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August 28, 2013

Direct Kick: An alarming early season soccer stat

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Saw a rather alarming statistic the other day and thought I would share this with you. In the first three days of the Kentucky high school soccer season, 25 student/athletes or coaches were thrown out of games.

Wow.

While a few of those thrown out were due to second cautions of reckless play, many of them were for dissent, vulgar/profane language or fighting.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association isn’t going to stand for this and the Board of Control has empowered the Commissioner to add additional fines to the school for repeated offenses that show a lack of institutional control.

Having been around high school soccer since, well, since it started here in Laurel County in the late 80s, I have seen my fair share of rough play, heard my fair share of bad language, and seen my fair share of fights. But what can be done to curb this recent increase in offenses?

I think officials need to start carding immediately. Don’t let the match get out of hand. Set a tone early. Issue one warning and from then on, start carding. Players will soon get the idea and hopefully will this will help.

Then it is up to the coaches to make sure their players understand the consequences of rough play or bad language. Of course when you have some coaches acting like children themselves it is hard for players to learn a lesson. I one time witnessed a coach yelling at an opposing player and when he was warned by the official to stop, his response was “he started it.” Remember, you are the adult and you are supposed to set the example.

Hopefully this trend doesn’t continue to give the sport of soccer a black eye.

Speaking of soccer, I covered the South Laurel-Boone County girls’ match Saturday morning at South Laurel. And you want to know the sad thing about that match? Boone County, a two-hour drive, brought just as many fans as South Laurel had.

Come on folks, that’s shameful, especially considering that South Laurel girls’ soccer has been one of the most successful programs in the county for many years. Get out and support this team. In fact, get out and support all Laurel County teams. These young athletes put in a lot of hours of hard work to represent this county to the best of their ability. How about showing them you care?

sports@sentinel-echo.com

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