Amazing what can be accomplished in just 54 days. One is able to move the biggest of mountains. In this case, the big mountain is moving the North Bay League girls and their soccer season from fall to winter. It will take eight meetings during that span and the subject will be vetted like a presidential candidate, with a final vote taken Oct. 7.
It began quietly enough on Aug. 10, when a straw vote was taken among the NBL coaches. The vote was split, 4-4. That would appear to be a solid deadlock with no discernible movement in sight. Ah, but that would be ignoring what’s coming ashore with the incoming tide.
A state championship.
In the North Coast Section, only three large-school leagues have girls soccer still playing in the fall: NBL, SCL and Humboldt Del-Norte. The boys in the area moved last year. This is not an isolated, insignificant development. The move to winter will create a Northern California Regional Championship, which will lead quite conveniently to the carrot at the end of the stick: The state championship, a true California state champion.
Allow me to mix my metaphors: The state champion is the tail that’s wagging this dog. It is the reason why so many people around here are going to eight meetings in 54 days. People want to get this right, and you can’t criticize their effort.
Coaches will have met. Athletic directors will have met. Principals will have met. Athletic directors and principals will have met together. The NCS Board of Managers will have met. To be fair, girls soccer moving to winter will not be the only subject up to debate. But it will be the bullet-point item on each meeting’s menu.
Last Thursday, a strong hint was given as to how these 54 days will end. The NBL’s athletic directors and principals voted unanimously to support a Northern California Regional soccer tournament.
On Oct. 7, the CIF Federated Council will meet and is expected to vote for the winter. At this point, unless every turf field in the NBL turns suddenly into Windsor’s unplayable concrete slab, the NBL girls will play soccer in the winter of 2018.
“It would be a disservice to our girls not to move,” said Jan Billing, NBL commissioner. “It’s a good fit for our league. The (NBL) boys loved it. It’s the best way to go.”
Jon Schwan, coach of the Montgomery boys soccer team, thought his team’s experience was two thumbs up, a season so positive he couldn’t find a negative.
“I had 85 boys try out for winter,” Schwan said. “I never had more than 65 before. The reason: The kids had a chance to get a full term under their belt, get settled and then went out for soccer.”
Schwan is an unabashed fan of winter soccer. He also is a complete fan of girls soccer and would not want to be thought as critical of them when he says what he is about to say.
“Based on my experience,” he said, “it seems like such a no brainer for me (to move to winter). I can’t wrap my mind around it (why there would be resistance).”
The NBL and the NCS are doing such a thorough job of examining the move to winter, you’d think they discussed and resolved every item, calmed every nerve and turned the issue inside and out to the point of exhaustion. All questions answered? All problems solved? Nope. Such is the nature of American citizens who enjoy their First Amendment rights.