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Prep soccer headed for major changes

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The California Interscholastic Federation will vote this week on a revision to one of its bylaws that would prohibit soccer players from participating with club teams and high school teams during the same season.
Sac-Joaquin Section officials are opposed to the bylaw revision, believing it would negatively impact high school soccer programs throughout the area. And there’s little doubt that it would. But those same officials realize that the bylaw change is almost inevitable, as just about every other section in the state will be voting for the change.
“This proposal needs to be voted down and maybe our section needs to revisit the season of sport for soccer, but a passage of this bylaw will create many more problems for the SJS,” the Sac-Joaquin Section said in a statement released last week. “It is our belief that our club programs have attempted to work with us on curtailing their activities during our seasons for the boys in the fall and the girls in the spring.”
While prep soccer produces intriguing rivalries and some great, competitive battles throughout the Sacramento area, club soccer is where it’s at when it comes to players moving on to the college level and beyond. Recruiters rarely pay attention to high school play, especially the lower division matches.
Club tournaments, held throughout the year, bring most of the best players together in one place — much like the AAU basketball tournaments that attract college coaches in droves each summer.
Assuming most of the competitive club soccer players opt not to play prep soccer, the high school game would suffer dramatically from a competitive standpoint.
The SJS may explore moving soccer to a different season, which would eliminate some of the conflicts with club play. However, the weather in the foothills would provide some serious challenges of its own.
The emergence of turf fields at many schools in the area could help solve the problem, but rain, wind and other wild weather would become a regular part of the prep soccer experience.
We could be in store for some stormy soccer in the coming years.

The Auburn community has embraced Jane Kibii, propelling her to a big season on the national running circuit this spring.
A professional runner from Kenya, Kibii is staying with Auburn’s Brad Poore this year, training locally and competing in races throughout the country.
The latest to pitch in and support her efforts are Dr. Ashen, who provided dental work for Kibii and Dr. David Norcott, who provided free vision care. Ve Loyce Shackelton of Monsters of Massage has also been a big help for both Kibii and Poore, who is also a professional runner.