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Palo Alto not alone as girls' soccer sanctions range statewide

Original post made on Feb 24, 2013

Eric Seedman is an assistant coach with the Palo Alto girls' soccer team, which saw its season end this week after one player was ruled ineligible for participating in a national team training camp in Southern California. He met with Palo Alto Principal Phil Winston on Friday and learned that 30 female players statewide have been similarly sanctioned in the past few days.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, February 23, 2013, 12:58 PM

Comments (12)

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Posted by Coach Seedman
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 24, 2013 at 10:09 am

I want to add that my note addresses the issue of the CCS/CIF roll in this. That is not to say that I feel that I or my Paly colleagues are completely without blame here also. I know that I could have done better, and do bear some responsibility in this matter.

That said, and my portion of the responsibility acknowledged, below are the reasons why I have focused on CIF/CCS roll in the above article.

1.) According to Principal Winston there were 30 players statewide who were caught up in similar situations as Paly's & Santa Teresa's. To me that is an indictment of the system itself. How could we all have gotten it so wrong? Doesn't that show that changes need to be made?

2.) Imagine if we were 100% on top of this situation. That we knew that the camp was unsanctioned. That we knew that our player played in matches that would disqualify her from further High School competition for the season. And that we held her out from playing. Should our player then have chosen against attending the camp? Of course not. As a coaching staff, I can guarantee we would have told her that she absolutely should have gone to the national team camp - no question. But how would that have been fair? Fair to have put a 15 year old kid into that situation, where she knew she had to let down her team mates in the middle of the season? Fair to the rest of the team to have lost a top player, who had been depended upon?

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Posted by Aquitaine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Does this apply to bus, too? I am a little confused. It seems to me that girl soccer players, or any school-age players, are being punished for trying to be the best players they can be. Isn't that the point of any sports camp, national or otherwise?

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Posted by David Floyer
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm

The rule is sensible and simple. It is sensible and designed to protect all high-school players against the pressure of being “forced” to play too much sport, and being injured as a result. The rule is simple and explained in detail at the beginning of each season:
- if a player plays for another team (plays for a team is defined in detail in the rules) after playing for the school during a season, the player becomes ineligible to play for the school again that season. If an ineligible player plays in a game, the game is forfeited.
- a player can apply for a waiver – but should expect that a waiver will not be given.

Any player can choose to play for another team and not play for the school again. This choice is often made by academy and international players.

The action of the player and parent(s) is simple. If they have played for another team they must tell the coach. If they have a waiver, they must give it to the coach.

If any player (or parent) does not tell the coach they have played for another team, that player is cheating and deserves severe sanction by the school.

If any coach plays a player knowing they played for another team and without a waiver in hand, that coach is cheating and deserves severe sanction by the school.

Coaches and parents have the highest responsibility for following the rules to protect players and setting an example. The players and/or the coaches at all the schools involved have cheated, and should be ashamed of themselves.

I propose that players and coaches just follow the rules.

David Floyer, Parent

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Posted by C
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

@David: About expecting a waiver to not be given: Not only had this camp been approved in years past, it would have been approved this year had there not been a 30 day deadline or if the soccer federation hadn't been slow on paperwork. The team was aware that the girl played on the U-17 national team for a scrimmage game against Germany, but Paly isn't the one who can submit paperwork. I'm fine with playing by the rules, but I find it more effective to eliminate idiotic rules than to obey them. Also sure, have the rule be in place for club teams -- but seriously, it's the national team. That's like saying "Oh, good for you for being good at soccer and representing your country, but you see we have a bunch of bureaucrats and they don't want you to play."

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Posted by David Floyer
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 25, 2013 at 1:42 am

Congratulations to the national player. There are few greater achievements than representing your country; I know. Playing for country was not unethical. The player, parent or coach was unethical in allowing the player to play for the school afterwards. National coaches are tough. Good players need protection from over exploitation. The rule is there to help protect the good and great players. It is not for coaches to "cherry-pick" which rules they will follow. The Palo Alto team cheated. Those responsible should pay the price. Any coach who willfully cheated is not fit to coach.

David Floyer, Parent

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2013 at 7:50 am

@David - Not sure if I understand how such a situation could be considered "over exploitation". The player (who typically plays 5 days a week with high school team) instead plays those same days with the national team. Then returns to play a typical number of days with high school team. As coach above asks what are they (CCS/CIF) protecting these players from?

You accuse these folks of willfully cheating. There is no evidence of such. Did all 30 of those so sanctioned willfully cheat? Very doubtful.

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Posted by Moderation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2013 at 9:01 am

David Floyer - way to rush to judgement before all the facts are in ! "The player, parent or coach was unethical in allowing the player to play for the school afterwards ... The Palo Alto team cheated. Those responsible should pay the price. Any coach who willfully cheated is not fit to coach."

I guess your pronouncement applies to all affected HS girl players, parents and programs across the state.

Bottom line, players and their teammates were punished. And the process needs to be fixed.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Well written, Coach. I am sensitive to issues of over training athletes or exploiting exceptional athletes, but this rule (and recent ruling) are embarrassments to any athletic administrative body. They have completely lost sight of what they are trying to accomplish but have succeeded in punishing athletic ideals and the pursuit of excellence. Pathetic.

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Posted by player
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Just wondering how many players sat out games because they knew they were ineligible and might disqualify team.. And as crazy as this rule is, does not the national team have an obligation to let players know (only two states)that they did not get paper work in on time? And what about cif , should they not have known 30 or more players participated in an non-sanctioned event and sent out a reminder of rules?

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Posted by Dick Held
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

Dear Ms. Blaser,
I noticed the CIF/CCS requires a "Sportsmanship Contract" be signed by the principal and athletic director of all schools in the Section and submitted to your office by September 15 of each year. It notes there will be penalties for "unsportsmanlike behavior," and it appears this policy applies to student-athletes, band members, coaches, school officials and associated adults. The contract states, "I acknowledge that should we have an incident of unsportsmanlike behavior, I, or my staff, will act immediately to rectify the situation, as well as implement additional strategies to prevent a re-occurrence of any violation."
I also noticed that the U.S. Soccer Federation has initiated a "Respect Campaign."
I genuinely appreciate and applaud the spirit of your "Sportsmanship Contract" and the Soccer Federation`s "Respect Campaign." I am a retired FBI Agent and while in public service I dealt with terrorists and organized crime figures. Quite honestly, interactions with them were usually far more civil than behavior I have occasionally witnessed, especially by adults, while assisting with youth sports. I think it imperative we adults promote values in youth sports even before we seek victory. I must add, however, that it is even more imperative that our actions don`t reveal to our children that, in the heat of competition, our commitment to "sportsmanship" and "respect" is in reality just words.
I am certain that yours is not an easy job and I am grateful for your service, but your own actions in sanctioning the PAHS girls soccer team by vacating victories and a league championship is unjust and inconsistent with the principles of sportsmanship. You have apparently punished innocent student athletes for the failure of other adults to submit paperwork on time. Would you also punish them for a school`s failure to submit the "Sportsmanship Contract" by September 15? Would a Merit Scholar or Robotics champion have their achievement voided because of a bureaucratic failing of some adult? I am confident that you would not. Like our Merit Scholars and Robotics champions, Jacey Pederson, a fourteen year old child who brought distinction to herself, her high school and the nation by being selected to compete for the Under 17 National Team, should be celebrated and not sanctioned for an inter-mural dispute between bureaucracies.
The media quotes PAHS Athletic Director Earl Hansen as saying, "...the two organizations (CIF and USSF) don`t see eye to eye at all." If the CIF/CCS has a disagreement with the USSF, in the spirit of sportsmanship and respect the adults need to act like adults and sort it out. If the USSF violated CIF/CCS rules, punish the guilty, not the innocent bystanders. This decision is not the behavior we adults need to model for our children.
Consistent with the requirements and spirit of the "Sportsmanship Contract, I would hope the CIF/CCS will "...act immediately to rectify the situation, as well as implement additional strategies to prevent a re-occurence..."
Richard W. Held

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Posted by Paly Soccer Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

As the parent of a team member of the Paly Soccer team, I just want to say, yes the girls are disappointed in the decision that was handed down by CCS. They are a talented and close knit group of girls and they will pull together and move on. No one on the team blames the player for attending the National Camp. The girls take great pride in one of their own teammates being invited and attending the camp. Rest assured that the team will regroup, train hard during the offseason and come back next season stronger and make their mark. It is a shame for the seniors to have their last game end on such a sour note. It is my hope & expectation that CCS will be more proactive and transparent to avoid a repeat of what happened this season. Afterall it is for the players and we owe it to them.

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Posted by Varsity parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Hansen is a joke. Why is he allowed to to be the AD at Paly when he doesn't care about the kids. He has yet to apologize to these young ladies for screwing up their varsity season. He has made 3 errors in relation to soccer this past season--and you think he cares about our kids---ohh please he only cares about his football team. Demote him to football coach and hire a decent AD--one that cares about all the boys and girls sports.

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