KAIAC division realignment: Wither GSIS, SIS, KIS boys soccer?
Published: May 10, 2012
It’s official: A new division structure, seven schools each in renamed groups, was announced Thursday in an e-mail received by Stars and Stripes from Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference president Daniel Hale of Yongsan International School-Seoul.
Unlike DODDS Pacific, which groups its schools by enrollment into Divisions I (large) and II (small schools), KAIAC divides theirs by competitive level, Hale said.
Here are the old KAIAC Division I and II alignments, which ends with the current school year:
Division I – Seoul American, Seoul Foreign, Seoul International, Yongsan International-Seoul, Gyeonggi Suwon International, Korea International, Osan American, Taejon Christian International and Daegu High.
Division II – International Christian-Uijongbu, Korea Kent Foreign, Centennial Christian, Indianhead International, International Christian-Pyongtaek and Asia-Pacific International.
Under the new system, the more competitive schools are grouped in what KAIAC calls its “Five-Cities Division,” since the schools are based in Uijeongbu, Seoul, the Pyeongtaek subdivision of Songtan where Osan American is located, Daejeon and Daegu. The lesser competitive schools are grouped in the “Tri-Cities Division,” including Seoul, Suweon and Pyeongtaek.
Five-Cities Division – Seoul American, Seoul Foreign, Taejon Christian International, Yongsan-International-Seoul, Daegu High, Osan American and International Christian-Uijongbu.
Tri-Cities Division – Seoul International, Korea International, International Christian-Pyongtaek, Centennial Christian, Korea Kent Foreign, Asia-Pacific International and Gyeonggi Suwon International.
Indianhead International will no longer exist after this school year, Hale said; he did not elaborate.
Moving ICS-Uijongbu to the higher division should have been done years ago. The Eagles have long dominated Division II in boys volleyball and boys soccer, enough that the latter merited an invitation to the Far East Division II soccer tournament.
But moving SIS, KIS and GSIS to the lower division? … That makes sense up to one point. Specifically, boys soccer. Especially the latter two schools.
GSIS in very short order has risen into a soccer powerhouse, behind the play of Danny Kwon and Jacob Son and the coaching of former TCIS star Andrew Wiese; the Knights won the KAIAC D-I regular-season title and earned top seed in the postseason tournament, which they also hosted.
Hiro Watanabe and the Tigers have been the only truly competitive program that SIS has fielded since their dynastic girls basketball team of the early 1990s. Yet despite a poor overall record, KIS has served as SIS’ kryptonite, beating the Tigers in three of their last four regular-season meetings.
But a school can’t remain in a setting in which most of its teams are not competitive simply for the want of one good team. “We were aware the change was coming; we’ll deal with it,” Wiese said.
That has to be a bitter pill to swallow for Wiese & Co., though. I’m guessing that GSIS, SIS and KIS will roll through the league for years to come, not necessarily in that order. And you can bet, all three will likely try to schedule non-league “friendly” matches with their Five-Cities brethren or Korean teams or whomever else would want to play them.