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The high-pressure commercialization of the youth sports pipeline knows no bounds.

Is Tech Feeding the Problem?

Costs of playing are ever rising— between specialized coaches and tournament travel—and the newest expense parents feel they have to fork over for is the video library of your child’s highlights. It starts with the absurd rankings of every competitive youth team, from age 10 and up. By age 12, websites are tracking individual players, purporting to spot the stars of the future. Sites like MaxPreps, Hudl and Top Drawer just feed the fear that you’re falling behind if you’re not yet visible.


  • At a cost of $15,000 worked with 10 specialized trainers—a mind-set coach, an isokinetic performance trainer, a nutritionist, 3 sprinting specialists and a powerlifting guru.

  • Even though he had straight A’s and a 98.72 average, Josh repeated 8th grade to engineer an advantage in high school.

  • Hangs on inversion table at night to increase his height—because he is 3 inches short of 6 feet.
    Records every crumb of food he consumes. Eats exactly 4,500 calories and 175 grams of protein each day.

  • Ranked #1 in the nation as both football player and wrestler in middle school. Rushed for
    35 touchdowns en route to middle school national semifinals in Orlando.

  • Makes the 90-minute commute to Bergen Catholic High School daily.

With the best will in the world, I wouldn’t know if a 6-, 7- or 8-year-old is going to play in the Premier League in 10 or 12 years’ time. It’s ludicrous.

Bryan Jones

Aston Villa Youth Academy director

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