Photo by Sawyer Timco.
Corbin Schmeil dodges soccer defenders left and right, dribbling the ball with grace, speed and elegance on the LBJ practice soccer. Finding an opening to shoot, Schmeil rips the ball with veracity, sending the ball hurdling toward the goal. The ball goes past the goal post, barely sneaking past the goalies’ outstretched arm. Instead of celebrating his top notch finish however, Schmeil is forced to chase after the ball after it flew into one of the many holes in the goal’s net. This scene is a problem of the past, after The LBJ Athletic Office purchased two new soccer goals for teams to practice on.
The LBJ Athletics department installed the goals in December because they saw a glaring need for them. LASA junior and LBJ boys’ varsity soccer player Corbin Schmeil likes the addition of the goals, citing how they help free up space for practice.
“The new goals are really nice,” Schmeil said. “They really free up more space for us to practice and gives everyone a little bit more room, unlike last year. They’re also not like super rusted and broken like the other ones, which is a plus as well.”
The new goals are situated in the field near the portables, in between the four goals that were there last year, creating an extra field for teams to practice on. LBJ boys’ soccer is currently practicing on the fields to prepare for their upcoming season. The new goals were requested by the Athletic Office, and after they saw the need for them, they had to comply according to LBJ Athletic Director Andrew Jackson.
“We needed them,” Jackson said. “We needed some new goals. They knew we need some new goals, so they got us a couple.”
Last year, when there was only the two fields next two the portables, along with the pitch inside the track, space was limited for practice. Girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer and girls’ lacrosse would all practice during the winter and spring months, and according to Schmeil it was a tight squeeze. Currently, all those programs, along with ultimate frisbee, practice after school Tuesday and Thursday. This means that these days are a lot more crowded, but with the new goals, it added an extra field allowing the programs better places to practice according to LASA sophomore and LBJ boys’ junior varsity soccer player Christian Salinas.
“Last year, I practiced on the field in the track and we didn’t have a lot of room,” Salinas said. “The goals added an extra field that really helped in terms of the amount of room and space we have to practice. Last year was pretty cramped and it made it hard to practice because we couldn’t do a lot of the things we wanted to. Now, I practice on the field near the portable and we can practice a lot more and do a lot more game type situations.”
The next goal in terms of field maintenance is to fix the field itself by re-seeding it, as well as filling ins the holes, according to Jackson. The fields have a number of holes, along with many bare patches of grass. Schmeil would like this project done because the field conditions make it hard to practice.
“The quality of the fields is still kinda bad in terms of all the holes and stuff that is there,” Schmeil said. “It makes it really hard to practice and get things done when we need to, and it’s also really annoying because the other schools have better fields than us. It puts us at a disadvantage in terms of what we can get done and what we can do at practice. I get that there just isn’t a budget for that, it’s still just a little annoying.”
Despite these annoyances, players from soccer, football, ultimate frisbee and lacrosse practice on these fields throughout the year. The next step to solve the field problems that Schmeil complains about is to fill the holes to reduce possible injuries as said by Jackson, but this is a lot harder said than done, so Jackson hopes this will happen in the near future.
“What we need to get done now is get the land out there redone,” Jackson said. “We need to re-seed it and smooth it all out. That’s about it. It’s just now about getting the fields done and then we should look good.”