Totally disagree with you VMS. You assume prima donna which is not always the case. All you are doing is reducing the chance of success for your team. I am positive that these athletes are so rare that it hardly ever happens. You did not read my post. I said during the primary season of soccer, whatever that is, they should commit to soccer. If you are saying that premier soccer is year round and you have to commit year round no matter what then I think that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. As a head coach I had to ocassionally deal with other head coaches that wanted to hoard talented athletes and told them if only they specialized they would get college scholarships etc. (not in soccer by the way). When the college scholarships never materialized and the season was disappointing I often wondered what the parents who bought into the talk were left thinking.
By the way with over 160 hours of WIAA clock hours in training and 16 years of coaching everything from 3rd YMCA soccer (where I used basketball terminology and we had a blast) to varsity football and basketball at the 3A level I can tell you almost every renowned expert I have ever listened to will tell you that cross training and down time from a sport is essential. Study after study has shown that to be true. Among the experts I have had the good fortune to listen to they are all in agreement that the body, not to mention the mind, needs rest.
This idea that year round anything is good for a young person flies in the face of science, sports psychology, and sports medicine. Ask the UW of washington professer I listened to last year talk about physical, mental burnout of young athletes. Since I am on the rant anyway I might as well lambast all the coaches who take a young athlete in any sport and focus them on that sport exclusively. Here is the general way it works. Some youngster shows some promise in a sport and success at the rec level. Then some coach or parent suddenly believes they have the next pro and flies into a so called elite program. Now a young person who has success and getting positives from all the adults around you what are you going to do? Of course buy in. It is only natural and understandable. Success continues to happen until they get to a certain level where it becomes much tougher. Then suddenly it is the coaches fault, or the clubs fault, or someone elses fault. Or in the case of one stellar female athlete she gave it up her senior year because she was tired of it.
Give the 9,10, 11, 12 year olds a break and let them explore. This is not soccer specific at all but if I had this many adults telling me what to do I doubt I would have ended up a mulisport starter at the varsity level. For the record, with an AAU 6th grade basketball team that has won 2 of the three recent tournaments we entered and competed in a 7th grade league very well, we still play freeze tag dribbling a basketball once a week during practice. They love it and don't even realize that they are conditioning, working on ball handling skills, court awareness, and teamwork. They think it is a timeout from real basketball stuff. Their ignorance of what the drill is being used for and innocence just loving playing a game is fine by me.