The Lack of a Boy’s Soccer Team
The majority of AJA boys’ sports teams are overpopulated. Occasionally the school needs to create a junior varsity in addition to the varsity team in order to meet the demand. The boys soccer team has the opposite problem — they have not acquired the number of players needed to qualify for having a team. This issue in boy’s soccer has persisted since 2018.
Shortly after Athletic Director Coach Rodney Zimmerman sent out an email requesting for students to show their interest in spring sports, sophomore Edan Eyal sent out a “Boys Soccer Interest” google form to all of the High School. It included a “yes” or “no” option to respond to the question “Would you join the boys soccer team if they had one for the spring this year?” The form totaled 27 responses, but only 5 of them were “yes.” Therefore, as in previous years, there is not an active boys soccer team his year.
One of the students who filled out “yes” on Edan’s interest was senior Sam Fogelson. Sam, who has played soccer in other schools for around seven years, hoped to play again this year. When asked why he thinks most of the people who filled out the form said “no,” Sam said, “I just think there’s more boys who prefer to play baseball.”
Senior Josh Asherian said, “I would play soccer if there was a team. But, given that there’s only 40 boys in the school, and soccer is at the same time as baseball, we don’t have enough kids who want to play.”
The two sports share a season, and most of the boys interested in playing a sport in general seem to prefer baseball. Senior Elliot Sokol, who is on the baseball team, shared that although he “likes soccer as a sport,” he prefers to play baseball on the school team.
Junior Jordan Steinberg noted that while he doesn’t have any interest in signing up for the soccer team, the baseball team does have a lot more players than essential to have on a team. The total amount of players on the baseball team is so numerous that a lot of them end up on the bench the majority of games, but the soccer team continues to lack half the players necessary for the field. “We have 19 kids for baseball and we only need 11,” Jordan said.
Freshman Ari Shapiro prefers baseball, but he said, “If I got cut [from the baseball team], then I’d play soccer.” Pace Kaplan, another freshman, argued against having baseball cuts and that “if you volunteer and say you’d only play soccer if you got cut, then you’re going to end up having to play soccer.” He explained, “You should either fully commit to one or both sports.”
While students have the ability to sign up for both soccer and baseball, most of the students who like both do not want to participate in two sports simultaneously. Sophomore Mikey Wilson concluded that he just “wouldn’t want to have to go to both practices.”
Yered Wittenberg, a senior who filled out the form as “yes,” said he doesn’t think the school can change the fact that “more kids want to play baseball.” Sophomore Ohad Dan, who also filled out the form as “yes,” agreed with the fact that baseball has a much higher level of interest in the High School, but he sparked the idea of possibly having a team by recruiting Middle Schoolers. Last year when the girls soccer team was just under the number required to have a team, they were able to assemble enough players when they added a couple of Middle School girls to the mix.
Senior Leah Houben, who played on the girl’s soccer team last year, noted that not only did including the Middle school girls allow for them to have a team, but it also “especially conditioned the eighth grade players into playing with the High Schoolers a year in advance.”
With the possible inclusion of Middle School boys who are willing to play soccer with the High Schoolers, AJA could potentially have a chance at having a boy’s soccer team once again. However, at this time, the boy’s soccer team seems to be as lacking enough players this year as it has in the past.