The 2015-2016 winter sports season will be the first time the Lick Girls’ Soccer Teams play in the winter. The move from spring to winter came after a decision by the Marin County Athletics League, more commonly known as MCAL, to move all of their Marin girls’ soccer teams to the winter season. Because the Lick girls compete against these teams during their season, they were left without competition, forcing Lick to make a monumental decision. The athletics department resolved to follow MCAL, moving the Tigers to the winter, so that they had a chance to compete in the league and sectional championships at the end of the season.
Although it seemed inevitable, this change is not necessarily universally supported. When asked if he thought the change would be well-received by the Lick girls, Eliot Smith, Athletic Director, replied, “My biggest concern is for the small sports, like JV soccer or JV girls’ basketball, because now we have to make a decision: do we have enough girls to field a team?” This has been a key question since the beginning of the discussion whether to move girls’ soccer to winter. Dual basketball and soccer players are being put in a tough position, as they are now forced to choose one sport or the other. When asked to share her reaction to the change, Sydni Green ’16, who has played both basketball and soccer for the past three years, admitted, “In years past they [the athletics department] had said it was going to happen, but I never really believed it, but I guess it was kind of a shock or, not a slap in the face, but shocking. It sucks to choose when my sports have been set as one per season and I have been playing those since elementary school, so it was kind of hard to give up one.”Another argument against the switch is the effect of winter weather. Unlike basketball or wrestling, soccer is played outside. With El Niño, predicted to be the strongest in years, and California’s rainy season hopefully underway, games and practices may be rained out. Additionally, with the season falling outside of daylight savings time, the teams may be forced to end games and practices earlier, or play exclusively on fields with lights.
On the other hand, the elimination of girls’ soccer from the spring season benefits some female athletes. Previously, the girls’ soccer season coincided with lacrosse, badminton, swimming, and track & field. The move to winter allows girls who played soccer during the spring season to try out a new spring sport or play a sport they previously gave up to play soccer. Therefore, many dual spring sport athletes are thrilled about the season change. Jamila Wilson ’17, who ran track her freshman year and played soccer on a club team outside of school, but decided to play soccer her sophomore year, explains “I ran track freshman year, but I also wanted to play soccer, and it was a hard decision for me both freshman year and sophomore year, so it is nice having the chance to play both sports.” An additional argument for moving girls’ soccer to the winter is that most club teams play in the spring, creating conflict between school and club soccer. Wilson adds, “Usually more important soccer seasons are fall and spring, and so in terms of club soccer it’s a lot nicer to have school soccer in the winter.”
Girls’ soccer tryouts will commence on November 9, 2015.
What about the boys? Will they follow the girls to the winter? When asked, Smith replied, “It’s being discussed.”