While boys and girls soccer at Riverbank High School will remain at opposite ends of the calendar through this year, next season they’ll be playing at the same time.
RHS Athletic Director John Bartlett has confirmed that, beginning next school year, both boys and girls soccer teams will be playing a winter schedule, simultaneously. In the past, boys soccer has been played in the fall, and girls soccer in the spring.
Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the soccer season will be held during the winter, at the same time as basketball.
Bartlett said winter season at the high school will include boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball and wrestling.
Traditionally, both boys and girls soccer programs have played their games on the RHS soccer field. In the fall, varsity boys start right after school, while there’s still daylight, with the JV game following, light permitting. The girls have faced the same restrictions in the spring.
With darkness coming even earlier in winter, playing in the same season will make for a single, crowded soccer field. But Bartlett said the teams will have separate practice areas.
When asked about games and the need for lights in the winter, he said there were no plans to install any on the current field. He said games will start earlier, possibly while school is still in session. But he did say there may be a chance of playing some soccer games on the football field, which has lights.
Another adjustment these changes will bring is in the soccer coaching lineup at RHS. In the past, varsity coach Martin Gonzalez has led both the boys and girls campaigns on the soccer field. With both playing in the same season, that will no longer be possible next year.
Bartlett said the changes come from state officials.
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which governs high school sports, is moving to a statewide playoff system for soccer. Bartlett said if Riverbank wants to remain in the hunt for championship titles, it, along with the rest of the Trans-Valley League teams, will have to move to winter seasons.
And this change increases the chances of soccer games being played in the rain.
Preparation for Basketball Continues
Meanwhile, the gyms on campus echo with the reverberating sounds of basketball drills for both boys and girls teams.
They are preparing for preseason games and tournaments that get underway later this month.
Varsity boys basketball starts off with a four-team scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 21, starting at 10 a.m. in the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium.
That same day, Lady Bruins basketball begins with a scrimmage game, also at the RHS home court. It doesn’t begin until 1 p.m.
JV boys basketball kicks off with a scrimmage on Tuesday, Nov. 24, traveling to Sierra High School in Manteca, beginning at 6 p.m.
The JV girls start with a home scrimmage with Oakdale, also on Nov. 24, beginning at 1 p.m.
Freshman boys basketball starts off with a trip to Sonora High School on Saturday, Nov. 21, for a 10 a.m. tip-off.
Frosh girls don’t start until Dec. 8, with a game at Oakdale against the young Lady Mustangs at 4 p.m.