The Bellevue sports blog
Prep versus Academy soccer, background on features and a WIAA ruling comes down | From the SidelinesApril 26th, 2012 at Thu, 26th, 2012 at 5:22 pm by Josh Suman
Lots to catch up on in the blog, so without further adieu…
The lone crossover story that dealt with Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish was our look at the U.S. Soccer ruling that has removed preps who play for a development academy team from the field this year. As expected, coaches had some strong thoughts on the subject. Two of the coaches I spoke with for the story hail from the UK, where a different educational system and differing avenues to preparing youngsters for the professional and international game make it difficult to compare to what we have in the United States.
“It’s comparing apples to oranges. In England we leave school at 16 and at that age you can sign as a “trainee” with a YTS program. You would train everyday with the team and not go to school at all. If you’re good enough at the end of that program, they will sign you on professional terms or release you.” - David Smith, Bellevue High School head coach and Crossfire Premier coach
“I know how the system works in England, it won’t work the same way here. High school is different here. People coming in trying to change the system, I don’t think they get what high school means to be these kids.”- Adam Gervis, Eastlake head coach
I ran a feature on the Issaquah pitching staff and its leaders Brandon Mahovlich, Ethan Kalin and Andrew Kemmerer. The Eagles have not been able to get things rolling the way they would have liked and currently sit in the bottom half of the Crest, but the pitching staff as a whole and Mahovlich especially have been pretty outstanding.
In the story I get some thoughts from Kalin, who had an older brother that won a state title in the program in 2007 but that squad, like this one, also had a Kemmerer and Gellatly. It remains to be seen if the class of 2012 can fulfill it’s goal of leaving a legacy on the program the same way that one did, but they certainly have the pedigree.
In a couple of news related items, the WIAA Representative Assembly voted against a proposed amendment that would have prohibited shoulders pads and helmets (at least school-owned ones) during the off-season, which comes as no big surprise to anyone who was following the developments.
I spoke with five or so coaches and not a single one was in favor of the amendment, including one coach in the district that initiated it, Everett. By and large, the response seems to be that concussion awareness, protocol and when possible prevention are all good things, but removing a vital piece of equipment that actually protects the head is not a well-reasoned solution to the problem of head injuries in youth sports, a topic we covered in-depth in a story last year.
It will be interesting to see if the spurned administrators from the ESD try and redraft the amendment to make it more appealing to other voters while still achieving their goals of increased safety in the off-season or abandon it completely. The former option would reinforce the idea that the end-game was indeed player safety and reducing practice time in the offseason while the latter would suggest perhaps the rumblings about trying to punish successful programs and cut financial corners could be valid.
I’ve had a couple other feature stories that have run as well, with one profiling Issaquah sophomore Robbie Johnson’s first bodybuilding show after three years of preparation and another that looked at the friendship and rivalry between Eastlake golfer Spencer Weiss and Skyline’s Brian Mogg, who met on the course during a WJGA event during middle school and have since become two of the top golfers in KingCo and remained great friends despite attending rival Sammamish schools.
Having only covered the Issaquah-Sammamish area for the past few months and having moved away from game coverage, I’m not as well-versed in the rivalry as my predecessor. But I do know things like Eastlake’s first-ever win over eventual 4A state champ Skyline in football stoke the fire. Whether or not it can ever get to the level of Eastlake-Redmond remains to be seen…
In Bellevue, I was able to work my story about Jubilee Reach’s partnership with the Bellevue School District for its sports programming in middle schools onto the front page for only the second time in the year I’ve been here. The issue stories are becoming more regular on our sites in the sports section and that is something I will try to continue.
Check back on the blog soon for more feature story background items, extra photo clips and quotes that didn’t make the final cut!