Wearing two jerseys

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Wearing two jerseys

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Starting as early as grade school, I began to ditch recreational sports and jump head first into competitive club teams.

This transition was accompanied by a large investment of both time and money. I spent most of my nights on the soccer field training with my team to perfect our craft, while the weekends were reserved for traveling from city to city for games.

When high school rolled around, I hung up my club jersey and adopted a new team name to wear across my uniform to represent my school.

Recent headlines have detailed the rise in club sports pushing athletes away from high school athletics. But I believe that rather than one extinguishing the other, club and school sports should be able to coexist as they both can provide athletes with benefits.

Club and high school athletics offer a range of different advantages and disadvantages depending on an athlete’s goals and circumstances.

One of the most important aspects of clubs is that for most sports they tend to provide students a more direct opportunity for recruitment.

Select programs are generally notorious for there high levels of talent and competition, which allows scouts access to elite players on a large scale.

Although, the high price tag that comes with playing club sports makes some athletes dependent on school athletics in order to be considered by college for offers and scholarships.

Due to individual goals, financial circumstances, and personal priorities that differ among each person, some athletes have to pick just one program, but that doesn’t mean that one should eliminate the other and the experience of playing both can be largely beneficial..

For me and many others, playing high school sports provided an outlet to meet new people and be involved in a whole new atmosphere for competing because of the new coaches, teammates, and skill level variability.  On the contrary, club sports gave me the skills and confidence needed to play on a high school team.

High school sports can also be a more personal experience for athletes as they get to represent their school and experience a more communal aspect of the sport they play. Nothing beats the experience of playing in front of your classmates against your school’s biggest rival.

Coming from someone who has participated in both programs, I think they each will forever hold an important place in my life. The countless memories, friendships, and opportunities that accompanied both sides of the spectrum embody what sports are truly all about.

With all this considered, whether one plays a sport through club or school programs, they should fully enjoy and cherish their experience because for most athletes it eventually will all come to a halt.

So rather than forcing athletes to make the tough decision of what name to represent, high school and club sports should exist side-by-side, with neither taking dominance over the other.

In order to allow this to happen, all clubs need to willing to give athletes the choice to play high school sports instead of requiring players to solely follow their year-round schedules.

All the while, high school coaches should be supportive of their athlete’s club level competition as that is where they tend to develop their talents and have the best chance at college recruitment.

With the agreement and support of both programs young people can discover the lifelong benefits of participating in sports and find the best way for them to achieve their goals.

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