Our Blueprint   1 comment

Milwaukee United Soccer Club aims to offer players a means of using the game of soccer to further their academic and athletic goals. The structure of the club seeks to utilize programs already in place in the community and funnel their players into an organization that can advance the common interest and provide “something more” to our collective constituents. The following is a basic layout of the pathway for one of our players:

1) A girl begins playing soccer at age 8 through America Scores Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Recreation Department, the Boys and Girls Club, or another local organization.

2) Our club will actively recruit players from these organizations for the development of its U16 and U18 teams (which we hope to have in place in Fall 2014).

3) A player would begin play on its U16 Green team in the fall of her freshman year, with subsequent passage to U16 Blue, U18 Green, and U18 Blue in future years. In spring, she would be expected to participate in her high school’s soccer program.

4) As a result of playing during the fall club season, said player would have access to high-quality play and exposure to college coaches and recruiters.

5) Following graduation, this player would go onto college and play for her school’s intercollegiate team. During summer breaks, she would be able to play for the club’s team in either the Wisconsin Women’s Premier League or a regional/national-level league in which MUSC is a participant.

The flagship sides for the club are the post-high school teams as they serve as the ultimate success story of the club’s work, that being those who have gone on to play collegiately. Being that Milwaukee Public Schools has produced only a handful of players that are on college rosters at any one time, the need for recruiting players from other city and county high schools will be necessary in the short-term.

The development of the U16 and U18 teams starts with the premise that no player should be denied the opportunity to strive for “something more” on the basis of income, outside obligations, or a perceived lack of elite-level talent. With that in mind, our teams will be NO-CUT. The basic framework calls for two teams at the U16 level and two teams at the U18 level, however we will field additional teams at one or both levels if the numbers warrant and dictate it. The teams and their progression will be as such:

• U16 Green – This team will be made up primarily of freshmen (U15) and will be the entry point for most players in the organization. Sophomores who might be behind the curve or late-bloomers can play on this squad, but we will not be recruiting players not yet in high school for it.

• U16 Blue – Our top team at the U16 level, its makeup will be comprised of mostly sophomores (U16) with some advanced-level freshmen.

• U18 Green – This team is where I perceive a bottleneck of players occurring. This squad will be made up of on-pace juniors and be therefore a U17 team in theory, but advanced sophomores and less-advanced seniors will also be part of the side.

• U18 Blue – The top youth team in our structure, this collection of talent will be the place where college-ready seniors will be able to showcase their playing abilities. Advanced juniors will be able to play on this team as well.

An additional team at the U16 level (if necessary) would be comprised of less-developed incoming players and would be “behind” the U16 Green in the development chart. Should a third U18 team be developed, its composition would be of seniors who have either chosen not to pursue college-playing opportunities or who would otherwise be on the U18 Green. Naturally, some shifting of players might occur in order to balance the rosters numerically. Also, there might be other factors besides skill that would cause a player to be moved away from where they might otherwise be placed.

Beyond what happens on the soccer field, the club would plan to offer both academic and athletic advising to its players, in the hopes that by taking an active interest in its players’ schooling, more (if not all) of them will see college as a worthwhile pursuit and be prepared to tackle its academic rigor once there. For many in our core constituency, going to college may not be on their radar. Perhaps no one in their family or circle of friends has ever graduated from a four-year institution, or even attended school beyond compulsory education. In this country, education is still the most reliable means of economic and social mobility, regardless of how others might like to say that being a professional athlete or a career in the music or entertainment industry are other options. With that in mind, this is how this facet of our programming will work:

1) Every incoming player to the club would meet with our club’s academic advisor. This meeting will consist of discussing the player’s academics and what future plans she might have for post-secondary education.

2) Over the course of the first two years, the player and academic advisor would work together to make sure that the player is on-track academically to achieve the aforementioned plans or revise them should interests and abilities change.

3) At the start of the junior year, preparation for the ACT/SAT would begin and college investigation will commence. The academic advisor would work with the player to help her determine a number of schools where she might be able to succeed academically and socially, as well as assist in the application and financial aid process.

4) In spring, all seniors would participate in a “college boot camp” that would deal with preparation for life in college.

From here, the club’s athletic advisor would work with the player to seek out the right playing opportunity given her schools of interest. This would involve contacting college coaches on the players’ behalf, taking teams to college matches in the area (as is feasible), and working in conjunction with the club’s academic advisor to give every player the right information regarding academics and college playing opportunities so that those who are able to take advantage of it will not be discouraged to do so. In the end, the purpose of the club’s college prep strategy is to level the playing field when it comes to information and advising, to give its players the same level of opportunity that the children of better-off and/or more educated parents already have.

 

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Posted August 20, 2013 by Scott

One response to “Our Blueprint

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  1. Pingback: College Pre-season Update | Milwaukee United Soccer Club

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