The Conversation on Men’s Soccer and Title IX Continues

When the College Sports Council released its landmark study on the “opportunity gap” between men and women in NCAA Division I soccer, none of us ever believed that folks would still be talking about the study for this long. But now, here we are, better than a month after the initial release, and that same study is now the focus of a lengthy post over at Big Soccerby Bill Archer.

There’s a lot to digest in the piece, including a detailed discussion of how top flight soccer players are developed in the U.S. Bill also addresses the question of whether or not the deep freeze NCAA Division I men’s soccer is influencing the development pipeline for the U.S. Men’s National Team and America’s success at the World Cup.
Here at the CSC, we are not experts on the development of professional soccer players. By releasing the study when we did, we wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are literally thousands of young men at Division I institutions who want to play college soccer, but can’t because of the use of proportionality to enforce Title IX. However, there are others who tried to make the case that it would, including Charlotte Allen over at Minding the Campus.
When she wrote her piece, “Why U.S. Men’s Soccer Will Decline,” she was attacked very intensely in the discussion string following her article. The charge was led by folks who said they followed the game pretty closely and dismissed her thesis. Why am I bringing that up now?
I think I’ll just let Mr. Archer take it from here in his conclusion:

But as [head of the US Soccer Federation] Sunil Gulati noted after the US was knocked out of South Africa, we’ve now gone two successive World Cups without a US forward putting the ball in the net, and that’s simply not acceptable.

I honestly believe that somewhere out there across the fruited plain there is a kid who, with the proper training, can develop the technical and tactical skills to fulfill that role. And, unfortunately or not, we may very well need some NCAA program to do part of the job.

Let’s all hope there’s a spot for him.

Let the debate continue.

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