Low numbers force Riverview soccer teams to cancel seasons

Saturday, September 19, 2020 | 11:01 AM

The Riverview boys and girls varsity soccer teams were unable to overcome a numbers game that halted plans for the 2020 season, but boys coach Mickey Namey and girls coach Sean Abraham, along with athletic director Mario Rometo, are hopeful the teams and their players can return to competition in 2021.

“Being at a small school, some years you will have good numbers for a sport, and then there are other years where that might not be the case,” Rometo said.

“This year, the numbers are up for sports like cross country and football, and soccer numbers are down. In years past, we only had 23 or 24 players on the football team, and soccer numbers were good. A lot of times, it comes down to where these kids are in each grade and what sport they are leaning towards. You are going to face low numbers somewhere with all the sports we offer. That can make it challenging sometimes.”

Rometo said not having junior high teams for two years contributed greatly to the current numbers issue.

The junior high program returned last year with significant booster involvement from parents and others.

This year’s co-ed team of 20 players – 16 boys and four girls – was scheduled to begin its season last Thursday against Springdale. Over the next couple of weeks, the Raiders are slated to play additional games against Highlands, West Shamokin, Knoch, Valley, North Hills and Shady Side Academy.

“I hope this is just a temporary rough patch that we will be able to turn around next year,” Namey said.

“There are some really dedicated soccer players and parents in the district. We want the kids to be able to play.”

Large senior classes made up the majority of both squads last year.

The Riverview boys had 14 on the roster last season and nine were seniors. The group finished 7-8 overall, 6-6 in Section 3-A and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

Namey said two seniors and three juniors returned with four freshman coming in.

“We were trying to hold off until the last moment to see if we could get kids to come out,” Namey said. “Being that school started online-only, we didn’t have much contact with the student body to get many kids out. A few kids decided to pursue other sports or other activities, and a couple parents didn’t want their kids to play. The numbers dwindled down to where we couldn’t come close to fielding a team.”

The girls team has faced similar obstacles.

Last year, it started with 16 players, and 12 of them were seniors. Injuries reduced the number of available players, and it led to forfeits against Shady Side Academy and Greensburg Central Catholic at the end of the season.

Rometo said he plans to meet with the coaches in the coming weeks to formulate a game plan for the future.

“I know both coaches and a lot of other people are working hard to get the numbers up and return the players to competition,” Rometo said.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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