The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT Sept. 26, 2012 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT Sept. 26, 2012

A nutty way to start the fall season

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Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 12:00 am

Absolute chaos.

After watching the first month of NFL football, as well as prep soccer, chaos might be the best way to describe it right now.

BELIEVE IT or not, some area prep soccer teams will be finished late next week.

As the regular season winds down this week - with the final 5A Inland Empire League matches this Saturday as Lake City and Coeur d'Alene face off - plenty still remains to be settled.

Coeur d'Alene, which is currently tied with Post Falls in the 5A IEL boys standings, needs to win and hope that the Timberwolves can upset the Trojans in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday afternoon.

Post Falls has already locked up the 5A IEL girls regular season title and will be the top seed when their regional tournament begins next week against Lewiston, with Lake City second and will likely host Coeur d'Alene in a loser-out match.

In the span of a month, area soccer teams have fit an entire schedule into just four weeks, playing up to four times a week, just to be sure that games are completed by this weekend - six weeks after the regular season began.

It didn't seem like that long ago that the high school sports season was starting and teams were getting back on the field for the first time after a long summer vacation.

And by the time that school had begun for most teams, they'd already played at least four to five games.

One coach added that between the level of each game, along with the compressed schedule to fit in a state play-in game - that it is difficult on the players to recover in time for the next match.

Another issue with the 5A regional runner-up having to travel to face a team from Boise at Middleton High in a play-in match on Oct. 13 - Boise is just under a half-hour from Middleton, with the northern teams needing to travel almost seven hours and the winner advancing to the state 5A tournaments at Coeur d'Alene, Lake City and Post Falls Oct. 18-20.

For a sport trying to get fans to come out to their tournaments, shouldn't soccer want as many local teams as they can get?

IN ALL the years I've watched Seattle Seahawks football, nothing compares to the way that game ended on Monday night.

And I don't think it will ever happen again.

Allegedly, Seahawks receiver Golden Tate wrestled the ball out of the hands of Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings on the final play to bring in the winning score.

Nowhere in that entire sequence outside of when the pile was cleared did it appear as if Tate caught the ball, but somehow he had it.

Unlike what some commentators are saying — that this will cost Green Bay a playoff spot — that’s insane.

Green Bay is still a great team, much like a bunch of other 1-2 teams. And this is only the third game, with another 13 to go.

Eventually, those locked-out officials will get back on the field and if this is just another step in that happening, then good for all those involved.

Until that happens, get used to this chaos.

It might be around a while.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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1 comment:

  • 1inIdaho posted at 11:10 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    1inIdaho Posts: 268

    Jason,
    What do you mean by, "For a sport trying to get fans to come out to their tournaments, shouldn't soccer want as many local teams as they can get?"

    HS soccer in our district (as well as pretty much every district nation-wide) would love to have more fans come out.
    Alas, AD's who make the schedules could seem to care less about getting more fans out to soccer games.
    Games are scheduled early in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays... well before most folks are able to get off work.
    Nominally, the reason that the AD's give, is the lack of facilities with lights, and the rapidly shrinking hours of daylight this time of year.
    Yet, there are at least 3-4 nights per week when the lighted football stadiums at these schools are not being used.
    The fans are out there... but when AD's schedule games in the midst of most people's workdays; it's awfully hard to get them to the sidelines.
    A little bit of chaos that often gets overlooked, is that on any given Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, there are upwards of 12 games between varsity and jv, going on in our county... ALL STARTING AT 4:00 OR 4:30. Considering that a full referee crew for a soccer match should have 3 officials; that means that 36 officials are needed every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon... at the 5A schools in Coeur d'Alene / Post Falls alone.
    When you factor in the 2,3, and 4A schools in the rest of district 1; the number of games is almost triples.
    Our local referee association is strong, but they all have day jobs, besides reffing high school soccer. And it is just as hard for them to get off in the middle of the day, twice a week, to go work these games.
    As a result, you have a lot of 2-man crews working games that really need 3... 1-man crews working JV games... and even the cancellation of some matches due to the lack of referees to work them all.

    Sadly, the impression I get, is that most AD's just don't care about soccer.
    If the officiating suffers... that's too bad. Go find some more referees (who have weekday afternoons free, and will work for about 1/2 to 1/3 less than the average football referee makes).
    If fans can't make it to the games because of work... too bad. If they really loved the sport, they would have jobs where they didn't have to work weekday afternoons.
    If those pricey football stadiums are empty most nights... too bad. We don't want to rile the fooball coaches who consider them "sacred temples." Never-mind that soccer is LESS harsh on fields and turf than football is.
    It never seems to be considered that putting lights up on the soccer fields might be a better use of funds, than re-modeling a press-box, or buying all-new uniforms for every Varsity, JV, and Freshman football player every season (Soccer teams generally only get new uniforms every 2-3 seasons... and even then, only if the players fund-raise for them, or their parents pay out-of-pocket).

    There is a huge soccer community in our county. There are nearly 1000 players in the local club programs alone... not to mention the park & rec, and adult programs. The parents, grandparents, and friends of all these players are soccer fans, and most of them would come out to watch the great High School soccer that is played in our district... if they weren't at work. The schools are missing a huge opportunity to capitalize on the revenue that fans of these games could bring.

     
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