Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 18, 2016 — Saving the scouters from themselves?

A lot of people in sports intelligentsia have heaped scorn on people who track the performance of football and basketball players as young as middle school, all for the purposes of gaining them notice for future collegiate and professional play.

That is, until U.S. colleges started gaining verbal commitments from sophomores, and teenagers started signing with Major League Soccer.

The competition for talent in sport is intense in this, our data-driven and business-oriented society. Offering a college scholarship or a professional contract, or even a roster spot for a walk-on, is always a risk. Success or failure can hinge on whether a coach or coaching staff have done their homework on a player or players.

So, it came as a bit of a surprise last week when it was announced that Caitlyn Wurzburger, an eighth-grader in Florida, announced she would be attending Syracuse.

Normally, the usual recruitment window for a potential incoming athlete is the midway point of the junior season. However, there are enough loopholes through the club system and amongst alumni/ae so that younger and younger players are getting and receiving messages from the coaching staffs, and these players are committing to programs at younger and younger ages.

It’s getting to the point where most elite field hockey and lacrosse players are locked down by February of their sophomore year. Interestingly enough, this trend is coming at a time when lacrosse coaches have begun to draft rules banning contact with recruits until the start of their junior years.

I’m wondering, however, how strong the proposed rules are, and whether the same club-team loopholes that exist now will be around in the future. Given the fact that the coaches are drafting the rules, one does wonder.



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