Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, as, according to an Entertainment and Sports Program Network article written by Roger Bennett, “30 percent of American households contain a family member who plays soccer. The only game that comes close to that massive number is baseball.”
The sport is just as popular at Palo Alto High School, with over 80 students trying out for the soccer team, annually. On top of that, there are many students who play club soccer outside of school.
Currently, there are only four Paly soccer teams: A junior varsity team and a varsity team for both the boys and girls teams, which each have around 20 players.
With 160 students trying out for the soccer team every year, only half of the students are given the opportunity to play for a team. As a result, many talented and eager players are cut, due to a limited amount of spots.
Junior Philippe Rerolle did not make the JV team his freshman and sophomore year and says that only having two teams causes many talented players to be left out.
“There are so many talented soccer players at Paly, who would really give everything to have the chance to play for their school colors,” Rerolle said. “There just are not enough spots for everyone and I think that is a real shame.”
With the addition of a freshman soccer team, more players would be given the opportunity to play.
Basketball, volleyball and football all have freshman teams and cut a minimal number of players who try out, so the addition of a freshman soccer team would be nothing out of the ordinary.
Some may think that adding a freshman team would take more money out of athletic funding and field time away from the existing JV and varsity teams. However, the football team requires significant funding and they only have two fields, yet a freshman football team still exists.
Junior forward Jason Shorin says there is flexibility with field time and that the varsity and JV teams would be able to handle a freshman team.
“[A freshman team] could play after the other teams because varsity and JV generally end at around six,” Shorin said. “Funding wise they could reuse uniforms and balls from JV.”
A freshman team would help the JV players in addition to the players who originally got cut. Out of the 80 students that try out, 20 students make the team. 20 players is an extremely large amount of players for a high school soccer team and having too many players often causes players to not get much playing time. A freshman team would allow more flexibility to the JV and varsity coaches to have fewer players which would give the players more playing time. Additionally, a freshman team would allow for smaller JV and Varsity rosters which would lead to increased playing time for players on all teams.
Junior left back Nathan Seto played on the varsity soccer team last year and thinks that a freshman team would also make it easier on the coaches.
“I think that Paly should have a freshman team because the JV team usually has way too many players and not everybody gets enough playing time,” Seto said. “Having a freshman team would be easier on the coaches to manage fewer players and not worry about getting everybody in the game.”
Last season, there were 27 players on the girls JV team and 23 players on the girls varsity team.
Junior defender Claire Chen said a freshman team would be helpful to the girls in addition to the boys.
“I think a freshman team would be good for the people who do not make junior varsity,” Chen said. “JV and Varsity tend to have large benches and a freshman team would allow more girls to play on the field.”
If there continues to be only four Paly soccer teams, eager and committed players will continue to be deprived of the opportunity to play.
An induction of a freshman team would quickly eliminate many of these problems and would allow for more talent to be exposed.