Rome Free Academy’s soccer schedule is temporarily created with its first match on September 4 against Christian Brothers Academy. The hope is that the New York State High School Athletics Association will approve additional games in what has always been a scrimmage. This week the Association did give that approval.
The Association’s Executive Committee voted unanimously to allow schools to have up to 10 matches.
“We basically ordered it,” said RFA head coach Jake DerCola. Because Class AA has changed its playoffs to four teams, not eight for at least the next two years, the school wants to have an additional regular season game, he said. So the RFA will play the final of its regular season while the small schools play a quarter-final playoff match.
The Black Knight will start the season with a non-league match at home at 7 pm. against CBA.
“The more games the better,” DerCola said. But losing soccer training also has an influence on the season, especially with preparation, he said. “It’s always difficult. You get into soccer practice with a number of games in mind for the first team, “to get an experience without risk of injury. “The biggest challenge is who you are, your second team, your third team.” Scrimmage usually helps explain that, he said.
Another major complication in the preseason is the COVID-19 pandemic, which radically changes the way athletes practice. DerCola and his staff have sent training to the players, including ways to train without weights. “Children do things themselves.” The zoom meeting is a place to study films and “football lectures,” an opportunity to introduce new players and remind those who are returning from the RFA system.
DerCola said he would wait for the district’s recommended plan when the practice could begin. “You will not go back to how you always do it. The protocol will change,” he said. “Children’s safety will be a priority.” Although that means it might be more difficult to build friendships, “This is the present situation.”
RFA will have two more regular season matches than last year. After the CBA match, RFA will then host rival Utica Proctor at 7 pm. Friday, September 11. The rest of the schedule is: September 18 in Baldwinsville, September 25 against Henninger, October 2 in Corcoran, October 9 in Nottingham and October 16 at home against West Genesee for Homecoming; October 23 in Cicero-North Syracuse; and Senior Night at home against Liverpool on 30 October.
Last year RFA was 2-6 in DerCola’s second year in control.
Syracuse hosts the bowling championship
The Board also approved the championship site for several sports, including bowling for boys and girls, which will be held again at AMF Strike Spare N Spare Lanes in the next three years.
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