getofftheirlawn t1_j21cytd wrote

I agree with and wish for your sentiment but unfortunately your timetable is way off. By 14, if you want to play competitively you had better be well above the curve toward mastery of fundamental skills. What I am saying is that at age 14 you are in high school or about to be. Good luck making a high school team with only rec experience up until this point and you can just about forget entering club-level play at this age. Note, club-level sports long ago left behind high school level-play here in the states anyways.

The big problem here is that soccer clubs here in the states are run by for-profit 3rd party and sometimes nation-wide/regional companies with no real outlet to major league or professional-level. Where as in much of the rest of the world club soccer is about where you live and is therefore intrinsically local and does feed into the local professional team and or system of buying players.

In my experience youth sports here in the states, except basketball, dies recreationally around age 12, basketball has a strong rec presence until age 17 then if at 18 you still want to play you are playing with full on adults in adult rec leagues. Sure there are some rec soccer leagues, usually run by the club teams, but then it is typically just same 2-3 teams playing each other all season. By high school, kids are either playing high school or club/travel and high school and all the other kids that played when they were young quit.