Loyalties to club teams sometimes outweigh commitments to high school athletics

Tony DeLotell | Staff Writer

Senior Tyler Galley plays on the varsity soccer team as well as the Thunder United, a Lebanon-based club team. Galley said the school team is the more time-consuming team.“I’m with the school team every day of the week and sometimes we have games on Saturdays,” Galley said. “We have one game a week and two practices for an hour and a half apiece, so there’s way more time with the high school team than the club team.”

While Galley said he shows more allegiance to the high school team, he recognizes that some players spend all their time with club teams because of college exposure.

“A lot of times with soccer, clubs are what get you looked at by college coaches; so, a lot of kids put more focus and time into traveling with their club teams rather than their high school teams,” Galley said. “Some kids don’t even play high school soccer because they want to play club.”

Senior Rhett Durbin plays on both the school baseball team as well as the Cincinnati Storm, his club team. While Durbin spends more time practicing with the school team, he said the summer season is much more relaxed.

“I probably spend one to two hours per day with the school team,” Durbin said. “Our practices are shorter in the summer. During school ball they’re a lot more strict and harsh. During the summer you’re just going out there to have fun. The school [coaches] care more.”

Senior Preston Carr plays with Durbin on the Cincinnati Storm as well as the school baseball team. Like Durbin, he said summer ball is much more laid back because the possibility of getting cut is not a factor.

“School ball is definitely stricter than summer ball,” Carr said. “I think summer ball is more relaxed because there’s no pressure of making a team because you can always find a team.”

Sophomore Matt Loehr also plays for Thunder United as well as the school soccer team. Players seem to get more excited for club tournaments because of the possibility of college scouting according to Loehr.

“Some of the tournaments you go to [with club teams] say that there will be college scouts there,” Loehr said. “So a lot of people would be more revved up to play in those games, rather than playing for a high school a lot of times knowing that there is probably not somebody there looking at you.”

According to Galley, playing on club teams helps the individual players down the line, but school spirit also suffers because of it.

“I think it can be good for the players because they get a chance to play at a higher level when they move on,” Galley said. “But at the same time, it’s taking away from the high school’s [ability to be] competitive and [to give] other students something to have fun watching.”

Durbin said that he is happy with the amount of college exposure he has gotten and he doesn’t think that athletes choosing to not participate in school sports is a bad thing.

“I don’t [think choosing not to participate is] bad,” Durbin said. “For me, it’s worked out fine because I play school and summer and I’ve gotten plenty of college exposure. So, in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter.”

Carr said that not playing for your school team is not only disrespectful, but robs the athlete of potential exposure.

“I would say it’s a bad thing only because scouts come more to your school games because it’s more organized and they know where all the players are going to be all the time,” Carr said. “Not playing for your school team is kind of a slap in the face to your school district. It shows that you don’t really care. I feel like you have to play [for your school] to get that constant exposure.”