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Soccer Violence Prompts Call for Guidelines

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Times Staff Writer

Concern over what Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas called an “increased intensity” of violent incidents in high school soccer has caused the Southern Section executive committee to recommend that a set of specific conduct guidelines be established for the sport.

Thomas said the proposed guidelines could include punishments for violations, but that there is no plan to return the sport to a probationary period, such as it was under for about a year ending in early 1985.

“What we don’t want to see is another probation for soccer or the sport eliminated,” Thomas said. “There are some programs with problems, but many are quite good. There’s certainly no need to punish the masses.”

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Incidents at high school soccer matches came under scrutiny about two weeks ago after Barry Escoe, principal at Katella High School, canceled the two remaining games of the Katella boys’ team after a bench-clearing brawl caused officials to suspend a match against El Dorado.

The executive committee agreed Thursday to recommend that guidelines be established. Thomas said Southern Section administrators will write the guidelines and that they will be discussed at the March 19 meeting of the Southern Section Council. They could be voted on at the May 7 meeting, Thomas said.

Although no figure on the number of incidents this season was available, Thomas said preliminary reports indicate that the number is not as high as when the sport was put on probation three years ago, but that the “intensity (of such incidents) is higher.” There were more than 100 incidents reported in the Southern Section in 1984.

A controversial new rule that prohibits high school soccer teams from having more than five players on the roster who played together on an outside team during the school year will be discussed at the March meeting of the Southern Section Council.

The Southern Section rules committee last week agreed to discuss the rule before the council after the soccer advisory committee earlier this month recommended that the rule be repealed.

A similar rule allows no more than three members of a single outside team to play together on a school water polo team.

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The rule, which was approved last year and went into effect Dec. 1, could come to a vote at the May meeting, Thomas said.

Southern Section officials say the rule is intended to bring the rules of soccer and water polo in line with those of other sports.

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