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Remember those “growing pains” so often mentioned when the prospect of moving boys soccer from fall to winter was first floated, then approved?

They are no longer theoretical and teams have the bruises to prove it.

Ache No. 1: “And you are?”

Coaches are only just now getting to know their full complement of players.

Because winter is soccer’s official season of sport, according to CIF, players can’t play games for both club and high school teams at the same time. The vast majority of the top players on high school squads are also spending the better part of their year with club crews, which means that while they were practicing with their high school teams, they could not suit up for games or for scrimmages.

And because there was a key showcase tournament over Thanksgiving that marked the end to the fall club season, high school coaches have been calling up junior varsity players to fill out starting lineups until these guys come back. That’s a tough assignment for a coach, not knowing what exactly you’ve got to work with.

An example: The season officially began Nov. 9 but Montgomery played with its full lineup for the first time only last week.

It’s only preseason, you might argue. You might contend that games now are just tune-ups for league so losses now don’t have much meaning. But coaches are quick to point out that postseason seeding committees look at a team’s full schedule when they choose rankings to determine who plays whom and where in the North Coast Section tournament.

And tougher postseason competition was cited as the A-Number-One reason for moving from fall to winter. That NCS tourney is pretty important stuff.

To be fair, players from the Marin County Athletic league are in the same boat as far as playing for two masters and missing high school games in the meantime.

Of course, soccer isn’t entirely alone in this. Think of Tom Bonfigli, head coach of the Cardinal Newman boys basketball team. He’s been running practices and waiting patiently for the football season to end so he can see the likes of Connor Rubattino, Damian Wallace and Jordon Brookshire. Of course, the first two on that list are pretty well banged up with gridiron injuries.

But the fact is, sports face overlap. We are just used to them being overlap from high school sport to high school sport. Just because the NCS says a season can start does not necessarily mean every player, every squad is at full tilt immediately.

So on to ache No. 2: “We have how many games in the first two weeks of January?”

The slow start is balanced out by a tidal wave of games that comes crashing in the first two weeks of league play.

The Ukiah Wildcats, for one, will get a heck of a jolt. They are a team that could not schedule a single preseason game because of long travel times and no guarantee the squad could return the favor with a long drive south next preseason. But come Jan. 4, it’s on. They play five league games between opening day and Jan. 13.

Cardinal Newman plays six games in 12 days — Monday, Wednesday, Friday — for two weeks straight. So does Rancho Cotate.

A couple of teams saw that tsunami of games and rejiggered things a bit by scheduling league games a full month earlier than the master schedule called for.

Montgomery opened league play against Casa Grande Tuesday night and will play Maria Carrillo on Thursday. They won’t return to league contests until facing Rancho on Jan. 8. Windsor and Santa Rosa also shifted some games to December rather than deal with a dearth of games this month followed by a January logjam.

Meantime, NBL commissioner Jan Smith Billing said she’s willing to adjust next year’s calendar if this season proves problematic.

She, too, is adjusting as we go.

“You have to try it for a while before you start doing too many changes because you just don’t know,” she said.

What we really don’t know? The weather. Which brings us to ache No. 3: El Niño.

Rain is here. Rain is coming. This is excellent for drought-stricken California, not so good for fans wanting crisp soccer or for the comfort of grandma in the stands.

All eyes are on fields at Ukiah and Maria Carrillo, where natural grass could take a beating this winter and affect everything from the level of play to the number of injuries.

Others remind me that artificial turf is not immune from having issues during inclement weather.

But, and this is a huge but, the coaches wanted this. So too, presumably, did the players. Athletic directors lobbied for it at the coaches’ behest. And soccer fans looking for a better level of play come postseason time also rallied for the change.

So enthusiasm still runs high. Folks are still talking about ironing out wrinkles and learning from inaugural season bumps in the road. They are not talking about bagging this little project.

Most of these bumps — El Niño aside — can be ironed out.

The Sonoma County League’s move to winter soccer next season will give NBL teams more options for games in December so teams may not monkey with the master schedule as much. And the Bay Area teams will have had another year to get used to the idea that teams up here in the great north are playing in the winter and are available for scrimmages.

No doubt it will take some getting used to, but let’s give it a go.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”