Why students still join rec teams

You’ve reached the end of your soccer season and after winning six out of eight games, your team wins second place in the top division. You know you contributed because you scored in every game you played in, but neither of those matter. Only because you’re playing on a rec team. This happens to so many students and players who get overlooked even though they could be just as good or even better.

There are many reasons a student chooses to play rec, one being that they are less competitive and are only playing for the enjoyment of the sport and friends. It’s been said that the more one enjoys what they are doing, the more likely they are to put effort and their best into it. Skill level shouldn’t be mistaken for competitiveness and rec players shouldn’t be shamed for their choice to stay on rec.

Rec teams are usually made up by kids who’ve all known each other since elementary school. Being on the same team builds bonds between teammates and many are uncomfortable leaving and being in a new environment. When playing at a recreational level, there’s less of a chance of drama spreading around the team and in school.

Another reason some choose rec could be how ridiculously expensive it is to even sign up for a club team. Many students who make club teams are often unable to afford the entry bill. These students are seen to be not as good as those on club only because they couldn’t pay the fee. The average cost of just signing up to play youth club soccer is $1,472 per child a season and will increase once travel and kit are taken into account.

All this goes to say, rec players shouldn’t be regarded as less only because they are on rec. So much goes into being a good player, such as communication and skill level, none of which are adequately judged by club teams. A good player isn’t classified by whether they can afford to play at a club level or not.

It isn’t fair for a rec player who gets shoved, fouled and trains just as much as a club player, to be regarded as less just because of the badge on their jersey. Although club teams are more competitive and should be seen as such, a rec player who trains just as much, if not harder, should be regarded as the same. Being on club teams holds an unfair advantage over those on rec when trying out for school teams. Coaches take into account previous training and are generally biased towards those on club, dismissing rec players who are trying out. Yet, when applying for jobs or submitting college applications, the recipient takes into consideration their extracurriculars and there’s no doubt that students who were on the school team have higher chances of being accepted.

We need to recognize that a better jersey doesn’t always mean a higher skill level. Just because one can’t afford to be on a club team or just doesn’t want to be on one, that doesn’t mean they deserve it. So many great athletes like Angel Di Maria and Allen Iverson came up playing in pick up games. However, they are also the lucky ones who happened to be scouted. More should be done to recognize rec players who are just as serious as club players. It should be socially acceptable for a rec player to express their achievements such as winning their division or winning a Thanksgiving tournament without them feeling less than only because they aren’t on a club team. Rec players love the sport they are playing just as much as club players and this should be the quality that’s judged the most.