The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Todd Stanford

September 15, 2011

Todd Stanford's soccer column: Not in the job description

Flooding deals Danville teams a difficult hand

When you sign up to be a high school coach, there are a few things you know going in.

You know you're going to have to deal with parents who want to see their kid(s) get more playing time. You know you're going to have to break some kid's heart when he or she doesn't make the team. You know you're going to have to deal with second-guessing by everyone under the sun, including anonymous message-board posters.

But what Danville soccer coaches Tom Craig and Brian Dressler are currently dealing with is — to put it mildly — out of the ordinary.

Due to the flooding in town last week, Craig, the varsity girls coach, and Dressler, the varsity boys coach, have not been able to hold practice or play games. Both their practice field and home varsity field — located at the Danville Soccer Park on the outskirts of town — were still under water as recently as this past weekend. (On one facebook photo I saw, you can just barely make out the top of the one goal in what looks to be a lake.)

"Everything is under water, and most of the players can't get into town," Craig said in an interview Saturday night. "You have to think of the safety of the kids — getting them in and out."

The Danville girls team's first game back was last night, in a home game with Selinsgrove played at the Ironmen's football stadium.

"We're going to try and use the stadium if we can," Craig said. "We have to share with the boys as well. If we get the practice field in shape, we could use it as a game field until the other field dries out."

Dressler is expecting to play Saturday's home game with Benton at the football stadium.

"We'll try to play as many as we can on the football field," said Dressler, who's still hoping that the Soccer Park will be ready to go at some point this season.

When I spoke with Dressler on Sunday, he said his team hadn't practiced since Labor Day, and they still hadn't played a game this season. They did win at Lewisburg on Tuesday. He was worried about the toll the layoff would take on his players' bodies.

"We might lose some fitness," he said. "But hopefully the guys are running on their own."

What makes this setback for the Danville teams even worse is the fact that so much is expected of both sides this year. The Danville girls advanced to the state quarterfinals last year, and most of the starters are back. The boys are a senior-laden side that is eager to make the District 4 playoffs this year after missing the postseason by just one win in both 2009 and 2010.

"We were looking forward to starting the season," Dressler said. "Now we've got to wait another week. It's going to be tough on them sitting around."

"We've lost a whole week," Craig added. "A whole week of getting in shape. Now we have to start all over. ... They're going to have to really do extra work to be ready for the end of the season."

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