Wildfires lead to seeding changes for soccer

By David Wilson

Points per game will determine season standings after Sonoma State soccer games were canceled due to autumn wildfires, the California Collegiate Athletic Association said last week.

Men’s soccer was not affected, while women’s soccer moved from fourth place to seventh and outside of a playoff place heading into this past weekend.

“The unfortunate circumstances that the student-athletes up at Sonoma were going through really kind of pales in comparison to maybe a situation that may push a team in or out of the conference tournament,” women’s soccer head coach Jay Mason said. “Looking at who it benefits, it is what it is.”

Women’s soccer secured its place in the CCAA Tournament on Friday night beating San Bernardino 3-1 but will have to travel in the first round instead of hosting.

CCAA Commissioner Nate Salant sent out a survey to athletic directors and coaches within the conference about changing to points per game, and according to the CCAA, the proposal was accepted “near-unanimously.”

The alternative, according to the league, was to seed based on winning percentages, but unlike other sports, a tie in soccer would be hard to factor in.

“The problem with winning percentage is how do you interpret ties,” Mason said. “You put in the factors of they tied away, or they tied at home, there’s a lot of different variables there that people can interpret in different ways.”

The reasoning from the conference to not reschedule the cancelled games centered on the date of the CCAA tournament that starts today and continues through the week.

“There simply are no reasonable dates available to put them on,” Salant said in a statement.

For Mason, the best solution would be to move the conference tournament back to allow a week for games to be played.

“If there was a way to push back the conference tournament or move the conference tournament games that allows a weekend or a block of five days where in the future, this happens again that we can replay games during that period of time,” Mason said.

Men’s soccer head coach Adam Reeves would like to see a more fundamental change to the current system.

“Myself included and college coaches all over the country are hoping to change the college season into a nine or 10-month season that stretches out games, that stretches out development of the student-athlete, that enables kids to miss less class time because they’re playing one game a week on a Saturday or a Sunday. That’s how you fix it,” Reeves said.

According to Reeves, it would require a vote by a committee made up of representatives from institutions around the country, but the idea has been “pushed heavily by prominent coaches” in the last few years.

The biggest obstacle in Reeves’s opinion is the higher costs of travel that schools would have to provide.

Instead of travelling to two schools in one weekend, travelling back home and away every weekend saves time at school but costs more.

“Unless we find a way to become more profitable or profitable period, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s a fight that everybody who has the best interests of college soccer in mind is working toward a solution,” Reeves said.

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