Concerns among players around the Far East that war might bring high school soccer to an abrupt end were eased Tuesday when Department of Defense Education Activity-Pacific officials said they do not intend to call off the season or the Pacificwide tournament.
“At this time, there is no plan to cancel the Far East soccer,” Jeff Martin, DODEA-Pacific chief of staff, said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Terry Chumley, coach of defending girls Class AA champion Kubasaki, told her team that high school sports “may be on lockdown for a couple of days, but that’s about it.”
Pusan American is slated to host this weekend’s Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference girls tournament at Camp Hialeah.
The main issue, said KAIAC president J.P. Rader of Seoul Foreign, is whether players from international schools will have trouble accessing Hialeah and Yongsan Garrison, site of the KAIAC boys tournament, if force-protection condition levels are raised.
Pusan American athletic director Laird Small told girls coaches Wednesday that the camp “will still allow all of the soccer tournament participants on base.”
The Osan American girls team of Korea was set to visit Seoul American on Wednesday in a tuneup for the KAIAC tournament. Coach Sung-ho Plourde said he’s optimistic but also pragmatic.
“We’ll play until somebody says we can’t play. That’s our plan right now,” Plourde said. “But we have to do what is safe for all of us. Not much we can do about it. Right now, it’s a go, but you just never know. We’ll just have to take it one day at a time.”
Zama American is scheduled to host E.J. King and Matthew C. Perry in Japan Soccer League matches this weekend. Senior Jimmy Flatley, who led the JSL with 30 goals last season, wants to continue play in his final season at Zama and improve on the team’s eighth-place Far East finish.
“If we have to cancel tournaments or even home games,” it would be terrible, Flatley said.
Such worries may be premature, said Zama athletic director and girls coach Margaret Warren: “From what I understand, there won’t be an interruption, and I’ll hold on to that hope.”