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Julie Foudy On Playing Up

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Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, played midfield for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (1987-2004), winning two World Cup titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. A 2007 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, she now works as an ESPN Analyst and runs the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, teaching leadership skills to youth.

In this clip, Foudy speaks with PCA at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention about her thoughts on athletes “playing up” – joining teams with older children. Her personal experience as a youth soccer player ""playing up"" were positive, and she references always being the youngest on her teams, including when she made the national team at the age of 16.

Foudy is an advocate for playing up, but this is a decision in which an individual child’s needs should be taken into consideration. Certain kids will have the physical, emotional, and social capacity to compete in an older age bracket, while others may do better playing with peers. It’s a conversation for the parents and coaches to have, with the inclusion of the athlete’s preference, before making any decisions.