Soccer Players Head to France

Michael Blazevic of San Pedro, Jorge Sanchez of University, Art Torres of Banning, Mark Jimenez of Venice, Luis Orellana of Belmont and Henri Rivas of Locke will travel to France later this month to play in a soccer tournament in conjunction with World Cup '98. John Ortega of Van Nuys Birmingham, Greg Avila of Granada Hills Kennedy and Abdullah Safdari of Chatsworth also are on the team.

The team from Los Angeles will compete in a tournament that includes teenage soccer players from 22 countries. The L.A. team will be the only one from the United States.

The tournament is scheduled for July 1-12 in Saint-Denis, site of the World Cup final.

Travel and lodging expenses will be paid by tournament organizers. The competition involves players ages 15 to 18.

Players were selected by coaches and Los Angeles Unified School District administrators, based on their soccer skills, academic standing and character.


City Commissioner Barbara Fiege said Wednesday that the Interscholastic Athletic Committee last week passed two motions that laid the groundwork for the final step of a releaguing plan.

IAC last week passed one motion that eliminates predesignation of schools as 3-A and 4-A. Championships will still be contested in two divisions, but schools will no longer be able to choose their divisions. Instead, the determination will be made by the playoff seeding committee after the regular season in each sport. The strongest 16 teams will be 4-A, the next strongest 16 teams 3-A.

IAC also passed a motion for a six-team league format. Currently, there are four-team leagues in seven conferences. Other than the Magnet Conference, each conference includes two leagues. Teams play league members twice and other conference members once. The new format allows schools to play opponents from other leagues twice in one season.

Fiege said the final step involves placing schools in the respective leagues. The releaguing committee will develop a proposal, send it to the schools for feedback and hold a public forum for input from school administrators and the community. She said the plan should be completed by December so that it can be implemented for the 1999-2000 school year.


Board of Education member David Tokofsky said he will offer a motion Monday proposing a 30% increase in coaching stipends. Raises would range from $270 to $520.

City coaches have not had a raise since 1989. Their pay ranks 43rd out of 47 Los Angeles County districts.

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