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High School Soccer:
The Lopsided Victory, How Much Is Too Much

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

By Jim Law
SJSports Staff Writer

Last week we all read or heard about the Camden High School men's basketball team roll up an impressive victory at the mercy of Camden County Vocational School. This is the game where one player scored 100 points in a 90-point victory. Just think a 90-point lead and the Camden coach had a full court press on the Vocational School. Camden High is a NATIONALLY ranked high school team and they inflict this punishment on a much inferior team. Was it really necessary?

Could this happen in high school soccer? It could and has. Not too many years ago Delsea men's team pounded Gloucester High School something like 20 to 0. That was totally unnecessary and out of line. Gloucester High was not a soccer school of threat to anyone. They had a very nice program and a "class" coach. This lopsided victory spelled the end of the soccer program at Gloucester for a few years. It simply drove away players. The victorious coach did go to the Gloucester High team the next day to offer a formal apology for his and his team's actions. This gesture was nice but a little late.

Have I ever seen atrocities like this in the making? Yes, this past season Delran girls had the opportunity to do so against Pemberton Township. Twenty minutes into the game the score was 7-0 for Delran. For the next 60 minutes Delran never took a shot on goal. They used their full bench as players and began a skills improvement session. As the game went on I did ask one of the players if this was a coaching strategy and she said yes, we are not allowed to shoot on goal. Two things happened here: lots of playing time for the non-starters and passing skill practice in game conditions. This is more like high school athletics should be.

Did you ever notice the less skill a team has the more they moan and groan about the official and his calls during the game? These are the same teams that have coaching that is lacking in the understanding of the game of soccer. During a recent youth game this became very evident as the game went along. The losing coach kept complaining about everything being called against him and not the other team. Typical of his actions was when a player from each team kicked the ball at the same time (no foul committed) and his player fell down. Since there was no foul there was no call from me. It happened in front of the coach and he went off about not getting the foul called. I tried to tell him since both players hit the ball and NOT each other there was no foul. If this coach were worth his merit he would get a coaching license and/or attend a referee school. This would more than qualify him to work in youth soccer in a teaching manner.

Interested in being a SOCCER REFEREE? Drop me a line and I will make sure you will be contacted to schedule a class.

Thanks for your interest and lets get the questions coming. Best to you all for the next season.

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Jim Law is a South Jersey soccer referee with over 21 years of USSF, high school, and indoor experience.

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