“We all train together every day in the same field, in the entire school district of the city, in all boys’ teams,” says Rich Paufler, soccer head coach of the World of Inquiry School.
That’s right, after the city football teams lose their chance to play with everyone else in the fall, they take advantage of a break in the spring to practice and play games.
“It really means a lot to be out here playing with my boys,” said East High captain Ben Mfaume.
“It means that anything to get out of here and play is the best that could have happened with it,” said Wilson junior Evan Walls.
However, due to the decreasing numbers and the limited field, the teams are forced to split the field at Franklin High School and at the same time play side by side on a shorter field.
“We’re grateful that we set something up, it wasn’t the best, but we’re trying to make lemonade out of lemons,” said Paufler.
The smaller field means the games are only 7v7, which in turn is another adjustment for the teams.
“It’s definitely a lot different,” said Walls, “it’s technical and ball control in a confined space, not as much fitness and endurance.”
This Sunday there will be a showcase game for the city teams that will feature 10 college football coaches. This is a chance to be recruited that they didn’t have in the fall.
“It means a lot to me and the other players to show skills in front of college coaches to show them what you’ve got,” says Mfaume. “It really means a lot to us.”
A scholarship option isn’t the only benefit of this shortened spring season.
“We compete with each other, but we respect each other, we learn from each other and at the moment we’re trying to advance city football when we have a lot of challenges,” said Paufler.
The Showcase game takes place in Franklin this Sunday, April 11th. The schools participating in the RCSD Spring Football Season will also host a championship game on Friday April 16.