Nobody is more vocal than the soccer expert.
In the 20-plus years I have written about sports in the Mining City, I have heard from most of them. They know more about soccer than baseball color commentators know about baseball.
They are experts as to why soccer is the greatest sport in the history of mankind. They can never seem to understand why a sportswriter like myself would fail to see that he should give up writing about silly, boring games like basketball, baseball and football and concentrate full time on soccer.
The lecture always comes down to one sentence: “Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the word.”
That is the kicker. Soccer fans in the United States have been saying that since 1932. If it true in other parts of the world — and mathematics says it is not — it certainly is not true in Butte.
For whatever reason, soccer has just not been our sport. We have turned out some very fine soccer players and coaches, but we never seemed to have enough at the same time.
Like most high school sports, soccer is a numbers game.
I heard the same lecture every time I covered a local soccer tournament. I even heard it a few times at Butte High games. I have had many voicemail lectures, and even more emails.
This lecture has been repeated to me and every other sports reporter in town so many times that you would swear this town is full of soccer coaches.
However, something funny happens all too often with these soccer fanatics. When their son or daughter stops playing the sport, they forget all about it.
So, after hearing their speeches for two decades, I think I finally have my daughter convinced to go out for the Butte High soccer team.
And get this, not one person applied for the job to serve as head coach of the girls’ team. That is right, not one. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Really, not one person has applied for the job that has been open since Riley McNabb told school officials that he was stepping to focus on his education in April.
Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer head coaching positions came open after last season. Erik Roth coached the boys for one season, but he is going to be busy watching his son, Trevyn, play for Colorado Mesa in the fall.
Cody Carpenter accepted the job as head coach of the boys’ team last week. He brings with him three state championships and an All-State selection as a player to the Bulldog program.
He blew away the other candidates who applied for the position. All none of them.
Carpenter was the only person to put in for the job. Yes, the only one.
So, what happened to all these people who loved to lecture me as to why I am letting the sport of soccer down because I fail to write enough stories on the great sport?
Where is the car salesman who tried to get me fired because I did not give the sport enough ink when his daughters played?
Where is the doctor who left me those nasty voicemails?
Apparently, they were not really looking out for the sport of soccer after all. It turns out that they were just looking out for their own kids.
Carpenter knows the sport well, and he offered to mentor any coach who might not feel completely comfortable taking over a varsity program.
That offer made me even think briefly about putting in for the job just so the student-athletes at Butte High have a chance to play. Of course, that would not be advisable since I get paid to cover all the sports teams in Butte.
While I think I would be a great quote if I interviewed myself after a game, a sportswriter cannot — or at least should not — coach of the team he is writing about.
Plus, I really have no experience playing soccer.
What I played the one season I actually participated in the sport should not be called soccer. I was the youngest player on the kindergarten-through-third-grade McKinley/Blaine team.
The team was so bad that it closed down both schools.
My coach told me I was a “fullback,” and I was to stand on one corner of the goalie box the entire game. I could only kick the ball if it came right to me.
The only time the ball ever rolled near me all year, I picked it up. I can still see the look the referee game me when I did that.
The rest of the time I picked at the grass. I was good at that.
One time I was on one knee picking grass when I spotted my dad’s shoes standing right in front of me. I looked up and could not believe my dad had walked onto the field.
“Hey Pard,” my dad said, making a motion to the sideline. “It’s halftime.”
I looked over and all of my teammates were sucking on orange slices. Those were the best part of the game, so I ran to the sideline to get a couple.
That was the only time I was allowed to run all season.
I assume that soccer is a very fun sport to play if the coach actually lets the players run around and sometimes even kick the ball.
Following the Butte High soccer teams since we started ButteSports.com in 2012 has been a blast. I have learned a lot about the sport, though not enough to be a varsity coach
While the Bulldog wins have been few and far between, I have also been lucky enough to watch some very talented players.
Last year, the Bulldog soccer teams turned out three college players. Roth, Ally Cleverly and Marti Ludwick will all receive scholarship money to play soccer.
Those are great opportunities for our local student-athletes. They are opportunities that would not be available if we did not have a coaches dedicating their time for the students and the sport in general.
The Bulldogs began playing soccer in the fall of 1993. So many players and coaches worked hard to bring the sport to Butte High. Other schools in the Class AA started playing two years earlier.
I had at least one friend who probably missed out on a scholarship because Butte High did not offer the sport when we were there. It would be a shame to go back to those days.
Since they cannot find coaches, school officials have even discussed the possibility of eliminating the sport. Luckily, they decided the student-athletes are too important to do that.
So, now is the time for at least one of you soccer fanatics to step up and apply for the job.
Do it for the Bulldogs. Do it for the student-athletes who are being left behind the rest of the girls’ teams in the state.
Do it for the sport you supposedly love.
If nothing else, do it for the orange slices.