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A College Coach's Take On Players Specializing Early In One Sport

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Erin Chastain (@ChastainErin) has served as DePaul University Women's Soccer Head Coach since 2007. Earlier, she spent five seasons at national soccer power Santa Clara University as an assistant coach. During her tenure with the Broncos, the program reached the championship game of the 2002 NCAA Championship, the semifinals in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2005. She also helped the program to West Coast Conference titles in four of her five seasons. Erin also spent time during her first three seasons at Santa Clara working with several youth teams in the Bay Area, including the DeAnza Strykers and the North Valley Tornadoes.

Erin is another voice in the increasing chorus of coaches decrying early specialization. She recalls the benefits she experienced from playing multiple sports, saying that playing tennis helped her soccer game as a youth athlete. Additional strikes against specialization include the possibility of burnout and of not recognizing the enjoyment of or aptitude for other sports.