Winter Season Poses Early Obstacles to Branson Soccer
For the first time in Branson’s history, the entirety of the school’s soccer program was moved to the winter. While the Bulls anticipate the completion of an on-campus turf field, scheduled to open over Thanksgiving Break, both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams share limited fields at College of Marin, weather and sunlight permitting. Some fear this erratic practice schedule may leave teams unprepared going into their first few games of the new season.
Things began on an ominous note when the first day of soccer tryouts was cancelled due to a downpour, forcing players off the non-turfed fields at COM. While the teams were able to adjust, using the track at COM and the Quad at Branson to practice, these sub-optimal weather conditions could impact Branson’s soccer program as the anticipated “El Niño” weather year progresses.
Rain poses a significant problem for COM’s grass fields, as playing on wet, non-turfed field tears up the grass and makes the field nearly unplayable in the future. “Scheduling has been a challenge for both teams because our field isn’t complete and the rains have forced the grass field at COM to close, so it’s hard to get into a steady rhythm for the upcoming season,” commented junior Francesca Camahort.
While the teams have generally been lucky with rain, moving soccer to the winter also brought about the challenge of dealing with earlier sunsets and dwindling daylight times. Now that the sun is beginning to set around 5:45 or 6:00pm, teams sometimes have to shorten their practices and play around the available daylight. As the winter progresses, teams may have to sacrifice hours of useful practice time, which was almost never an issue when playing in the fall or spring.
Currently, the teams are compromising by having one team use the soccer field at COM, while the other team uses the softball field’s outfield. Needless to say, these less than perfect conditions–introduced by the new winter soccer season– are hampering teams’ ability to practice on a nice playing field. This issue appears likely to deepen once both teams start playing real games. Hopeful to have Branson’s on-campus turf field completed, players are still wondering how the teams will schedule around simultaneous home games.
This article’s author, Alex Sann, plays soccer for Branson.