Students turn to club teams for college training

Although fall sports are coming to a close, many student-athletes are far from finished. In fact, for those playing on club teams, the work has just begun. High school students that want to pursue their sports in college, especially sports like soccer and lacrosse, are relying on their club teams more and more, and only playing on high school teams for fun.

“My club team, Kings Hammer Academy, actually recommends we play on our school team as a ‘break’ from the intensity of our club,” varsity soccer goalkeeper Allie Thul said. “If you truly want to be looked at for college, club is the way to go. Scouts are much more likely to be at the club games and the clubs also offer showcases.”

The downfall of this trend is the cost. High school teams at McNick alone cost $200 each season (and $150 for each additional sport), and yearly fees for club teams can reach almost $1000. Many argue that the cost is an investment since it makes students more eligible for college scholarships, but it is a big risk for parents to have to take.

“My daughter  is considering playing in college and plays year-round to keep her skills up. In order to play during the spring, we signed her up for a club team,” said Mari Enders, parent of junior soccer player Sami Enders.  “Although I do feel her club team will help her for college, I believe the costs of club teams have become way too expensive. It’s turned into a business.”

However, because of how the sports system is now set up, there isn’t much of a choice. Club teams offer trainers, programs, showcases, and connections that high school sports can’t afford. This transition reflects the cut-throat nature of getting into college today; college athletics are extremely competitive and students often spend most of their high school career worrying about the future.  But for those who choose to play on club sports, the end results can be very rewarding. Next year, Thul will join the Women’s Soccer Team at the University of Cincinnati.

“Sometimes it’s sad to think that I could have tried other sports like basketball if I didn’t have to dedicate myself to club soccer all year,” Thul said. “But in the end, soccer is my passion, and I like the idea that I am the best prepared for college, and that the next four years will now be a little easier.”

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