Coron­avirus shakes up boys soc­cer re­cruit­ing

Orlando Sentinel - - Sports Monday - By Ju­lia Poe

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.

COUR­TESY OF UCF ATH­LET­ICS

UCF soc­cer coach Scott Cal­abrese, cen­ter, is fig­ur­ing out whether he can re­cruit as many in­ter­na­tional play­ers amid the coron­avirus pan­demic.

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