Supreme Court decision: What could this mean for US soccer?

I am not a parent but the Supreme Court decision that rejects integration programs (NYT, subscription required) in schools will have far reaching consequences in the racial composition of schools and its school programs, one of them I imagine would be sports, especially soccer. One of the strengths of soccer in the US is in its potential assimilative power amongst ethnic minorities which could translate into a future mens national team reflecting that racial diversity. This diversity does not mean eschewing merit based selection just to get a politically correct racial balance but the fact is that schools in districts with large ethnic populations often lack the infrastructure and resources for good school programs to fully harness talented kids.
Imagine a Latino father proud of his son’s talent in soccer who wants his son to join a good soccer program and further his talent. He is dismayed by the present school’s lack of resources but a school two miles away that has predominantly white kids, has an excellent program. He has also heard that the district is putting together a racial diversity program that would have welcomed the child but now with the Roberts decision the school is unsure whether to give him admission.
Its all hunky dory when schools have equal resources but they do not. And most schools which lack resources are in neighborhoods with large black or latino populations. Merit not race should be your inclusion criteria say the Supremes but they forget that you are just about as meritocratic as your resources allow. Anthony Kennedy wants to introduce a shade of gray by giving consideration to individual cases but the thrust of this courts decision remains clear. Somehow the Supremes, well, not all of them, just the five in the majority decision think that this all part of a grand handout and so racial inertia must prevail.
Remember that myth white men can’t jump. Well, they could not till the overachieving all black 1966 Texas Western mens team won the NCAA title against Adolph Rupp and the powerhouse all white Kentucky Wildcats team. It changed the future of basketball forever in this country. Not to put too fine a point on this but US basketball has profited immensely from racial diversity.
Soccer started as an overwhelmingly white ex-urban sport in this country but it has rapidly been divesting itself of that perception as more and more recent immigrants turn to it as an easier assimilative process as part of their cultural heritage rather than through American sports. However, the resources for soccer are still disproportionately centered in the richer whiter school districts, unlike basketball which established itself first as an urban inner city phenomenon and then expanded out. This Supreme court decision makes it more difficult for their kids to find those resources.

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3 comments on “Supreme Court decision: What could this mean for US soccer?
  1. Agree completely, well said. This country is fast reverting to the days of segregated schools.

  2. SR,
    It’s been a while since I have chimed in, but your posted prompted me. Your second paragraph is not correct…it implies the Latino father has a choice and the school is unsure. Right now (or even if the Roberts court had ruled differently) the father has no choice where to send his child. Further, there is no “Latino” minority, only white/non-white (blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc.). Further, one can imagine the exact opposite scenario if the Roberts court has ruled otherwise – a Latino father in a primarily Lation district that has a great soccer program that would have to be bussed (remember the court says so) to a school that has a strong football and lacrosse program, but a weak soccer program.
    Wouldn’t it be better to have school choice and vouchers to allow minorities to choose schools rather then the courts force integration?

  3. Tilam
    Welcome back.
    I think the public school system needs to be strengthened in this country. For that they need resources. School choice and vouchers have been tried but they have never really been shown to be better than a good public school.
    I think the school systems were already experimenting with different forms of integration and some (probably Seattle) had already started looking at family earnings to introduce diversity which would make it less of a white/non-white sort of divide.
    Sure, I see your point of a father having to have his son bussed to a school just to make up some numbers but my point is that resource allocation is at fault.
    Just as an example Montclair, NJ has excellent school soccer and it also has a fairly mixed ethnic composition to avail of these facilities. However it is an exception. Most Latino district schools don’t have enough money to maintain school infrastructure let alone develop good soccer programs.

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