On Tuesday Arsenal started their league cup match with a team average age of 19 years old. Now, this is common in the league cup, to try out your young talent and see how they do in the spotlight. The youngest who started on Tuesday was Jack Wilshere who is only 16 years old. So, here’s the debate. If England can show off 16 year olds without the media going wild, why can’t America?
Sports recruiting in England is much different than what it is over here. Usually over here, if you’re a young gifted soccer player you have to go through years of travel teams, lame camps, and eventually play in High School. At that moment is where the deal breaker is. Your success in the future depends on your High School’s success as an athletic program. For example I played at a crappy High School with an awful athletic program. Our team was o.k at best but never good enough to garner attention from college coaches. I had to go after coaches instead of the other way around. And when I played in college I was just as good as some players who were heavily recruited and who received hefty scholarships. And you know why? Because they played at a high school that either had money or one that has had success in the past.
Now, in England on the other hand, if you’re a young gifted soccer player at say, the age of 10, you have the top clubs in the league looking at you. At ten years old!!! I had to wait until I was in the last month of my soccer season in my senior year of high school to get a coach come out of his way to see me!! It’s a question of nature vs. nurture in America when it comes to soccer and 9 times out of 10 nature wins. Whereas in England they nurture young talent no matter where they’re from and turn them into superstars.
David Beckham was first noticed by Manchester United when he was 10 and the United bred him to be as good as he is now. He was given the world by Man United and probably had a decent child hood. So, why can’t an American team do that, in any sport?
If the heads of American soccer really want to improve the popularity of the sport we need to have kids as young as the 16 year old Wilshere of Arsenal on a club team. Look at the stir Freddy Edu created when he was named the next big thing when he was what 15? Let’s develop good players at a young age and solve the soccer recruiting mess.
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