Usually the traditional day of rest, Sundays have been busy this month for Okinawa’s high school soccer teams.
In three out of four weekends, Kadena’s and Kubasaki’s boys and girls teams have played matches against Japanese high schools and club teams.
"Unfortunately, we’re in a situation where we struggle to put together a full schedule. It’s a work in progress," Kubasaki boys coach Chris Kelly said.
Unlike Japan and Korea, where enough DODDS and international schools play full stateside-like regular seasons, Kadena and Kubasaki only have each other and whatever teams, adult and high school, who are willing to play them.
"Some people can only play on Sundays. Kadena has the problem of having no lights on its fields. Unfortunately, it’s been rolling over into Sunday in some cases," Kelly said.
That doesn’t mean that the coaches lay down the law and say soccer or else. If anything, Kelly said, the coaches go out of their way to ensure that "faith, family and school come first."
"There are bigger things in life than soccer," he said during Sunday’s match with FC Dragons, a club team.
"If any of those take precedent on any day, I give them full permission to address any of those areas. As long as the kids come and let us know, we can work the issues, and keep a balance of Sunday traditions and putting together a full high school season."
All four Okinawa Activities Council teams were in action Sunday, with Kadena’s teams playing in the morning.
Kadena’s girls were down four starters due to injury and two others due to family obligations. Kadena’s boys coach, Tom McKinney, sent two of his players to church midway through the Panthers’ match with Peru Nikkei. Kubasaki’s teams played in the afternoon, nominally after-church hours.
"As long as (coaches) afford the opportunity for church and family time, that’s OK," said Butch Knox, a Kadena Air Base contractor. Asked if he minded playing Sunday, Knox’s son, Jared, said he didn’t.
"It’s more preparation for Far East" tournaments in May, Jared Knox said.
Kinnick’s Davis tosses Kanto Plain’s first baseball no-no
On Saturday at Yokota Air Base, Eddy Davis became the first Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools pitcher to toss a no-hitter, in Nile C. Kinnick’s 18-1, five-inning triumph at Yokota.
Davis gave up two walks and one unearned run in five innings with nine strikeouts. "He really had command of his stuff. He just overpowered them," coach Mike Valenzuela said. "It’s a young Yokota team, but it’s still quite a feat."
Kinnick won the nightcap 13-3 in seven innings to sweep the twin bill.