Summer Soccer v Winter Soccer
Ruud Dokter, the High Performance Director of the FAI, in an interview yesterday with Daniel McDonnell reiterated his hope of switching Schoolboy Soccer to a “Summer Season” .
In Social media much has been made, in light of the horrendous weather we have been experiencing in recent months, of a similar argument for switching Junior Soccer from August- May to a calendar season starting in March and ending in November.
Dokter points out the many advantages of exchanging soccer in December, January and February for the more appealing climes of June, July and August.
The performance Director cites the example of the Mayo League where they changed, and claims it was only positive adding that Mayo is a GAA county so if it’s doable there other counties should be able to switch.
However in regards to the Junior side of things it was also the accepted wisdom that Mayo’s switch was all positive. However I spoke with a number of clubs yesterday and they were quick to point out all is not rosy in the garden.
The bigger Town clubs like Westport, Ballina and Castlebar are thriving while there has been a noticeable fall off in what were once big rural clubs.
The rural clubs have more of a reliance on “dual players” many of whom are now lost to soccer in Mayo.
When the switch initially happened Players who played both codes continued to juggle things around but since then the GAA have put pressure on youngsters who are told to choose one or the other and Soccer is losing out in rural areas.
Another problem arising is when a team is out of the running for honours many players are throwing in the towel and reverting to the many other Summer activities on offer.
Before Limerick Clubs think about a switch to Summer soccer they need to keep some of these worries in mind.
We have 115 teams in our 12 Divisions under the LDL administration, 50 of which would be considered County sides.
Granted many of these sides would not be overly affected by the GAA but most would.
Some clubs would disband thus reducing our representation in the open draw stages of the FAI and Munster Junior Cups.
You can also throw into the mix Summer Holidays.
The idea of closing down to allow people take holidays in nonsensical. Very few companies close down for Summer holidays and most are staggered to allow Business stay open.
So unless you have a big squad you will be adversely affected.
While all this is going on, the FAI and Munster Cup and Oscar Traynor competitions continue on their Winter Soccer, thwarting Limerick’s chances of peaking at the right time for said competitions.
We have seen over 250 games abandoned since October but, interestingly, 80 of those were during October and November, two of the months of the proposed new season.
All these problems can be overcome but many will come at a cost but the clubs have to decide if the benefit is worth that cost.