[/quote] What you are missing is that many of the elite teams, while they get competition for the top spots, don’t get that next group of really talented players. Most of the kids in the next group choose other options (and rightfully so) where they will get more playing time. The result is often a significant drop off from starters and bench players who get plenty of time to the last group of players on the team. That’s why those Hawks/FCA/Crabs/91 players who eventually get cut or drop down in level and play with AAAA, AA, A etc don’t stand out. They were never that talented to begin with.[/quote]

Here is what happens. It is a lot easier to make Hawks/FCA/Crabs/91 when you join in 2nd or 3rd grade. Meanwhile, the Rec-based clubs have solid teams at this age group because they are much cheaper and parents don't want to shell out $2k for little Johnny. As they get older, some of the better players leave the Rec-based clubs to go to the private clubs. At the same time, the kids who joined the private clubs in 2nd or 3rd grade that are not very good either don't play or get cut. A club like 91 will allow you to stay with the club, but you are essentially just a practice player. A club like Crabs will actually cut you. Not sure about FCA and Hawks.