What are we doing in youth sports?

On Sunday, I was an assistant referee for an u13 girls soccer game in a local tournament. These were recreational players and teams masquerading as “select” or “comp” teams; none of the “elite” or “competitive” teams participated, as most are finished for the summer after regionals and nationals. These were your average community-centric teams similar to the teams on which I played at this age. Of course, when I played, we played 12 games in a fall season; now, these teams apparently play year-round (I knew the elite teams played year-round, although many – some – of the elite players play multiple sports – basketball in the winter, usually – based on what I learned as an assistant referee at a national tournament, but I did not know the local teams played year-round now too).  […]