Depend Thornton Academy a number of the colleges who plan to vote in opposition to a debatable plan to cut back Elegance A soccer from 14 to 8 groups subsequent fall.

Thornton Academy, which received the Elegance A state soccer championship ultimate fall, will vote in opposition to an offer to cut back Elegance A soccer from 14 to 8 groups. Workforce photograph by way of Gregory Rec

“We aren’t in choose of reducing again at the selection of groups in Elegance A,” mentioned Thornton’s Gary Stevens, athletic director of Maine’s greatest highschool. “We really feel a extra powerful Elegance A creates extra aggressive groups within the department irrespective of how lately robust this system is. It creates extra tiering choices.”

The proposed soccer reclassification – which incorporates the ancient inclusion of 10 methods moving to eight-man soccer – might be voted on Thursday on the Maine Principals’ Affiliation total club assembly. The assembly starts at eight a.m. on the Samoset Hotel in Rockport.

Beneath the plan, long-time Elegance A methods Portland, Deering, South Portland, Massabesic, Windham and Cheverus would drop to Elegance B, which might increase from 17 to 22 groups. Elegance B could be divided into north and south divisions for colleges with enrollments between 600-949.

Elegance A would not have geographic divisions. It could include Thornton Academy (1,476 scholars), Lewiston (1,420), Bangor (1,202), Bonny Eagle (1,094), Oxford Hills/Buckfield (1,063), Edward Little (998), Sanford (982) and Scarborough (973).

“Systems like Bangor, which is attempting to get again on its toes, how does this assist them?” Stevens requested. “Or Lewiston, that’s looking to reestablish itself, how does this assist them?”

Or, as Sanford Athletic Director Gordie Salls put it when the eight-team Elegance A used to be proposed previous this month: “I don’t assume it’s excellent for Sanford or soccer within the state. I don’t wish to be essential as a result of a large number of folks installed a large number of paintings in this, but when you need aggressive schedules you wish to have extra groups, now not much less groups.”

Underlying a lot of the unrest is the rising chasm between probably the most robust groups within the state and each different crew.

Thornton, Bonny Eagle and Scarborough have blended to win the ultimate seven Elegance A titles. Prior to now 3 years, the ones groups have been a blended 60-1 when now not enjoying each and every different.  Few of the ones video games have been even shut.

The plan for 8 Elegance A groups used to be authorized unanimously on April eight by way of each the MPA’s Soccer and Classification committees. However previous this yr, proposals from the ones committees had Elegance A increasing to 18 – and, later – 16 groups. The alternate in plans got here after 3 colleges appealed their placement in Elegance A and two others appealed being moved up from Elegance C to B.

The transfer of Portland and Deering to Elegance B has provoked ire on social media. With regards to Portland, folks query why a crew that has received 3 of the previous 4 Elegance A North titles wishes to transport down.

Each colleges are thought to be to have lower than 950 scholars for the reason that MPA determined to switch the way it counts the enrollment of Portland’s Casco Bay Top, whose scholars can play sports activities at both Portland or Deering. Up to now, Casco Bay’s enrollment used to be  halved, with more or less 185-200 scholars added to each Portland and Deering’s enrollment figures. Going ahead, Casco Bay might be handled as a co-operative college, which means enrollment is in line with what number of scholars are in reality enjoying a game. With that adjust, Deering went from 1,086 to 932 scholars and Portland from 970 to 776.

“I feel it’s unfair to even the Elegance B colleges,” Oxford Hills soccer trainer Mark Soehren informed the Lewiston Solar-Magazine. “That’s simply an outrageous factor once we’re looking to construct fairness in Maine, once we’re going to eight-man, which I feel is superb, that they’d transfer the ones groups down (and) that the largest town within the state of Maine has 3 Elegance B soccer colleges.”

Classification for soccer and basketball might be treated with separate votes at Thursday’s assembly, mentioned Mike Burnham, the MPA’s assistant government director. All different sports activities might be voted on as one proposal.

Proposals want a majority vote to move. All colleges are eligible to vote on each and every proposal, whether they be offering soccer. Burnham mentioned if an offer fails to move it’s imaginable an alternate proposal might be presented after which voted on.

“Will it get authorized? Fair to God, I don’t know,” mentioned Biddeford Trainer Brian Curit, whose crew has performed in Elegance B since 2015. “If you happen to’ve adopted this saga, it’s been one the place they’ve been in every single place. Heck, the first actual proposal we have been in Elegance A and there have been one thing like 22 groups. They have been going to head 3 categories. Then it went again to 4 categories. Then, my goodness, it appeared like if (colleges) belly-ached sufficient, they only moved their elegance.”

Curit mentioned “with all of the unrest and jockeying” over soccer classification, blended with the creation of eight-man soccer, sticking with the established order may were “the very best and maximum equitable manner.”

Whilst Thornton will vote no, Stevens expects the MPA’s total club will approve the proposal.

Brunswick Top’s Dan Cooper is one trainer interested by the growth of Elegance B soccer.

“It’ll make issues a bit of harder and successful a Elegance B North or Elegance B outright name might be a heck of much more pleasurable with all the ones A groups in there,” Cooper mentioned. “I feel it waters down Elegance A reasonably slightly, however Elegance B goes to be a dogfight with 22 groups.”

NOTES: MPA Govt Director Richard Durost is retiring on the finish of June. On Friday, at a certified trade assembly which is a part of the general-membership convention, his succession plan might be voted on. In his 18 years as government director, Durost has overseen each the interscholastic {and professional} divisions of the MPA. The plan is for present assistant government administrators Burnham and Holly Couturier to separate the tasks. Burnham might be in command of interscholastic sports activities and actions and Couturier will direct the pro department.


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