Playing for your varsity team under the lights in front of all of your friends is a dream for most high school athletes. Most athletes, however, have to wait until their junior year to play for their varsity team. There are some instances where freshmen and sophomores make the varsity team and the benefits of this greatly outweigh the negatives.
This past season, sophomore Justin Dasuki, freshman Jonathan Camberos and freshman Andy Ram all played for the varsity soccer team. This was the first experience playing varsity soccer for all three athletes.
When comparing the varsity game with the JV game, varsity is totally different. In varsity sports, the athletes are faster, stronger and have a greater desire for success. “You strive for success and motivation is easy to find because of how competitive it is,” Dasuki said.
Some people believe that only juniors and seniors should be allowed to play for their varsity team. They believe that underclassmen should learn how to play with each other on the lesser stage of JV before transitioning to the varsity level. Another negative to allowing underclassmen to play varsity is that the rest of the JV team suffers when their star player is pulled up to varsity.
While some of these points are valid, they should not get in the way of a player trying to play on varsity. Underclassmen would rather learn to play with the better players on varsity than with their friends who may not be as skilled. Although the rest of the JV team may suffer when the star player leaves, it motivates the other players more so they can try to be pulled up to varsity as well. The coach can bring another player who got cut onto the team if one of his players gets pulled up to varsity.
Another benefit to allowing underclassmen to play on varsity is that they are able to form bonds with the upperclassmen who they will be playing with. Also, the practices are a good opportunity for the underclassmen to improve as a player. “The practices are more intense and everyone is more competitive and fighting harder for their roles on the team,” Ram said.
Most athletes want to train with the best players so they can become better. By playing with the varsity team, underclassmen are able to train with better players so they can improve as well. “Being on varsity as an underclassmen pushes you mentally and physically since you have to be as fast and strong as juniors and seniors,” Camberos said.
Playing for varsity also provides the valuable experience that underclassmen need. Just being around the team helps the underclassmen grow as a player. Being on varsity as an underclassmen also helps them become more confident for the upcoming seasons when they are older. “I think varsity made me a better player because I will be more prepared and confident on the team next season,” Ram said.