Sept. 21, 2010
I am hoping that common sense will prevail in the next couple of years and that two day - four teams college soccer tournaments will become extinct as the dinosaur. While this was a novel idea, and served a useful purpose when it was started 25 years ago, the college game has outgrown this event and the only one that suffers is the player.
Some of the concerns with the Tournament:
a) On day 1 - two lucky teams get to play at 5pm. Typically both are "away teams" and if you count the ushers in the stadium, you may have 30 in attendance
b) On day 2 - two more lucky "away teams" get to play at either 11am or 12noon. Usually this is on a Sunday, and there are various religious services taking place in the morning. You are fortunate if you hit the number of "30" spectators that had attended the 1st game on the 1st day of the tournament.
c) If the first match goes into overtime- now there are all kinds of problems with the warmup and preparation time for the two teams playing in the 2nd match
d) If either day has bad weather, you can almost count for sure that there will be significant damage done to the pitch by the four teams who compete on the field on the bad weather day.
e) The most important concern is for the players. We expect our players to put in a full match effort in the 2nd match of the first day and get off the field at approximately 10pm. Then a day later, we expect him to be ready to compete at 11:00am after a recovery of only 36 hours. Why would we want to put the players at risk? In the past we had to play two Big East opponents at our venue on a Friday/Sunday schedule. We scheduled the final match at 7pm and approached the coach of the match on Sunday and asked if we could play at 7pm. I mentioned to him this will allow our players at least to regenerate a little bit. His response to me was I want to play at 1pm, I don't care about the players regenerating. Now our most valuable resource we have is our players, why we would risk them by cramming them into two matches in 36 hours?
Although the NCAA doesn't help us with many matches in a small window, we as coaches have to do a better job of scheduling, as we owe it to the players. Let's let the 4 team, 2 day tournament go the way of the diagonal refereeing system. It is time to rid ourselves of this outdated concept and protect the resource we have, the players.