Soccer coaches say delay in start of practice causing rash of injuries

October 02, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

High school soccer coaches are blaming a 10-day delay in the start of practice for a higher than normal number of injuries this season.

The Wilde Lake girls team, 12-4 and a state finalist last season, had hoped for the same success this season. But injuries have so decimated the squad that the Wildecats will be fortunate to make the playoffs.

They've lost two of three games, have four starters injured and only 12 healthy players left.

"If we were healthy, there's no doubt we'd be 3-0," Wildecats coach Rick Wilson said. "We had only four days of practice and then had to play three full scrimmages in one day. We just weren't ready for it. Two of my starters were injured and haven't played since that first scrimmage."

They are fullbacks Carrie Brelsford, who has a pulled thigh muscle, and Farah Krupp, who suffered a knee injury.

In a 1-0 loss to Fallston last Thursday, two more starters -- goalie Leah Angle (shin) and stopper Carrie Chao (ankle) -- were injured and missed most of the second half.

"We were down to one sub by the end of the Fallston game," said Wilson, whose varsity consists of just 16 players. Wilde Lake has the smallest enrollment of any high school in the county.

"I'd like to bring players up from junior varsity, but that team has only 15 players and I don't want to destroy it," Wilson said.

This is the first season soccer practice did not start Aug. 15. Instead School Superintendent Michael Hickey mandated that practice not begin until Aug. 25, the first day that teachers reported to work.

Most surrounding counties began practice Aug. 15, giving them an edge in conditioning time.

The decision to delay practice resulted from a Board of Education decision to cut $25,000 in August workshop pay, spread among 32 high school soccer coaches.

Once workshop pay was taken away from soccer, Hickey did not want to leave the start of practice up to the coaches, because he felt some might start Aug. 15 and some might not. And he didn't want any coach feeling pressured to begin Aug. 15.

Coaches fear that the number of injuries so far is only an indication of what's to come, because the delay in starting practice also has shortened the soccer season and forced teams to schedule games without enough time for players to recuperate in between.

Centennial High's boys team is another one slowed by injuries.

"I have four players each with a foot in a cast," varsity coach Bill Stara said of his 2-0-1 Eagles. Two of those players are varsity team members and two are on junior varsity.

Howard High coach Rudy Storch said two of his top varsity players have been injured. His team, one of the best in the area the past three seasons, has limped to a 1-2 start.

Glenelg boys coach John Bouman reported that his team has had only minor injuries so far, but that it soon must play four games in seven days.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed we'll come out of it healthy," he said.

His team plays Martin Spalding Oct. 3 and Bel Air Oct. 5. Then it has a night game at Liberty Oct. 8 followed by a day game Oct. 9 at Hammond.

Centennial has to play three games in four days this week.

"The kids and their parents are the ones who are going to pay the price for this," Stara said. "Just wait and see how many kids get injured."

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