best solution is awareness of the problem, showing coaches that selecting players based on maturation within a particular birth year has no impact on seasonal outcome might be sufficient to convince coaches to focus more on each player's soccer performance and less on each player's size.
Isn't this just an article that supports the theory of bio-banding? It doesn't say anything about the inability to determine future success at early ages. It just says that coaches in the particular pool studied tend to focus on the wrong factors (physical maturity). Bio-banding would eliminate that natural bias.
 

Avanti

BRONZE
Nobody is suggesting to fish blindly. Of course if you’re trying to fish for a future pro player at 13 you’ll look in the sea of 13 year old studs rather than the sea of below average 13 year olds... but the point is that fishing in that sea of “studs” is still a massive crapshoot where the odds are millions to one. If your kid is a starter on a top team at 13, the odds are still 2 to 1 that they won’t even be playing soccer AT ALL in 7 years. Those are such long odds that it demonstrates the futility of even labeling a 13 year old as a “stud” in the first place. I have another great article that was posted on this forum that addresses this... will post later.
I agree, and that was part of my message above. The other part is that the players that get to the top do it after a series (in time) of selections, in which the better players usually move forward at each step. In men's soccer, which is played at a very high level, you never have the case of a 16 year old who has played soccer only casually, devotes to soccer at 16, and then makes it to the top.
 

timmyh

SILVER ELITE
I know lots of players who were elite at age 12 who weren't all that special at age 18.

I don't know any players who were elite at age 18 who weren't at least pretty good at age 12.

I am sure there are rare exceptions, but while being amazing at age 12 isn't a guarantee that one will be still be a standout at age 18, being at least very good at age 12 is almost a prerequisite.
 

MarkM

SILVER ELITE
Nobody is suggesting to fish blindly. Of course if you’re trying to fish for a future pro player at 13 you’ll look in the sea of 13 year old studs rather than the sea of below average 13 year olds... but the point is that fishing in that sea of “studs” is still a massive crapshoot where the odds are millions to one. If your kid is a starter on a top team at 13, the odds are still 2 to 1 that they won’t even be playing soccer AT ALL in 7 years. Those are such long odds that it demonstrates the futility of even labeling a 13 year old as a “stud” in the first place. I have another great article that was posted on this forum that addresses this... will post later.
Nobody is suggesting that you can pick the next Mia Hamm at 10. But you can certainly start cutting the wheat from the chaff. And if true, then there is the ability to assess future soccer performance at an early age in very meaningful ways.
 

Avanti

BRONZE
You're making this way too complicated...my point is simple (and is backed up by science as the Patriots doc discusses)...long term soccer success/performance does not begin to reveal itself until 15yrs old or later. Bale was almost cut at 15yrs because most at Southampton lost confidence in his ability. They waited for him to complete his growth spurt and were rewarded. That's an example at the highest level.

If you are disagreeing with me (and the science) then you are suggesting that the best players at 10yrs old will be the best at 15-18yrs old. I think many on this board can tell you that is certainly not the case. Sometimes, yes. But reliably predictable (which is the point of the post)? No.
You have mentioned three times that a player that both debuts in a major professional team and plays internationally at 16 supports your late blooming theory. You need to find a better example.
You misquote me. What I am saying is that in men's soccer, the players that get to the top are very talented at 13-15, and they get there by working/playing since much earlier. I also say that talent can be and is evaluated at that age. Unfortunately, most of those very talented kids don't make it.
You use your late blooming theory and your assumed impossibility to evaluate talent to defend multisport dedication in the teenage years, HS soccer and whatever else. You also cite some general studies (are they soccer specific?) to defend it. On the other hand, I mentioned that the people that have the know-how and are betting their money on this (professional soccer clubs) do exactly the opposite: they focus on finding talent at an early age and develop it, even if they know that only a few will make it. Those kids put an insane number of hours in training. I wonder which one of the two approaches is the correct one to develop players. I know that Americans and Canadians are very smart while most of the rest of the world is chopped liver, however I am not fully convinced yet.
 

oh canada

SILVER ELITE
Isn't this just an article that supports the theory of bio-banding? It doesn't say anything about the inability to determine future success at early ages. It just says that coaches in the particular pool studied tend to focus on the wrong factors (physical maturity). Bio-banding would eliminate that natural bias.
correct...i linked this study as it's relevant to the original poster's comments re his dd being passed over for more technical kids (or maybe it was in one of his other threads)
 

oh canada

SILVER ELITE
You have mentioned three times that a player that both debuts in a major professional team and plays internationally at 16 supports your late blooming theory. You need to find a better example.
You misquote me. What I am saying is that in men's soccer, the players that get to the top are very talented at 13-15, and they get there by working/playing since much earlier. I also say that talent can be and is evaluated at that age. Unfortunately, most of those very talented kids don't make it.
You use your late blooming theory and your assumed impossibility to evaluate talent to defend multisport dedication in the teenage years, HS soccer and whatever else. You also cite some general studies (are they soccer specific?) to defend it. On the other hand, I mentioned that the people that have the know-how and are betting their money on this (professional soccer clubs) do exactly the opposite: they focus on finding talent at an early age and develop it, even if they know that only a few will make it. Those kids put an insane number of hours in training. I wonder which one of the two approaches is the correct one to develop players. I know that Americans and Canadians are very smart while most of the rest of the world is chopped liver, however I am not fully convinced yet.
Ok, last try...forget about Bale if need be...you have 500 youth soccer players...all of them good and have been playing for some time...let's say half the girls/boys in DA...the science says you should wait until they are 15yrs old (at the youngest) before making any further judgments about long term performance and ability. Make sense?
 

Avanti

BRONZE
Ok, last try...forget about Bale if need be...you have 500 youth soccer players...all of them good and have been playing for some time...let's say half the girls/boys in DA...the science says you should wait until they are 15yrs old (at the youngest) before making any further judgments about long term performance and ability. Make sense?
Whatever.
And that is not how you started this. You said that "you can't even begin to assess ability until 15yrs for girls and 17yrs for boys", which is a perplexing statement, as suggested by the work of professional academies all over the world which start working with kids at much earlier ages. They must be all wrong while the oh canada blogger is right. It is difficult to forget about your use of Bale as a proof of your theory, very few early bloomers have played professionally as early a 16 years old, that was a big blunder of yours.
 

MarkM

SILVER ELITE
Ok, last try...forget about Bale if need be...you have 500 youth soccer players...all of them good and have been playing for some time...let's say half the girls/boys in DA...the science says you should wait until they are 15yrs old (at the youngest) before making any further judgments about long term performance and ability. Make sense?
How do you know if the 500 youth soccer players are good "if you can't even begin to assess ability until 15yrs for girls and 17yrs for boys"? You already made an assessment of their ability! You already cut out the thousands of other players in the pool!
 

Tomnchar

SILVER
I know lots of players who were elite at age 12 who weren't all that special at age 18.

I don't know any players who were elite at age 18 who weren't at least pretty good at age 12.

I am sure there are rare exceptions, but while being amazing at age 12 isn't a guarantee that one will be still be a standout at age 18, being at least very good at age 12 is almost a prerequisite.

Alex Morgan didn't even begin playing soccer until she was 14 years old, however, she may be the exception.
 
@Avanti @MarkM @oh canada
Here are three articles that I've read that support the argument that success at a young age is not a good predictor of success as an adult. These are soccer specific articles backed by research, not simply the biased generalities of a soccer dad.
https://thecoachingconversation.com/early-success-in-sports-future-success/
https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/561707/?__twitter_impression=true
https://changingthegameproject.com/our-biggest-mistake-talent-selection-instead-of-talent-identification/

I know that it may seem very counter intuitive to learn that children who are absolute stars, dominating their peers, exhibiting rare talent and ability at the age of 10 are actually not significantly statistically more likely to achieve adult success than their average peers, but this is the truth by numbers. Think of the lottery analogy I used earlier: If you do not play the lotto, you have zero chance of winning. A kid who doesn't play soccer has zero shot at playing pro or making a National Team. If you do play the lotto, and buy just one ticket, your chances are infinitely better than the one who did not purchase a number, right? This is true... but those odds are still so ridiculous (one in 300 million) that they might as well be zero. Think of the one ticket holder as being the average youth club player. Now go out and buy 100 tickets. You are now 100 times more likely to win than the 1 ticket holder... but guess what your odds are now??? ONE IN THREE MILLION. Think of the 100 ticket holder as that U12 DA star who has NT scouts checking them out. Are his/her chances better than the others? Why sure. But if you look at everything that the parents and the kids and the clubs are investing in this one in three million shot, you suddenly understand what a bad investment it is. My original point in responding to the OP is that he clearly got caught up in "The Dream." And that sucks because he put a whole lot of emotional and financial investment in his kid's youth soccer career - largely because the coaches and the scouts and the pipe dream that everyone sells about success in youth sports is really just a mirage for the more than hundreds of thousands of kids (maybe even millions globally) who are given labels like "elite" at 10 - 12 years of age. And what the advocates of "separating the wheat from the chaff" at 12-13 are missing is that the whole activity of doing so is insanely inefficient! To the point that even those professionals who get paid to do it are really not any better at picking the next superstar as they are at getting hit by lighting. Sure, if you stand in enough thunderstorms it might happen... but not because it's a good process. It's just pure numbers. Sure the European clubs eventually groom some of their 12 year old prodigies into pros, but that could be simple confirmation bias at work. It doesn't mean that kids who got overlooked at 12 could not have achieved the same or better by age 23, but they weren't in the system. They didn't get the same opportunities.

HOWEVER, just like another poster said, "So you're saying there's a chance??" Haha! Yes, there is. The brilliance of the line "So you're saying there's a chance?" from "Dumb and Dumber" (let that sink in, soccer parents) is that it simultaneously speaks to the delusion of all of us soccer parents so blinded by our love of our children and visions of glory that we can't embrace reality... but on the flip side, also the sort of optimism and self-confidence that is actually necessary to achieve greatness! I mean, if you don't believe in yourself, no one else ever will, so you have to start somewhere! Why not buy that lotto ticket if you can? In the end, I agree with some of what both sides are saying. If your goal is to be a great adult player, being a great 12 year old player is definitely more fulfilling than being a slightly above average 12 year old player and it won't hurt your chances... but it is not a prerequisite for greatness and it certainly doesn't guarantee you anything other than some amazing memories.

And in the end, that should be enough for all parents to want for their kids.
 

CopaMundial

SILVER ELITE
Alex Morgan didn't even begin playing soccer until she was 14 years old, however, she may be the exception.
That's a common misconception. She didn't start playing "organized/club" soccer till 14, but she was playing soccer previously as well as other sports. It's not like she didn't kick a ball till 14.
 

Tomnchar

SILVER
That's a common misconception. She didn't start playing "organized/club" soccer till 14, but she was playing soccer previously as well as other sports. It's not like she didn't kick a ball till 14.
Didn't say she had never kicked a ball but she probably wasn't being looked at as a talented player at 10 or 12 since she had really only played for fun. Again, she may be the exception.
 

Avanti

BRONZE
@Avanti @MarkM @oh canada
Here are three articles that I've read that support the argument that success at a young age is not a good predictor of success as an adult. These are soccer specific articles backed by research, not simply the biased generalities of a soccer dad.
https://thecoachingconversation.com/early-success-in-sports-future-success/
https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/561707/?__twitter_impression=true
https://changingthegameproject.com/our-biggest-mistake-talent-selection-instead-of-talent-identification/

I know that it may seem very counter intuitive to learn that children who are absolute stars, dominating their peers, exhibiting rare talent and ability at the age of 10 are actually not significantly statistically more likely to achieve adult success than their average peers, but this is the truth by numbers. Think of the lottery analogy I used earlier: If you do not play the lotto, you have zero chance of winning. A kid who doesn't play soccer has zero shot at playing pro or making a National Team. If you do play the lotto, and buy just one ticket, your chances are infinitely better than the one who did not purchase a number, right? This is true... but those odds are still so ridiculous (one in 300 million) that they might as well be zero. Think of the one ticket holder as being the average youth club player. Now go out and buy 100 tickets. You are now 100 times more likely to win than the 1 ticket holder... but guess what your odds are now??? ONE IN THREE MILLION. Think of the 100 ticket holder as that U12 DA star who has NT scouts checking them out. Are his/her chances better than the others? Why sure. But if you look at everything that the parents and the kids and the clubs are investing in this one in three million shot, you suddenly understand what a bad investment it is. My original point in responding to the OP is that he clearly got caught up in "The Dream." And that sucks because he put a whole lot of emotional and financial investment in his kid's youth soccer career - largely because the coaches and the scouts and the pipe dream that everyone sells about success in youth sports is really just a mirage for the more than hundreds of thousands of kids (maybe even millions globally) who are given labels like "elite" at 10 - 12 years of age. And what the advocates of "separating the wheat from the chaff" at 12-13 are missing is that the whole activity of doing so is insanely inefficient! To the point that even those professionals who get paid to do it are really not any better at picking the next superstar as they are at getting hit by lighting. Sure, if you stand in enough thunderstorms it might happen... but not because it's a good process. It's just pure numbers. Sure the European clubs eventually groom some of their 12 year old prodigies into pros, but that could be simple confirmation bias at work. It doesn't mean that kids who got overlooked at 12 could not have achieved the same or better by age 23, but they weren't in the system. They didn't get the same opportunities.

HOWEVER, just like another poster said, "So you're saying there's a chance??" Haha! Yes, there is. The brilliance of the line "So you're saying there's a chance?" from "Dumb and Dumber" (let that sink in, soccer parents) is that it simultaneously speaks to the delusion of all of us soccer parents so blinded by our love of our children and visions of glory that we can't embrace reality... but on the flip side, also the sort of optimism and self-confidence that is actually necessary to achieve greatness! I mean, if you don't believe in yourself, no one else ever will, so you have to start somewhere! Why not buy that lotto ticket if you can? In the end, I agree with some of what both sides are saying. If your goal is to be a great adult player, being a great 12 year old player is definitely more fulfilling than being a slightly above average 12 year old player and it won't hurt your chances... but it is not a prerequisite for greatness and it certainly doesn't guarantee you anything other than some amazing memories.

And in the end, that should be enough for all parents to want for their kids.
MT: thanks for the detailed comment. I agree with you regarding the insignificant chance that a "superstar" 10 year old has of making it as an adult, and therefore the craziness of the father that started this thread. We all agree on that. But this is not what we are discussing now. The current discussion is about:
1] whether the statement "you can't even begin to assess ability until 15yrs for girls and 17yrs for boys" is true
and 2] since this is apparently true, there is no point in dedicating yourself "fully" to soccer before you are 17 years old. We are better off if US Soccer does not scout kids before 15/17, kids play soccer in HS and other sports instead of training/playing soccer at the highest level possible, etc.

Statement 1] is obviously false. Regarding 2], if the boy does not put in hours since an early age, the boy has zero chance of making it. The main reason for this is that skills with your feet, something that is not very natural for human beings, are essential in soccer and this simply requires both many hours of training/playing and starting at an early age. Plus many, many boys in many countries are putting in those hours, and you have to compete against those boys. Soccer is not football, where athleticism can make an Antonio Gates a superstar even if he barely played football before becoming a pro. If you could get by with a late start and athleticism were what matters most in soccer, the US men team would have won the last 20 world cups. In the women's game you could get by with a late start and lack of full commitment until recently because the game overseas was at underground level, but that is not the case any longer.
 

oh canada

SILVER ELITE
How do you know if the 500 youth soccer players are good "if you can't even begin to assess ability until 15yrs for girls and 17yrs for boys"? You already made an assessment of their ability! You already cut out the thousands of other players in the pool!
Not sure if you're serious or just trying to argue to argue. It would help if you weren't so literal. Of course anyone can look at a 10 year old player and see that kid uses both feet, that kid doesn't, that kid is an accurate passer, that kid isn't. That's so obvious, it's like writing the sun will come up tomorrow. Duh. But my posts are always written at a level above stating the obvious.

What we're discussing is meaningful performance judgments of players for long term investment and success. College, National teams, professional clubs, etc. At what age can the players begin to be reliably assessed? If you listened to the podcast, you heard the expert state that "in soccer, the data shows the age of measurable performance breakouts is 15." (hockey is 13 and triathlon is 20) So, what does that mean to you then?

In context of this thread, I don't believe this player is 15yrs even now. Unfortunately, Dad made all kinds of assessments of his kid's ability and future in soccer much too early. Hence the utter disappointment now.
 

Supermodel56

SILVER ELITE
Ya’ll are crazy.

Lemme just sum this up for ya’ll so we can move on:

1) True, just because you’re a superstar at age 13 and under, it is no indication that you’ve got what it takes to be a pro or Olympian.

2) True, most superstars at that young age don’t make it - but that is more because pros and olympians are the elite of the elite and it’s a very selective group. To argue that being a young superstar is a contraindication of future success is completely wrong logic. Most teams in a tournament are NOT going to win first place.

3) Most olympians and pros were involved in their sport at a young age and performing at a decently high level. The natural talent was there in some form or another - as with all kids and some more than others, it just needed refinement. Take Alex Morgan, for example, her natural talent was there, but since she only played rec, she didn’t have the technicals... but her natural abilities allowed her to pick that up.

4) Do not discount hard work and commitment, that’s where the real separation begins. After a certain level, most athletes are serviceable, it comes down to who’s putting in the hours to be the best.

5) You MAY never be a pro or make the national team. But then again, if you don’t believe you can, don’t invest the time and hard work, or don’t have the support system, you WILL never make it... ain’t nothing wrong with a dad who believes in their kid and willing to invest to see how far he/she can go. Each family has to decide for themselves if it’s worth pursuing.

6) Taking pleasure in another dad/family realizing that their kid doesn’t have it is a real asshole move. To those parents who believed in their kid and invested the time and energy, kudos to you. That’s sure as hell a lot better than your kid growing up thinking you DON’T believe in them or won’t support them in their passions. And personally I don’t think it’s a waste of time nor resources - because it teaches a kid how to pursue a dream. It’s not so much the end result, but understanding the process and what it takes to be the best. They may never make the national team, but once that door is closed, they’ll know what it’s going to take to succeed in the next endeavor. Just think, no matter what you pursue, the odds are you will NOT be the best in the world. But does that mean you shouldn’t go 100% after what you love to do? By not helping your kid pursue this dream, you’re basically teaching them to not commit to anything simply because there is the risk of disappointment.
 
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