High School vs. Academy: which path to college soccer?

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Photograph from ussoccer.com

SILVER SPRING, Md.– Soccer, listed as the most popular sport in the world by world atlas, is also extremely prevalent in Montgomery County’s sports.

Many of Montgomery County’s soccer players are hoping to continue playing soccer in college, but what path should high school players is preferential to play college soccer?

While in high school, aspiring collegiate soccer players often play for their junior varsity/varsity teams while others play on an academy.

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) is considered a top-tier American soccer league, but these academy players aren’t allowed to play high school soccer because of their colliding training sessions and games. 

So which one’s better?

Tomas Martini, an academy player for the Bethesda Soccer Club, said, “because we have practice four days a week sometimes five, and a game or two on the weekends, it makes sense that we can’t play high school [soccer] since they also have practice almost every day.”

When asked how academy soccer is helping him reach his dreams of professional soccer, Martini states, “I think our intense training sessions, experienced coaches, and the talented players around me are all helping me become a better player and hopefully allow me to play at the college level.”

Martini adds, “we also have occasional showcases where we play against other teams across the country in front of college scouts which gives us great exposure that I don’t think many high school players have the opportunity to get.”

Blair High School varsity soccer player, Silas Reitsma says that “high school soccer is a great experience with great players and coaches but I have to agree that academy soccer has a higher level of intensity and competition.”

“But if you play high school soccer instead of an academy, you also have the opportunity of playing on a club as well which allows you to work with different coaches and play against other teams, all while playing for high school too”, Reitsma adds.

No matter whether a player chooses an academy or a high school team, both are viable opportunities for players to improve their skills and continue to play soccer in college.

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