Cameron Dufour, right, reaches to keep control of the ball during a soccer drill at Edward Little High School in Auburn on Tuesday. The team has been breaking into small groups to rotate through drills in order to stay within the state’s guidelines. Also participating in the drill, from the left, are Jack Dionne, Caleb Strout and Trey Coulombe. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Several high school soccer coaches said they want to get the ball rolling even though the Maine Principals’ Association’s guidelines might affect some aspects of the game.

Of course, the fall season still hangs in the balance as sports remains on hold after the state rebuked the MPA’s guidelines on Tuesday.

According to the MPA’s website: “Slide tackling is suspended if players are within 6 feet of another player,” as well as “Throw-ins and corner kicks will have restrictions to help prevent large groups from pushing and shoving to play the ball.”

There are many other guidelines that teams will have to comply with to make this a viable soccer season.

“Any changes that are made are going to affect the game,” Edward Little boys coach Tim Mains said. “The throw-in rule is tough. That’s like a huge part of the game. Normally, a throw-in isn’t a huge deal. If that’s the rule, right, a throw-in is a free-kick, basically. It is not going to be quite the same, but I think anything is better than nothing, so…

“I am in favor of the changes if that is what is deemed to need to happen. I prefer to play, and I know that my kids really want to play, too. If we can’t play, hopefully we will be able to figure something out to keep the kids engaged at least in our community.”

Buckfield girls coach Larry Thornton said the MPA’s approach to the pandemic will work this season, and that makes his athletes a happy bunch.

“I thought Dr. William Heinz did a great job and the sports medicine committee did a great job of putting some great rules in place,” Thornton said. “I thought as far as safety goes, Dr. Heinz and the sports medicine committee made these recommendations, and I thought it was great.

“I think on corner kicks, things might open up a little bit offensively. Like there was a slide-tackling rule, that was put in place, and we are not a big slide-tackling team so I don’t think that impacts us much. The corner kick on the 18 is definitely one of those rules that is going to open the game up.”

Quincy Coachman participates in a soccer drill with the Edward Little team on Tuesday afternoon in Auburn. The team has been breaking into small groups to rotate through drills in order to stay within the state’s guidelines . Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield boys coach Kyle Rines said many of new rules work, but, “I think the slide tackle is kind of a foolish theory, but at least it eliminates the risk of injury and connecting with other players, I guess.

“But I think the idea that players aren’t going to touch each other is… a little out there, I guess. It is going to happen. Slide tackles are going to happen. I actually had a practice tonight where a player said, ‘What if it happens and I forget.’ I said, ‘That’s what we are going to find out.’ What is the call? Is it a free kick, a warning? What is going to happen?”

Poland girls soccer coach Katrina Seeley said her athletes want a chance to play no matter what changes have been made to the game.

“If we can play, we are out on the field,” Seeley said. “It is going to be hard to adjust to some things (like) corner kicks and the natural throw-in, grab the ball and go, but I think if they are able to play on the field, they will adjust to it as the season goes on.”

Aiden Morrison participates in a soccer drill with the Edward Little team on Tuesday afternoon in Auburn. The team has been breaking into small groups to rotate through drills in order to stay within the state’s guidelines. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Lewiston boys coach Dan Gish agrees with the guidelines simply because the MPA has access to more and pertinent information.

“Does it change the dynamic or how you plan for a practice … or how the game is played, yeah, absolutely,” Gish said. “We are changing how we do things to protect kids and protect people in our community.”

Gish added that all these guidelines have been put in place to stop infection.

“Is it hard? Yeah! You just have to be creative and make it safe as possible,” he said. “In the end, these kids understand that if it is going to protect someone or reduce the chance of passing something on and allows them to play, they have done it. It’s real. I get that. No one wants to jeopardize somebody.”

For Mt. Abram coach Darren Allen and his Roadrunners, they are fine with the guidelines and are anxious to play soccer.

“I think the rules are fair, but there had to be a compromise,” Allen said. “(The MPA) did their homework. They came up with theses rules and I think they are extremely fair. We are just waiting for the green light.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.