KC is generally a few years (or more) behind trend...and the bi-coastal trend is that the very top players do not play for their high school. They have a longer view than high school, and their development as a player is their priority. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/hig...9G_story_2.html
I think it is fascinating how many parents would seek to criticize that decision, when they wouldn't dream of doing it in other activities...
Consider a young concert violinist. You wouldn't take an exceptional young musician who has trained with pros for hours a week over 8 years and say - now you are age 15, so for about 6 months out of every year for the next 4 years, you can only play with the high school symphony, even if it is a much lower level than what you are accustomed to, even if the music is too easy, and the other musicians hold you back, or if the conductor is not able to challenge you. You have to have the "High School Symphony Experience" because it is just that awesome.
Or - are you really amazing at Biology? Perhaps you have won awards and done lots of internships and research on your own time, and you are a science whiz kid. Whatever you do, don't skip senior year Biology to take college science courses at KU or even JCCC. That might keep you from having the true "Senior Year Experience" by not taking every single class your peers do.
SIGH. You don't hear outrage when an advanced pianist decides to skip out on HS Jazz Band, an exceptional dancer doesn't opt in to the drill team, or the math genius goes to college math classes two years early. No one is worried it will rob them of their High School memories and saddle them with a lifetime of regret.
How is a very high level athlete any different? When kids (or adults) train at the highest level at any endeavor, their idea of "fun" changes. It is not "fun" to play/work/study beneath their ability, or with people who limit their creativity. It's frustrating. Just like it would be frustrating for the dedicated and exceptional musician, or student.
We have gotten by with HS ball and outlawing dual participation primarily because we have not had sufficient player depth. If we continue along the current path of development though...I think you can expect to see the gap between average and exceptional players continue to grow at a surprising rate. When that gap gets large enough, it becomes impractical for them to be on the field together, for the same reasons it is impractical to have a D1 premier player on the field with rec players.
Of course, we are talking about a very small minority of players. Which is why it hasn't happened in KC yet, where our top talent tends to be widely spread across clubs, and player density is fairly low overall compared to coastal cities where top players have already begun choosing to play year round club.
However - many very good club players I speak with already tell me that they have mixed feelings about their HS experience, and that they wouldn't mind missing it if there was another good option.
As there are more and more of these higher level players, those other options will appear, and the kids will sometimes choose not to play HS soccer.
Every family and player will have to make this decision based on their own priorities, opportunities and abilities. While most players may still select HS ball for many years to come and may continue to have a great experience with it, I also respect the decision of those who believe that their dedication and playing career is better served by playing year round club and I have no doubt they can find equal fulfillment in that choice. It seems to be a personal decision, and not one that others could easily criticize.