School vs club sports: What’s better?

School vs club sports: Whats better?

When it comes to school vs club sports, many athletes are forced to decide. Some sports do not allow athletes to play both school and club; in other sports, the better athletes play club instead of school sports for better competition. Sometimes, athletes have to make a decision based on what’s better for them, not what they want.

Soccer is a very prominent example of this forced decision. Soccer players are forced to decide whether they want to play club at the highest level, or play school soccer.

Alex Moeller, a junior at FHC, has to make this decision every year. After making the decision to play club soccer, he commented on the situation by saying, “It’s unfair. It does not give me the opportunity to play for the school if I want to compete at the highest level and open myself up to more recruiting possibilities.” This situation does not allow athletes to do everything they want. Yes, life is not always fair, but in the case of a student-athlete, there is no reason he or she cannot do both. The club association has no reason to not let these athletes join teams after the school season. They get no benefit from not allowing it.

Alex is one of the many that choose to play club because it has better recruiting options. But many players at our school choose the opposite road to follow.

Bennet Nieuwkoop is one of the FHC soccer players that chose to play for his school rather than for a club. “I would say I mainly do it to play with my friends. Soccer is all about having a good time, and I have more fun when I play with my friends.” The camaraderie of friends is a large factor in many athletes’ decisions. When playing club, the players compete with each other on the same team to get noticed by colleges, but with school, it’s more about winning as a team which leads to forming better relationships.

Other sports don’t necessarily require athletes to decide, but sometimes, the best players do not play school sports and instead decide to travel to seek more competition.

Tennis is a big example of this situation. FHC four-year all-state, and state championship runner-up singles player Sammy Yin has been in this situation for all four years of high school. Sammy decided to play for his school every year. “My first year, the seniors took care of me, and I had a great time. Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t skip a single year because I only had four, and I spent them in a way that led to me enjoying my time best.”

Many sports have club season at a completely different time though. Basketball, for example, has club season in the spring. This is good because athletes are not forced to decide, but they also cannot play spring sports. It does not have a great effect on everyone though. Owen Godley, a first-year varsity basketball prospect says, “It does not really affect me because I wouldn’t play a spring sport either way.”

A different situation altogether would be the dance team. Sophia Erbentraut has joined 3 other studios and is on her school dance team. She does this all at the same time. “I enjoy being able to do everything. Each studio does different things so I’m glad I can do everything on top of school dance too.” For Sophia, this is great because she gets the benefits of every opportunity.

These situations athletes are being put in are unnecessary. These athletes already have so much on their plates.  On top of playing their sport upwards of 5 days a week, they have school and a social life to maintain. This extra pressure is not good for the athletes. This decision stresses athletes to an extreme, and there is no correct answer. Every sport is different when it comes to club vs school sports, but some definitely have better options.