Many soccer players come into high school with the hopes of joining the varsity team. The number of freshman selected for the varsity team depends on each soccer program, but the majority of the incoming class will end up on the junior varsity or freshman team. Although not making the team can be disappointing, usually it is to the benefit of the player. Coaches know which players are ready to compete at the varsity level and which players need time to develop their soccer skills. Playing junior varsity can be amazingly helpful for young players. If you are placed on the JV squad, see it as an opportunity instead of a disappointment. Here’s a list of just a few benefits of playing JV soccer.

Teammates: When you join a JV soccer team as a freshman, or even as a sophomore and above, you are playing with kids who are around your level of play. Working with these players will let you hone in on the your strengths and build your confidence on the field. You can learn the dynamics of high school soccer while avoiding the intense demands of varsity competition. If you play at the varsity level as a freshman, many of the people you’ll be playing with have already been playing together for a season. It’s much easier to move into a high school program by starting with JV and developing with other players like you.

Leadership: You shouldn’t be upset if you think you are one of the best because you’ll see a lot of playing time and will become a leader on the team. Leadership is a skill that is very difficult to teach, but can be quickly learned with experience. On JV, you will be able to work on leadership skills that will help you later in your soccer career and in life. Also, being a leader on the JV team can win the attention of varsity coaches and players. You can build a reputation on the soccer field while gaining valuable experience.

Coach Relationship: Some freshmen will join the varsity team and be an immediate impact, but most of them will sit on the bench as depth players. That time spent on the bench is time that they could be enjoying on the field on JV. Being on JV also means building invaluable coach-player relationships with their JV coaches. These coaches’ main job is to help players improve, prepare players for varsity, and have fun. As a top JV player, you can work with your coach to get the most out of your season while a varsity coach may not have that time to help you.

Yes, Not making a varsity team can be disappointing, especially if you think you have a good chance. In reality, however, being on JV can be the best thing for your development as a soccer player.

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