Moving girls’ and boys’ soccer to the winter was a terrible decision for SCDS and other schools in our league.
Actually, the decision to switch seasons was highly unpopular with small schools from the beginning: only one small-school league (the Southern Athletic League) voted for the change.
And all seven schools in our league voted against it.
The boys’ and girls’ soccer season change was suggested by several schools in our Sac-Joaquin Section. After being brought to a vote on April 6, the season change was implemented in our section.
That meant that the boys’ season switched from fall to winter while the girls’ moved from spring to winter.
But we are not a school that can benefit from the season change; in fact, it has harmed more than helped our soccer programs, as well as other winter sports.
To begin with, because of the schedule change we’ve lost JV boys’ basketball, since an additional sport in the winter challenges the limited pool of athletes at our small school.
That’s not a problem for big schools, where filling teams isn’t a battle, but it is for SCDS, where we usually struggle to fill teams like boys’ lacrosse (and now boys’ basketball).
Not only does the season change impact our sports programs, but it also impacts students.
Soccer games must be started earlier due to early sunsets, so students miss more classes.
This means more absences, which often result in students falling behind academically.
Teachers are also affected by the increased number of early dismissals, as they often have to plan lessons and tests around these absences.
Before, students occasionally missed part of last period, but now they’re often dismissed at 2 p.m., meaning they miss both afternoon classes.
Furthermore, the winter weather creates terrible field conditions and deters fans from attending games.
Few are willing to brave the freezing, rainy cold to watch a high-school soccer game.
The cold, wet conditions have also increased the risk for student illness.
Moreover, there was no homecoming soccer game this year because of the sodden field. The ground was so mushy that rolling in the field lights would have left deep grooves in the ground, making the field dangerous and unsuitable for play, according to athletic director Matt Vargo.
And it’s not like we’re the only school in our league suffering from the changes.
Faith Christian, New Life Christian, Trinity Prep, Freedom Christian, Sacramento Waldorf and Victory Christian have all dropped one or both of their soccer programs.
Some schools in our league have even been financially burdened by the season change, such as Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, which has to rent a turf field for games because their own gets ruined by the winter weather.
Ironically, one motivation for the season change was to align our section’s soccer season with the others’, which meant there could finally be state soccer championships.
Now it turns out that this state championship is supposed to happen “some time in the future.”
So the CIF implemented a season change for a state championship that can’t even take place this season.
In other words, one of the reasons the season was changed – a championship game – isn’t even happening this year.
Our league has voted to make a motion to go back to our original soccer seasons for boys and girls if no other league does so.
If a majority of schools vote with us, the CIF can grant our return to the preferred soccer seasons.
Let’s just hope that happens.