Why I feel DA is the superior league

MarkM

SILVER ELITE
Oops.....then that counts toward development that you don’t get in DA (assuming of course you don’t get hurt). So if you add up the real difference in days/spent with your club “developing,” the difference is probably minimal.
You play more club games in DA. You play more overall games if you play ECNL and HS. I think most would agree that the HS games don't count (or even detract) from development.

There are two fewer days of training in ECNL each week. Some would argue that is unnecessary and leads to burnout. And some ECNL kids spend those two days training independently. But no one would argue that there is a minimal difference in days spent with the club between DA and ECNL.
 

timmyh

SILVER ELITE
On the surface it appears very straightforward and logical, but you would have to add up the real number of days/months difference in training days between DA and other leagues. For example, doesn’t DA take 2 months off anyway? DA also limits the number of games played for injury prevention, so if you play 10-20 more games than DA while playing in another league
I don't think the quantity of the training is their point as much as the quality. I think the contention is that, with rare exception, the dozen+ months spent training in the high school environment is less likely to help a player maximize the fulfillment of their potential than a player who is instead spending that time in a top-level club environment.

The developmental difference of 3-4 months per year may not be huge (or worth the trade-off for skipping HS soccer for many), but it pretty inarguably exists and may become quite important if foreign players start increasing the competition for college roster spots. .
 
I don't think the quantity of the training is their point as much as the quality. I think the contention is that, with rare exception, the dozen+ months spent training in the high school environment is less likely to help a player maximize the fulfillment of their potential than a player who is instead spending that time in a top-level club environment.

The developmental difference of 3-4 months per year may not be huge (or worth the trade-off for skipping HS soccer for many), but it pretty inarguably exists and may become quite important if foreign players start increasing the competition for college roster spots. .
No, the question is how much more time do you spend training with a DA team vs. your own club team (apples to apples) because of the time HS takes away from training with your own club team. If you compare apples to apples, you probably train about 4 weeks per year more with a DA team than a regular club team. I would argue that 4 weeks or 1 month a year is not that significant.

Here’s my formula and please correct me if I’m wrong. DA trains for 10 months and a Discovery level team trains for 8 months (I’ll use our club team as an example), so that’s 2 months difference per year. However, DA plays 16-30 games/yr (based on Q&A from website), while we play approx 50 (league-12; crl-12; thxgvg showcsse -3; vegas -4; man city 3/4; surf cup-4; blues cup-3/4; scrimmages about 5/6). So that’s at least around 12-15 more games than DA which amounts to about a months worth of training (i.e. 12-15 practice sessions). So yes, DA trains more than a regular team but it only translates to about 1 more month per year, not 4.

Also for that extra month of training, a regular club player puts in 4 months of high school. It’s nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be, but it certainly is not DA. However, it is still touches on the ball almost everyday of the week.

So if there is a developmental difference, it’s not because of high school, it will be because of the difference in the club team themselves. If you train with a very good coach in a non DA team, you’re only training about 1 month less with your club team than a DA team trains with theirs.
 

End of the Line

SILVER ELITE
Copied and pasted the below from the NTX forum in a discussion of High School play and ECNL's college pathway.
It's an interesting take on where things may be heading:


There's a lot of evidence that the world (mostly Europe) is closing the gap and that they are producing much greater quantities of women soccer players. In the current men's college game, about 3 out of 20 players are foreign born. In the women's college game, about 1 out of 20 players are foreign born. That higher percentage of males makes sense when looking at historical male/female output for players around the world. Those percentages are for all college soccer teams, and anecdotally, it seems to me the percentages of foreign-born players for Power 5 colleges are higher (perhaps they have the recruiting budget to widen their searches).

I see that number rising for the women significantly in the very near future. In the next decade, because of the boom in the number of quality international soccer players along with the fact that women have a fraction of the professional prospects that men have (thus making an American college scholarship quite an attractive proposition), it would not be surprising at all if that percentage rises from 1 in 20 to something like 4 or 5 in 20. If that happens, then those roster spots will obviously be at the expense of American players. The competition for scholarships for US players will increase dramatically.

The DA believes that spending 3 or 4 month for each of four straight years to leave the club and play high school soccer comes at a developmental cost to the individual player. I think everyone, even the most die-hard ECNL fan, would agree with that contention. With rare exception it's almost certainly true, but such commitment comes with an obvious cost. That cost is the very reasonable belief that the life experience and fun of playing high school soccer is well worth the minor developmental loss that comes with choosing to play in the generally inferior environment. I think even the most die-hard DA stans see the merit in that personal decision for many players. That tradeoff is now easier to justify because the average ECNL player still currently has quality collegiate options.

Putting all that together, though, the competition for college roster spots and money is about to get much more competitive as the rest of the world continues to improve the quality and quantity of its players who will be looking to play at an American college. If the DA is producing players who have more fully fulfilled their potential and are better equipped to fill the fewer spots available, then I think simple math would suggest that ECNL players will be getting the short end of the stick of being the ones shut out of those 3 or 4 roster spots that will probably soon be going to international players. It seems likely to me that the consequences of taking a total of 12-16 months off from a high-level club environment to play high school instead of club soccer may become a bit more stark in the near future than it is now.

Men's college coaches long ago come to the conclusion that boy players who have been in the DA environment are generally better equipped to be an impact college player. That day is likely coming for the women's game, too. And combined with the likely influx of impact international players, it seems to me the college scholarship squeeze could be coming for ECNL and especially other "independent" players.
The flaw in this, and with USSF's thinking, is that it wrongly assumes there is one best path for everyone. Sure, many will become marginally better if they skip HS and train with their club all year, but they can do that anyway. But forcing kids to skip HS if they want to play high level comp soccer just drives many kids to do something else because training 4x a week for club just isn't a lot of fun for most girls, who have better things to do. Not all HS programs suck, and there can be significant value for many kids playing HS even beyond getting a little recognition and joy out of the sport every once in a while. Playing HS almost invariably forces an elite comp player to be more assertive than playing club since they will inevitably be "the man", for example. And is likely to keep a lot more kids playing soccer and for longer than they would otherwise. Telling an 8th grade girl that their HS sports career is over before it began if they want to play soccer just means many kids will play some other sport. Like I have said many times, the only advantage the US has over other countries is that far more girls play the sport and for longer, and everything US Soccer does to deter anyone from playing the sport only helps level the playing field.

Another flaw is the assumption that more foreign players will overwhelm the college ranks. The reality is no one is getting any better, and there is absolutely no evidence that the rest of the World is closing any gaps. The WNT is the most dominating, and over the longest period of time, it has been in its entire history. When France gets better, Japan gets worse. When England gets better, Sweden gets worse. Worrying that foreigners will soon take all the college slots from our American girls is more than a little xenophobic, and there is nothing to support the proposition that the U.S. is falling behind.

That said, the WNT will soon start to fail, but not because kids play HS, and because of the biggest flaw in your argument, which is that the DA is generally better equipped to make an impact college player. That is true on the boys' side, but only because the DA wiped out the competition and the entire competitive landscape, so the only decent players must play DA. By default that makes them better equipped to be impact players than those who don't play DA. However, those impact college players (and all players produced in the DA) are worse overall than what the U.S. was producing pre-DA. The overall quality of boys youth players has declined significantly compared to the pre-DA era, and that cannot be reasonably disputed. After more than a decade of the DA, the MNT couldn't qualify for the WC, couldn't beat Trinidad and Tobago, and the new crop of players just got humiliated by Mexico. Sure they tied Uruguay, but without Suarez, Cavani, Godin, or anybody really. The current state of men's soccer is the worst it has ever been in the U.S., mostly because the US hasn't produced anyone who can play during the DA era. Even the mighty Pulisic can barely find the field for Chelsea. The DA system prohibits so many kids with potential from being able to play soccer at a high level even if they wanted to. Kids quit because it's too expensive, or too time consuming, or they can't impress HS cheerleaders, or the time commitment negatively impacts their grades, or they can't play football, or whatever the reason. The one thing USSF fails to understand is the only thing that can make a better soccer country is to have more kids play it, more often, and for a longer span of years. Everything abut the DA does the opposite of that.
 

MarkM

SILVER ELITE
No, the question is how much more time do you spend training with a DA team vs. your own club team (apples to apples) because of the time HS takes away from training with your own club team. If you compare apples to apples, you probably train about 4 weeks per year more with a DA team than a regular club team. I would argue that 4 weeks or 1 month a year is not that significant.

Here’s my formula and please correct me if I’m wrong. DA trains for 10 months and a Discovery level team trains for 8 months (I’ll use our club team as an example), so that’s 2 months difference per year. However, DA plays 16-30 games/yr (based on Q&A from website), while we play approx 50 (league-12; crl-12; thxgvg showcsse -3; vegas -4; man city 3/4; surf cup-4; blues cup-3/4; scrimmages about 5/6). So that’s at least around 12-15 more games than DA which amounts to about a months worth of training (i.e. 12-15 practice sessions). So yes, DA trains more than a regular team but it only translates to about 1 more month per year, not 4.

Also for that extra month of training, a regular club player puts in 4 months of high school. It’s nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be, but it certainly is not DA. However, it is still touches on the ball almost everyday of the week.

So if there is a developmental difference, it’s not because of high school, it will be because of the difference in the club team themselves. If you train with a very good coach in a non DA team, you’re only training about 1 month less with your club team than a DA team trains with theirs.
Your formula is wrong. The DA SW conference plays about 35 games a year. Those teams also play in tournaments and scrimmage. Most importantly, you are counting weeks/months instead of days. You should assume two less training days a week. That's a huge difference.
 
The flaw in this, and with USSF's thinking, is that it wrongly assumes there is one best path for everyone. Sure, many will become marginally better if they skip HS and train with their club all year, but they can do that anyway. But forcing kids to skip HS if they want to play high level comp soccer just drives many kids to do something else because training 4x a week for club just isn't a lot of fun for most girls, who have better things to do. Not all HS programs suck, and there can be significant value for many kids playing HS even beyond getting a little recognition and joy out of the sport every once in a while. Playing HS almost invariably forces an elite comp player to be more assertive than playing club since they will inevitably be "the man", for example. And is likely to keep a lot more kids playing soccer and for longer than they would otherwise. Telling an 8th grade girl that their HS sports career is over before it began if they want to play soccer just means many kids will play some other sport. Like I have said many times, the only advantage the US has over other countries is that far more girls play the sport and for longer, and everything US Soccer does to deter anyone from playing the sport only helps level the playing field.

Another flaw is the assumption that more foreign players will overwhelm the college ranks. The reality is no one is getting any better, and there is absolutely no evidence that the rest of the World is closing any gaps. The WNT is the most dominating, and over the longest period of time, it has been in its entire history. When France gets better, Japan gets worse. When England gets better, Sweden gets worse. Worrying that foreigners will soon take all the college slots from our American girls is more than a little xenophobic, and there is nothing to support the proposition that the U.S. is falling behind.

That said, the WNT will soon start to fail, but not because kids play HS, and because of the biggest flaw in your argument, which is that the DA is generally better equipped to make an impact college player. That is true on the boys' side, but only because the DA wiped out the competition and the entire competitive landscape, so the only decent players must play DA. By default that makes them better equipped to be impact players than those who don't play DA. However, those impact college players (and all players produced in the DA) are worse overall than what the U.S. was producing pre-DA. The overall quality of boys youth players has declined significantly compared to the pre-DA era, and that cannot be reasonably disputed. After more than a decade of the DA, the MNT couldn't qualify for the WC, couldn't beat Trinidad and Tobago, and the new crop of players just got humiliated by Mexico. Sure they tied Uruguay, but without Suarez, Cavani, Godin, or anybody really. The current state of men's soccer is the worst it has ever been in the U.S., mostly because the US hasn't produced anyone who can play during the DA era. Even the mighty Pulisic can barely find the field for Chelsea. The DA system prohibits so many kids with potential from being able to play soccer at a high level even if they wanted to. Kids quit because it's too expensive, or too time consuming, or they can't impress HS cheerleaders, or the time commitment negatively impacts their grades, or they can't play football, or whatever the reason. The one thing USSF fails to understand is the only thing that can make a better soccer country is to have more kids play it, more often, and for a longer span of years. Everything abut the DA does the opposite of that.
Funny how we NEVER hear your reference YOUR kids experiences within any league.......why is that?
 
Your formula is wrong. The DA SW conference plays about 35 games a year. Those teams also play in tournaments and scrimmage. Most importantly, you are counting weeks/months instead of days. You should assume two less training days a week. That's a huge difference.
All teams that I know practice at least three times per week and most players do a private or speed and agility 1x/week, so I don’t see a difference there. Regarding the number of DA games, I just went by the website, but even so, a regular club team plays around 10 more games than a DA team wouldn’t you say?
 

Dof3

SILVER
This all strikes me as a nonsensical exercise in let's make up some numbers with no empirical support or value. Why would one assume that girls practicing twice a week with an ECNL team and who also aspire to play college soccer are not also doing separate training with a private coach (whether individually or small group in arguably more individually focused training)? And/or training on her own? Also true for DA kids despite their more demanding club training schedule. Also, all coaches are not the same. Less time with better coach likely has a greater impact than more time with worse coach. Speculating on the "average" kid's minutes and the quality of those minutes on the ball over 5 years between these two different leagues is a speculative fool's errand.

My kid plays ECNL. Training is great. Big step up from what she has had before now. But I wish she and some of the SoCal DA clubs were in the same league. Her team would challenge those DA teams and the DA teams would challenge her team. I expect her team would win some and lose some. Isn't that the point? Whichever league you prefer, it seems inarguable that all DA and ECNL teams in SoCal are missing a good opportunity to play some other quality competition in a local setting. Seems like a pretty wasteful outcome to me and I struggle to see how it is in the best interests of the girls who play in DA or ECNL.
 
Your formula is wrong. The DA SW conference plays about 35 games a year. Those teams also play in tournaments and scrimmage. Most importantly, you are counting weeks/months instead of days. You should assume two less training days a week. That's a huge difference.
I just looked up the 2019/20 season and I counted 24 league games for U-16.
 
I just looked up the 2019/20 season and I counted 24 league games for U-16.
In 2018/19..... The SW u16/17 played between 32 and 36 games not including Playoffs.

Across all other Divisions, the minimum was 23 games (Cedar Stars and PA Classics) and the Max was 30 (about 5 different clubs) and these do not include Playoff games for teams that made it.

Not here to argue the semantics of leagues, just wanted to clarify # of games.
 
I've heard the HS stories for years, but living it now. No real opinion yet. I've watched several games over the years and while the play isn't the prettiest, the physicality didn't seem to much different. Refs are refs. Some good and some bad. It is, what it is.
But- for girls (and probably boys too) that make a HS roster, they get to replace their PE class with "Soccer Class". This started within a week or 2 of the school year starting (so about a month ago).
3 days a week they "practice". Monday is only an hour and sometimes they don't do much at all. Tuesday and Thursday are for 2 to 2.5 hours. Typically 1 hour of that is soccer related (Skills, small sided games, full field games) and 1 hour is spent in the weight room.
For club teams that have their practice on those days, I can see it becoming an issue. 4 hours of soccer per day isn't really an ideal situation. Especially if the club coach "doesn't care that you just worked your butt off in the weight room or ran 120's an hour ago."

And for those that say "High School doesn't matter" - Tell that to the kids that didn't get selected for a roster spot.
 
I've heard the HS stories for years, but living it now. No real opinion yet. I've watched several games over the years and while the play isn't the prettiest, the physicality didn't seem to much different. Refs are refs. Some good and some bad. It is, what it is.
But- for girls (and probably boys too) that make a HS roster, they get to replace their PE class with "Soccer Class". This started within a week or 2 of the school year starting (so about a month ago).
3 days a week they "practice". Monday is only an hour and sometimes they don't do much at all. Tuesday and Thursday are for 2 to 2.5 hours. Typically 1 hour of that is soccer related (Skills, small sided games, full field games) and 1 hour is spent in the weight room.
For club teams that have their practice on those days, I can see it becoming an issue. 4 hours of soccer per day isn't really an ideal situation. Especially if the club coach "doesn't care that you just worked your butt off in the weight room or ran 120's an hour ago."

And for those that say "High School doesn't matter" - Tell that to the kids that didn't get selected for a roster spot.
Not being selected for a roster spot for any sport is not a soccer issue alone. And not a new one.
 

dad4

SILVER ELITE
Looking in from the younger ages, the whole DA/ECNL thing looks mighty silly.

D of 3 nailed it when he asked that the top teams play the other top teams. Both sides are
flying 400 miles to pummel a second rate team when they have great competition next door.

Note I said top teams, not top clubs. if you have 5 great years and one that is not so great,
the so-so team belongs in a regional league along with all the other similar teams.
Similarly, if a small club has a first rate team, let that team in the top circuit.
 
In 2018/19..... The SW u16/17 played between 32 and 36 games not including Playoffs.

Across all other Divisions, the minimum was 23 games (Cedar Stars and PA Classics) and the Max was 30 (about 5 different clubs) and these do not include Playoff games for teams that made it.

Not here to argue the semantics of leagues, just wanted to clarify # of games.
Enough with the facts and non-partisan posts jk :)Number of official club games for SW teams seems to close enough to the same for whether SW DA (24 league + 9 showcase games) or SW ECNL (22 league + 9 showcase games). There is then the postseason for both to be added to these totals where applicable.

Honestly, can't believe ppl are still arguing about DA and ECNL. If you don't want to travel, don't play DA or ECNL. If you want top level soccer with the HS experience, pick ECNL. If you want top level soccer without the HS experience, pick DA. If you want mandatory practice 2-3 days a week pick ECNL, if you want mandatory practice time 3-4 days a week pick DA. Other than that, they are the same- some top teams, some good teams and a few relatively weak teams.

Look, nothing is perfect (cost, travel and so on) but please for the love of god stop b!itching and promoting one league as the be-all-end-all and be happy that as consumers we have such choices.

Find a coach your kid likes, a team your kid likes and then sit back and let your DD enjoy the game!
 
Enough with the facts and non-partisan posts jk :)Number of official club games for SW teams seems to close enough to the same for whether SW DA (24 league + 9 showcase games) or SW ECNL (22 league + 9 showcase games). There is then the postseason for both to be added to these totals where applicable.

Honestly, can't believe ppl are still arguing about DA and ECNL. If you don't want to travel, don't play DA or ECNL. If you want top level soccer with the HS experience, pick ECNL. If you want top level soccer without the HS experience, pick DA. If you want mandatory practice 2-3 days a week pick ECNL, if you want mandatory practice time 3-4 days a week pick DA. Other than that, they are the same- some top teams, some good teams and a few relatively weak teams.

Look, nothing is perfect (cost, travel and so on) but please for the love of god stop b!itching and promoting one league as the be-all-end-all and be happy that as consumers we have such choices.

Find a coach your kid likes, a team your kid likes and then sit back and let your DD enjoy the game!
I believe the horse twitched so someone had to beat it again!
 

Fact

PREMIER
So we were discussing the travel teams have to do because of all the fracturing into different leagues. I noticed that Albion went to Colorado for 1 league game this weekend. They did fine with 1 win, 2 ties and the U16s getting crushed but looking at the playing time, 2 girls got 4 minutes! Not sure but some were listed as reserve. Does this mean they went all the way to Colorado to warm the bench? If so, that is not good for any child.

Other observations I had. I don’t see DP players listed on any of the club teams I looked at. Is that allowed only later in the season? If so I think that is a good idea to let the players that made the team have an opportunity to prove themselves.

Finally a lot of teams have less than 18 players. Is that due to the playing time requirements, not enough players on that level or a lack of interest in those particular teams?
 
So we were discussing the travel teams have to do because of all the fracturing into different leagues. I noticed that Albion went to Colorado for 1 league game this weekend. They did fine with 1 win, 2 ties and the U16s getting crushed but looking at the playing time, 2 girls got 4 minutes! Not sure but some were listed as reserve. Does this mean they went all the way to Colorado to warm the bench? If so, that is not good for any child.

Other observations I had. I don’t see DP players listed on any of the club teams I looked at. Is that allowed only later in the season? If so I think that is a good idea to let the players that made the team have an opportunity to prove themselves.

Finally a lot of teams have less than 18 players. Is that due to the playing time requirements, not enough players on that level or a lack of interest in those particular teams?
I wonder if this is why ECNL doesn’t go into detail about minutes played?
 
So we were discussing the travel teams have to do because of all the fracturing into different leagues. I noticed that Albion went to Colorado for 1 league game this weekend. They did fine with 1 win, 2 ties and the U16s getting crushed but looking at the playing time, 2 girls got 4 minutes! Not sure but some were listed as reserve. Does this mean they went all the way to Colorado to warm the bench? If so, that is not good for any child.

Other observations I had. I don’t see DP players listed on any of the club teams I looked at. Is that allowed only later in the season? If so I think that is a good idea to let the players that made the team have an opportunity to prove themselves.

Finally a lot of teams have less than 18 players. Is that due to the playing time requirements, not enough players on that level or a lack of interest in those particular teams?
In response to your other observations. If a player is listed at PT they are a DP. For example Albion had one listed for the U16 age group but was not rostered that day. Our 05 team has one DP player listed and has played and our 06 team has two listed; one of which has played twice. Carrying small rosters should give clubs the opportunity to provide playing time. Our 05 and 06 teams only carry 16 and 15 players. Thus far it has worked out well with time on the field. However, if a player is given few minutes to play that is on the coaching staff and I don’t think specific to any league.
 
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