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USA Athletes International

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Clever username, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Has anyone ever had dealings with this group? Hell, has anyone else actually heard of it? I hadn't until recently, but it does exist, despite its incredibly amateurish Web site. The impression I get is that it's a pay-for-play international travel team. Apparently you have to get invited, but you still foot the bill.

    I guess my real questions are: How legit is this whole thing? And how big of a deal is it? I'd like to have an idea before a local girl on one of the teams tries telling me she's an international superstar.
  2. jimmymcd

    jimmymcd Guest

    If you have to pay to travel with the team, you ain't a superstar of any kind.
  3. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    That's what I gather, but this girl sent me a professional style press release, so I just want to make sure my BS detector is fully charged for when I talk to her. I've got a feeling she's going to be talking out of the side of her mouth.
  4. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    I actually wrote a story on a lacrosse player earlier this week that went to Berlin for a tournament last month and played on the USAAI team.

    You pay to play, and it's nothing special. USAAI had no superstars. The story was more about the kid playing internationally for the first time (culture, differences in the European game, experiences in Germany, etc.) and much less about the team he played for. He said he was invited when "some guy" sent an e-mail to his college coach. He plays at a middle-of-the-road D-III school.

    I didn't work at this paper when the dude played his high school lax, but he was decent. Made the all-area team, but wasn't the player of the year or anything.

    Hope this helps. Sounds like someone might be tooting their own horn a little too hard...
  5. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Yeah, that's what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure. Thanks.
  6. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    These scams are uniformly bullshit. Usually the kid (90% of the time, the PARENTS) call the paper a month or so ahead of time, trying to drum up money for a "fundraising" drive for Little Jimmy to go play for "Team USA" in Europe or Australia or Japan or wherever.

    Hey, I'd love to go to Europe, Australia or Japan myself. Memo to Mummy and Daddy: If you want Little Jimmy to go play in Europe or Australia or Japan or wherever, pay for it your own damn self. Good ole American self-reliance. That's a lesson you can't buy.
  7. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I actually got the release after she had already gone off to South America for a tournament, but she sent it four times -- by e-mail, fax and snail mail. There were actually two releases in the same envelope, which, you know, seemed excessive. She's coming off as more of an attention whore than anything. She and her parents just moved to the area.
  8. How other papers - although none of the high-profile variety - treat it:

  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Well, there is that, too. If she was particularly any good, she would have already made all-conference, all-area, etc etc. teams.

    Especially beware if the kid is playing an indigenous American sport (i.e. basketball, baseball, softball), travels somewhere the sport is not really the rage, and puts up some fantastic statistics. Pay no attention whatsoever to the results. I've seen sports departments bite on the bait, and start touting a kid the next high school season as "toughened by international summer competition," only to end up with egg on their faces when the kid averages 5 ppg.

    My sister, a standout athlete in high school, had friends who were marginal/occasional starters in high school, who signed up for one of these tours, and scored 20-30 points in these "international" games. These were kids whose career high in HS was 7 points or something.

    These girls told her the level of competition was something like very poor junior high. The leading club teams were sometimes very good, but average club teams were horrible. The structure of youth sports is very different in other countries. The good players gravitate to a very limited number of elite club teams, and the rest are very bad.

    They did get to see Europe (although not very much of it), which was cool, but for the money it cost, they could have just flown on their own dime and probably gotten a better "cultural experience."
  10. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I think the release from the college is the most telling. SIDs generally blow crap like this out of proportion.
  11. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Point definitely taken, Starman. Thankfully, there is more to her story than just this. She started on a team that won two state titles in high school, went D-I before getting hurt and plans on attempting a comeback at a D-II, though I'm not sure if the coach knows yet.

    She did go DI (I found her in the school's records) but I need to verify the high school stuff.
  12. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Seems a legit outfit to me. Local D-III hoops coach took his team to Australia every year and we ran a daily journal from him.
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