Elite Teams versus School Teams: What are the Differences?


Courtesy of Jason Scott

Varsity soccer players Cristian Mendez-Ramirez (12), Sean Maginniss (11), Koumadi Sanwogou-Scott (12), and captain Conor Dobbin (12) celebrating a goal for the Falls Church team.

Many people play sports, fewer play for their school’s team, and even fewer play at an elite level. Here at Falls Church there are many athletes on the school teams, from soccer to volleyball. However, there is a small handful of students that are playing at the elite level.

The largest benefit of club teams is that for most sports, they can provide a better chance for players to be scouted by colleges and universities. Elite club teams, though, can be expensive.

One of the students currently involved in an elite-level sport is Tucker Sprano (12). Sprano is a senior who has played for the school soccer team, and also plays for Alexandria’s MLS Next team, he is currently sidelined by an injury. MLS Next is a prestigious organization that includes some of the most talented young soccer players in the country.

“I have committed to college for soccer, and would like to prove myself and earn a starting spot upon getting there,” said Sprano. “I would play for the school but I am injured right now.”

With all of that being said, high school sports are no walk in the park. Varsity teams are very competitive and with a large pool of players the level of competition is still high. High school sports boast an advantage that elite sports do not have, that being the cost. High school sports are free to play in, while elite sports can cost thousands of dollars.

According to the NCAA there are nearly 8 million high school athletes in the country and of those athletes only 7% play on a varsity team. According to the website scholarshipstats.com, of the 7% that play on a varsity team only 2% of those players will end up playing on an NCAA Division I roster. This just goes to show that it is very difficult to go from playing on a varsity team to playing on a high-level college roster.