Coronavirus shakes up boys soccer recruiting
DeLand High boys soccer coach Chris Dowdell has seen an uptick in requests to join his team since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those requests have all come from the same type of athlete — players who attend DeLand but previously only played for a club soccer team.
During the past two decades, recruiting for NCAA soccer has shifted from a focus on high school teams to clubs squads. This has led many talented athletes to forgo their high school team completely to train year-round with a club or a Major League Soccer development academy.
But as the coronavirus pandemic causes tournament cancellations and season suspensions throughout club soccer, many young athletes are shifting their focus back to their high school teams.
“I’m expecting a little bit more quality on Day 1 of training camp,” Dowdell said.
U.S. Soccer has completely shut down its academy system and MLS is still adapting its academy programs.
These changes at the youth soccer level reflect a wider shift in the boys soccer recruiting landscape as high school athletes and college programs alike adapt to coronavirus limitations.
With so many variables, it difficult to say what exactly men’s college soccer recruiting will look like in the coming years.
UCF soccer coach Scott Calabrese, center, is figuring out whether he can recruit as many international players amid the coronavirus pandemic.