Oct 05, 2010 Tami Zimmerman Uncategorized
Despite recent budget cuts, Fayetteville-Manlius is one of two area school districts committed to keeping its freshman girls soccer team going. The other is West Genesee.
Last year, aside from each other, the F-M and West Genny teams had four other competitors, including Cicero-North Syracuse, Rome Free Academy, East Syracuse Minoa and Baldwinsville.
“There was rumor last year that freshman sports might be cut … because they’re the lowest priority in terms of sports,” said Coach Tom Chaddock, also a fourth grade teacher at Enders Road Elementary. “But [Athletic Director] Rich Roy was very adamant about the fact that we’re gonna try not to get rid of programming.”
Roy’s efforts paid off. The girls still have opposing teams, but they come from smaller schools like Onondaga Central, Fabius-Pompey and Tully, and the teams they now play are at the junior varsity level. Had Roy let the issue go, a significant number of girls would have lost the opportunity to play another season of soccer and their high school careers would have been cut short.
“Our school is big into soccer, and we get a lot of participation,” Chaddock said. “Last year, we had 110 girls try out between the two modified teams at Wellwood and Eagle Hill, and the freshman team. We had a giant pool of kids and if we didn’t have a freshman team that would really impact the numbers.”
Chaddock, who has been coaching freshman girls soccer for three years, said the value of having this team level lays in giving kids an additional year’s experience. Over the past two years, he’s had 25 of his team members move on to JV and varsity level. Many players discontinue the sport after their freshman season, but many others develop into stronger, skilled soccer players who otherwise would not have made the JV/varsity cut.
Chaddock’s coaching background in addition to soccer includes swimming, wrestling and golf. His 1996 varsity girls’ soccer team was the last one at F-M to actually win a sectional and regional title. Last year’s freshman team went undefeated, 10-0. He said he knows what it takes for kids to be successful on the playing field.
“They need to be students of the game,” he said.
Chaddock gives homework at the beginning of the season, and requires the girls to read the first five chapters of a book written by Mia Hamm, a retired American soccer player who played many years as a forward for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. Follow up comes through Q&A.
“It’s not all about soccer, it’s also about what it takes to be a good person … help your teammates …being selfless,” he said. “The first chapters say ‘there’s no me in Mia.’ The things that I’m talking about aren’t just coming from me, they’re coming from the best player in the world and if she’s telling you this, obviously it confirms what I’m trying to do with the kids.”
Chaddock also teaches the traditional alma mater, as well as core values at each practice.
“It’s about team building as much as it is about soccer,” he said.
Chaddock said he hopes other school districts will bring back their freshman teams, but added that he thinks some just consider freshman teams as nothing more than giving mediocre students one more year to play.
“The proof is that I had 25 girls in the past two years move on to the JV or varsity level,” he said, adding that freshman teams help the younger players and challenge those who need to play at a higher level. “I’m going to give them the tools to help them be a better student of the game, better skilled player and maybe they’ll move on. If I can instill some tradition, some passion about the F-M soccer program and the pride in it, and I can get them to the next level, then I’ve done my job.”