Could 9-player soccer help save the sport at Maine’s smallest high schools?

Basketball tournament week brought together small-school soccer coaches from western and southern Maine last February at the Augusta Civic Center to discuss one of the bigger issues facing their sport.

A player shortage.

“We informally agreed that if one team arrived at a match this fall with just 10 players, both teams would play with 10 players,” said Greater Portland Christian School athletic administrator and soccer coach Chris Spaulding.

Small schools struggling to field the 11 players needed for a regulation soccer team, and a few more who would provide valued depth, is nothing new. But with Maine high school enrollments continuing to decline or students choosing other co-curricular options, conversations about creating a soccer division requiring only nine players per team are gaining steam.

“Where we have so many schools that are getting smaller and smaller, trying to get 11 on a field is very difficult when you’ve only got 40 to 60 to 80 kids in your school. You need almost everybody to play, basically,” said Maine Principals’ Association assistant executive director Mike Bisson.




To read the rest of “Could 9-player soccer help save the sport at Maine’s smallest high schools?,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Ernie Clark, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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