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Should America Start Paying The Elite Amatuer Athletes Like In Europe?

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The scouting network of Neale McDermott, who works for Adidas, is seen as more sophisticated and comprehensive than those of the Premier League’s giants.

Source: Looking for England’s Next Soccer Phenom? The Adidas Scout Knows – The New York Times

Take a beat to read this Source link right now before continuing. If you don’t want to do that, read these following quotes closely.

The premium on promise has never been higher in English soccer. Last week, it emerged that Manchester City had paid the League One club Southend United 175,000 pounds (about $215,000) to sign Finley Burns, a 13-year-old defender. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player that age. Last year, City paid Watford a fee that could rise as high as £500,000 ($615,000) for the 15-year-old forward Jadon Sancho.

Just as with the clubs, that age is growing younger and younger. Phil Foden, another Manchester City prodigy, agreed to a deal with Nike at 14; Ben Elliott, a 13-year-old prospect at Chelsea, is reported to have attracted the attention of the company as well.

For both companies, specific deals with teenagers fall into three categories. Some are so-called kit-only agreements in which players will be sent a certain number of pairs of footwear, as well as other apparel, a specified number of times a season. Others are given store cards, loaded with as much as £5,000 of credit a year (more than $6,000), to spend on the brand’s goods.

Only the very best prospects are paid directly, in deals often negotiated with agents or, for under-16s, signed by their parents or guardians. A vast majority of these contracts are worth a few thousand dollars a year, and typically last for just a couple of years, though a handful of youth players are already drawing five-figure sums to wear boots at a time when playing for the first team, on television, is still years off.

Did you read that? If you didn’t go back and read those quotes. In Europe amatuer athletes are able to be paid on their road to becoming professionals. Recently I wrote about the Football league being organized by Tom Brady’s agent:

Tom Brady’s Agent Is Starting a Pro Football League for College-Age Players | VICE Sports

Right now American amatuer athletes are penalized for accepting gifts of any kind. If a kid decides to commit to a college with a National Letter of Intent, and that kid then changes his mind, he is forced to sit out an entire year of his college eligibility. If a kid attends a college on a scholarship and grows homesick and wants to transfer to a college close to home, that kid has to sit out an entire year of his eligibility before becoming eligible again.

Right now a kid gets a college scholarship to play basketball. Many people argue that this is compensation enough. A degree can cost over 100,000 dollars. The problem is the scholarship doesn’t cover living off campus. The player can not have a job as an athlete because it can be seen as a benefit. The player can’t live the life of a college student because he is being paid to go to school and be an athlete.

The college however, take Duke Basketball for example, earns 27 Million dollars per year. The coach takes in 9 Million. Michigan State Football took in 52.8 Million last year. If a college coach grows in popularity he can leave his program where he recruited a kid and be paid even more at another school. The kid he recruited, can’t leave the school or he has to sit out a year.

What’s Even Worse?

The Amatuer Athlete in the US only gains one benefit for the amount of money and energy paid by parents, the elusive D-1 scholarship. A kid might get gear if he is an elite prospect. That gear has to go through a handler or a travel team coach. I know personally some travel team coaches who earn 100,000 a year for building power house teams that play from March through July. On top of that 100K they can get up to 100K in footwear and apparel. They also earn travel expenses.

I could dive deeper into this discussion, but to do so would require a serious amount of time to create a pros and cons list. What I want to do with this is to introduce you to the European side of things because I personally didn’t understand the level of commitment that goes into building athletes internationally.

The Source link was eye opening. While the focus was on sneaker affiliated scouts, the fact that an elite athlete can begin earning as young as 9 years old isn’t crazy, it’s right… to me? What about you?