Town Square

Politics in AV sports

Original post made by Danny on Nov 23, 2013

Shame on Amador Valley Sports directors and girls varsity soccer coach for allowing five freshmen girls onto the girls varsity soccer team this season. The coach and five girls are all from the same RAGE team. AV has a Freshman soccer team for Freshman. If they want to stick together than they should stay in RAGE. WE need outside sources to pick our sports teams. Is this a first in HS sports? IF they are really that good this should go national.

I DON"T have kids at this school!


Posted by soccer parent, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 24, 2013 at 10:02 am

I'm surprised any of these girls are actually playing high school soccer. At the elite levels, both local soccer clubs are dissuading athletes from playing for the high school due to the sub par coaching.
With that said, I'm surprised more people haven't commented on this. Does it really come as a surprise that politics might play a role in high school sports? It has been speculative across many sports at both local high schools exactly who earns spots on Varsity rosters. Suppose it is part of the territory when you live in a hyper competitive environment like ours. I would suspect parent influence played a role, since both high schools are guilty of that - especially in regards to baseball and soccer!, I'm not an AVHS parent.

Posted by Soccer dad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

The soccer coach is charged with putting together the best possible team from the available players. Parents don't always agree with the coaches' decisions. Blasting the coaches in a public forum is wrong on many different levels. Sorry you don't agree; well, that's sports.

It is 100% untrue that local soccer clubs are advising players to not play HS soccer. Clubs arrange their game schedules with HS in mind, so that there is a neat overlap between the club and HS seasons. Soccer Parent, get your facts straight.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Soccer dad your heads buried in the sand, the soccer clubs absolutely suggest that playing in high school is not advantageous. Sadly club sports have taken over. And yes politics is alive and we'll in high school sports.

Posted by Danny, a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Great point soccer parent. With no kids in the pleasanton sports programs I was surprised.
I wonder if Juniors and seniors can play on the Freshman team?

Posted by woggut, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

>>I'm surprised any of these girls are actually playing high school soccer. At the elite levels, both local soccer clubs are dissuading athletes from playing for the high school due to the sub par coaching. <<

I don't think that's true, it may be a perspective from one Rage team or some intra-club coach rivalry. It's some of the same coaches (Gray, King), King is also assistant coach at Mills College, and was their acting head coach last spring. Our kids got advice on tryout strategy from their Rage coaches.
H.S. is tough because it turns soccer into a 11 month season, some kids may need to rest and heal.

Posted by Pele, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:26 am

It is true. Though not having any kids who play soccer, I have heard from friends and relatives that players are encouraged to not play school soccer, so that they can play in some "key" tournaments during the winter season. Or, as woggut stated above, that the coaches recommend rest. Either way, it is encouraged that they do NOT play school soccer.

As for the politics, well, the best coaches don't play that game, as they want to put the best players on the field. But sadly, many coaches do play that game. My favorite story is of an athlete who did not make the team of their chosen sport, at one of the high schools, but somehow ended up receiving a college scholarship in that sport. Why on earth would this coach not take this player? I have no idea. It's very sad.

As for freshmen on varsity teams, it happens from time to time, not rarely but not frequently either. If a kid is good enough, they will make that team, and sometimes start. I've seen numerous four-year varsity starters in numerous sports.

Posted by parent, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

As a parent who knows about this seasons tryouts, they were ridiculous! Not only did a number of Freshman make JV and Varsity, many players from last years Freshman team were cut to make room for these Freshman player who were ALL told BEFORE Tryouts from the Varsity Coach that they will automatically make Varsity. This was proven and the Athletic Director was told about it and did not care. A Couple of Sophomores who were already told they made Varsity were then told they will be dropped down to JV to make room for Freshman players. Many Players who are now Seniors and played multiple years were also cut for these Freshman. The Teams were decided way before Tryouts even started. Not every parent can afford Competitive Soccer in Pleasanton and MANY MANY stand out players who played for Rec soccer and Amador last year were cut. I guess we will see if the Coaches were smart to have such a young Varsity team.. my hope that ALL Girls get a fair shot next year, because it sure was not fair this year.

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Not only is there politics in this program but the problem is that if a rage coach is coaching a U15 competitive girls soccer team, and in charge of the girls soccer program at Amador, there is a serious conflict of interest if not only does most (if not all) of that team advance up to JV and Varsity, but end up staying there under that same coaches direction. No other competitive freshmen were moved up.

It's not just about winning, it's about commitment to previous years girls. They cut Seniors and Juniors in favor of these Freshmen. That is sad! A lot of times the difference between someone at those levels is miniscule. So, you have to make a conscience decision to cut those players who have been playing for you. Not to mention the Freshmen have their own team.

I know a parent is raising concern at the school about all of this, and has mentioned to them the conflict prior to the final selections. Who knows if they will listen or even care.

Remember, the parents that play in competitive spend a lot of money. Imagine the view of someone who's entire team took over the Amador Soccer program at the highest levels. 7 or 8 of Tim's team made JV (Tim is the varsity coach, in charge of girls soccer program) and 5 made Varsity. 3 were bumped back to the Freshman team.

Posted by observer, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I'm glad this happened, as perhaps it will open a discussion about the 'conflict of interest' that seems to occur across several high school sports. Shall we talk about coaches at both high schools who run for-profit baseball and basketball teams, and whose hs rosters look suspiciously like the rosters of their own private teams which play during the summer or fall? This HAS been brought up to the AD, and has fallen on deaf ears. I hope more folks speak up. It is wrong, and unfortunately $$ speaks loudly in this town!

Posted by Observnt1, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Im all about winning. There are no rules against freshman playing on varsity. If you are so angry about it, maybe you should get your kid up to par. Just saying.

Posted by Provem1, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Let's not jump on coach gray and his conflict of interest. He is in charge of picking the best players to make his team competitive. All you whining parents is whats wrong with high school sports. Your antics rub off on our kids. Grow up and deal with it. Do you whine when a college student fresh out of college gets a better job then you? Maybe it's because they are better suited for the job. Same goes in hs sports. Look at foothill they have 6 freshman to. Good luck coach gray this year and ignore these parents that can't deal with their kids not meeting expectations. PARENTS grow up and stop posting stuff on a website.

Posted by Shoulda, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm

THIS goes on with the Cheerleading squads as well! if you are not connected to the coach your child gets SCREWED period!
So it's not just soccer - it's water polo, softball, volleyball - it's really who is IN the coaches pocket - get it?! who is financing the "perks" for the coaches that is why some kids make it while others don't. I don't think it will change anytime soon.

Posted by Provem1, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Shoulda you have no idea! Maybe your kid isn't good enough! Get over it and move on!

Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

It's not if they are good or not. It's the perception of a conflict of interest. You don't cut seniors and juniors who played for years to replace with your personal team. Where's the commitment to the players who spent years training under them. As a coach of a for-profit team, you can not choose almost your whole entire team for JV and Varsity high school. It doesn't do the program good and it doesn't do te girls good either.

There's way more to this story than many know. There's evidence of favoritism and the inability to properly asses. So before you tell parents to stop wining, watch and see (many in this post are not parents or complaining for their kids).

Posted by Don Woods, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Something doesn't sit right with this story. To take in 5 freshman players over previous juniors and seniors...are they pro-level? Are they THAT GOOD you feel confident to send juniors down to a JV level over them? I suppose the season will tell when they are playing girls 3 years older than them in league play. Why as of recent is there so much corruption in Amador Valley sports? First it was basketball, then baseball and now soccer. These teams appear to be tainted by the schools affiliation with summer league teams that coaches are personally profiting from. Separate the two.

Posted by Danny, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

Pw has decided they don't want to hear my suggestions on how to fix this or foothills baseball issues with "conflict of interest"

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Give me any scout college or Pro and you will be lucky if one makes the bench.

Posted by Observnt1, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

Danny, It's clear that you are just, "One of those guys." Stop being a victim. No one wants to know how you're going to try and be a super-parent by changing high school sports politics. The problem has been around longer than any of us were parents, so its just one of those things you'll have to accept.

Posted by Provem1, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 26, 2013 at 7:56 am

Your kids are not good enough plain and simple! Prove that your kids should be on varsity and we will have a argument. Just because your kids were on the team years before should not guarantee them a spot. It's like anything you do in life if someone comes in better then you, you will be replaced it is just the way it is. Stop living through your kids and using a message board to cry and have people feel sorry for you. It is the coaches job to put a competitive team on the field and if the freshman are better then your daughters why wouldn't he pick them. Your daughters will do no good to making the team better except take up a spot on the bench. Like I said before you parents whining on here is why our kids are the way they are. When there is adversity mommy and daddy have to whine and cry on message boards. Sorry but your poor sad story needs to be told to someone else.

Posted by observer, a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 26, 2013 at 10:40 am

'Provem1', your posts ignore the bigger problem here; conflict of interest! I am not a soccer parent, but I DO see there is a prevalent issue at BOTH high schools with kids playing on 'for profit' baseball, basketball, soccer, and other teams during the off season, and their play time increases - YES, even when they DON'T deserve it.
Furthermore, there have been coaches who have handed out business cards after baseball games, soliciting players for their 'for profit' summer teams. Completely inappropriate! As long as the AD continues to look the other way, nothing will change. It has nothing to do with disgruntled parents, it's about what is right and what is wrong. Although I'm sure there are a percentage of parents who are complaining out of bitterness that their child didn't make the team, I assure you there is a much larger group who are tired of this inappropriate practice that further eliminates the potential talent in this town simply because their kids don't play for the 'right team'.

Posted by Parent of former AV student-athletes, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

My children are now university Division One student-athletes. Here's lesson # 1 my wife and I taught them...

You must compete to make your team.

You must compete every day for playing time.

A starting position is earned, not something you are entitled to.

Don't whine about what you might think is unfair- the world is unfair.


By the way, they are normal kids with normal issues: motivation, reliability, caring for others before self and other defects most, if not all of us deal with daily.

Posted by parent, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Get over the "your kid isn't good enough" Provem1!! My kid IS good enough and DID make the team and plays REC not Competitive because it is too expensive.. and many of the girls that did make the team that are NOT freshman's are very upset by how the tryouts were handled this year!! They were not picked based on Skill.. they were picked by who played for whose team!! No the Freshman that were chosen maybe 2 are good enough for Varsity.. they were not better then most that were cut and those that were dropped down to JV.

Posted by Danny, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Observant1, please explain. Just because its been around a long time doesn't mean we can't change it. How am I a victim? I thought the kids not having a chance would be the victims ? You must tell your kids to shut up and sit in the corner. That would be a super parent

Posted by Guest, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Are you serious? I knew many people who made varsity high school sports teams at both high schools years ago...this isn't something new.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Nov 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Let the kids have a good time...get lost bossy parents!

i mean it...tee hee

Posted by Danny, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Provem1 has a great point. Make them prove they are good enough. When you know your on the team before you tryout only proves one thing. "Conflict of Interest"

Posted by Conflicted, a resident of Avila
on Nov 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)

Posted by Danny, a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Guest, You must be talking around 1985? Foothill Freshman boys team didn't really have enough players so AL Caffodio A team coach entered the picture and all of a sudden six Dons appeared on the team. They only had two Al Caffodio boys teams A and B. I'm not sure what its called or how many teams they have now. I do know it cost to much for some to move past Rec and a lot of kids don't want to spend that much time playing a game. I believe most of the talent is at the lower level and they are the kids who enjoy playing and aren't forced. IT seems the higher you go the more tournaments you PAY for. The top team doesn't go to New York because they were invited,they go because they can afford it. No doubt some Freshman may have the talent to be placed on Varsity. Not that often or this many.

Observer1 and Provem1 I have two kids in middle school. One a Cheerleader and one races Motocross. I'm sure you don't consider those sports.

Posted by Soccer dad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm

And so we go on, and on, in a local version of the great debate of armchair sports. If your team didn't win, you blame the refs, or the weather, or bad luck, or an injury, or something, anything, to deflect the blow. If your child didn't make the team, you blame the coach, the school, the administration, the unfairness of it all, even the morals of the coach (now that's a new one).

The decisions rest with the coaches. If the coaches make bad decisions year after year, they'll be replaced. If you don't like it, go into coaching. But for crying out load stop crying about it.

Posted by Love of the Game, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Here's a disturbing fact: There were actually only 2 freshman that "tried out" for the Varsity team. Two. That means that if 5 made it, 3 never had to "tryout". What THAT means is that out of the other 40-45 girls that DID try their hearts out to make that team, most were cut.

I do hear that these freshman are very good, but as a retired coach, I have my doubts these young ladies can compete against Junior and Senior women. I pray non of them get hurt competing against much larger developed women. I truly congratulate the girls that did make that team, but next time, I think it is only fair that ALL the girls "tryout" for the team with the rest of the squad. That way, the coaches will be able able to determine if those already "pre-decided" girls really SHOULD be on Varsity (or JV for that matter).

The real beauty about this decision is that at the end of the season, the team's record will show whether the right decisions were made here or not.