Created: April 09, 2021 07:13 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — They just wanted a chance to play. Last fall there were no sports at all for any of the thousands of Rochester City School athletes when the district went entirely remote. However, through hard work and creativity, soccer teams from the city found a way to get on the field and compete in the sport they love.
At first glance it looks like any normal soccer practice setting, then you take a wide view of the field.
"We are all practicing together on the same field every day, the entire city school district, all the boys' teams," says World of Inquiry School soccer head coach Rich Paufler.
That's right, after losing their chance to play in the fall with everybody else, the soccer teams in the city are using a break in the spring schedule to practice and play games.
"It really means a lot to be out here and play with my boys," East High senior captain Ben Mfaume said.
"It means everything just to get out here and play is the best thing that could have happened with it," Wilson junior Evan Walls said.
However, due to declining numbers and limited field space, the teams are forced to share the field at Franklin High School and play simultaneous games on a shorter field next to each other.
"We're grateful we got something in, it wasn't the best but we're trying to make lemonade out of lemons," Paufler said.
The smaller field means that the games are just 7-on-7, once again another adjustment for the teams.
"It's definitely a lot different,” Walls said, “it's more technical and ball control in close spaces, not as much fitness and stamina."
This Sunday there will be a showcase game for the city teams with 10 area college soccer coaches will be in attendance. This is a chance to be recruited that they didn't have back in the fall.
"It really means a lot to me and the other players to show skill in front of college coaches to show them what you got,” says Mfaume, “it really means a lot to us."
A scholarship opportunity isn't the only benefit from this condensed spring season.
"We do compete with each other but we respect each other, we learn from each other and right now we're trying to move city soccer forward when we have a lot of challenges," Paufler said.
The showcase game will be this Sunday, April 11 at Franklin, the schools that are competing in the RCSD spring soccer season will also have a championship game on Friday, April 16.
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