Teammates demoralized after boys’ soccer forfeits final


Boys’ team celebrates win

Vivian Ealy and Anisha Parida

On November 11 the Manheim Township School District made the decision to forfeit the Boys Soccer district final game, automatically making Cumberland Valley district champions. Many of the players at Manheim Township, especially the seniors, were devastated..

“I was the one who told them that our game was forfeit. This was extremely hard to do. We were all crushed. Many cried and all were stunned” says head coach, Kevin Baker. Baker has been coaching the Manheim Township Boys Soccer team for 16 years and expressed how proud he was of his players this year, despite the abrupt end to their season. 

Baker says this season “brought a sense of normalcy into a very abnormal world we currently live in.” He went on to explain, “..the hardest part of the situation is not being able to be together as a team anymore.” Baker emphasized how he was close to this year’s seniors especially, which made it even harder to watch them not be able to complete their final season“I feel incredibly sad that our season ended the way it did … I would have taken any other scenario,” said senior Shawn Larroza. 

Much of the team’s frustration stemmed from an apparent lack of communication from the school board to the players, coaches, and athletic director about their decision to forfeit the game. 

“We’ve all just  been left asking ‘Why?’ due to a lack of transparency and collaboration…I think we all need and deserve an explanation,” said senior David Wolf.

The forfeit was a result of the district entering the  “red phase.” During the red phase,  all of the students at Manheim Township in grades 7-12 were forced to switch to online learning due to a spike in the amount of COVID-19 cases. As a result of the switch to remote learning, the Manheim Township Boys Soccer team was forced to forfeit their district game in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to each other and to their opposing team. Many players, however,  mentioned that the entire team had already been participating in online school and had been quarantining for weeks so as not to jeopardize their season. 

Baker also shared how “They [the boys] did a very good job adhering to the COVID rules. They made great decisions and did all they could to stay safe.” 

Considering all of the precautions they took, many members of the team felt that the forfeiture was unnecessary.. 

The decision to forfeit the match was discussed at the school board meeting that occurred on November 12.  Junior Brady Schwartz, Senior Brady Yohe, and coach Josh Beers spoke against the forfeiture, warning that winter sports may also see coronavirus- related cancellations.

 Although the season did not go as planned, there are some bright spots in this unfortunate situation. According to Senior Shea Miller-Smith, 2020 was the first year that the boys’ soccer team had been to district finals in 12 years. The team went 14-2, and their final game, the district semi-final, was a 3-0 win against Dallastown. Although they were not able to play in the following game, their season ended with a win. Coach Baker shared some of his highlights from this year as well: “ We also were able to have some success as well- Section 1 Champions and League Champions. It was a great year that had a sad ending, but I am thankful for the time we were able to have.” 

Senior Ethan Vassilaros provides another positive perspective: “I moved back here to play after spending the last two years in Idaho. This last chance to play with my closest friends and get this far has been amazing for me.”