Coach: What’s future for football, soccer?

IS IT football or soccer which has the better future? Or will change more?

September is finally here, along with football, baseball stretch runs and back-to-school. Forget January; this when the new year really begins for most people. Vacations are over and the heady race toward the holidays will soon start to gather some speed.

There are a lot of things to contemplate in the sports world as this “new year” gets underway. Some questions, with or without answers, include:

  • Is there really room for two NFL franchises in the Los Angeles area, especially since neither the Rams nor the Chargers look strong enough to post winning records? As the entertainment capital of the world, L.A. does not cling nostalgically to losing efforts; it’s win early and often or fall into irrelevancy as the Clippers did for decades.
  • Can high school sports leaders cope gracefully with the increasing monetization of athletics? A recent Time magazine article focused on how travel teams, unscrupulous coaches, gutted transfer rules and vicarious parents are making some prep sports – especially football and basketball – into neo-professional enterprises, instead of the community endeavors they were intended to be.
  • How can football – at all levels – reinvent itself as evidence piles up that the sport, as it is currently played – has an unacceptably high rate of permanent brain damage incidents from repeated concussions? Are we headed toward historic changes or a collapse under the weight of parental lawsuits?
  • How big is soccer going to get? A line has been crossed, and Americans are tuning into that other variety of football in impressively rising numbers. Major League Soccer is expanding like a waistline on Thanksgiving; could an MLS franchise for Orange County be in the offing?

Hello to the High Five

Weeks Zero and One are in the books for local prep football teams, and it’s time for our very first High Five of the 2017 season for teams in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area.

Our pick for the top team is Edison, right back where it started from in 2016. The Chargers (1-1) had an off-night last week against San Clemente, but star QB Griffin O’Connor will just get better as the season goes on.

Rising to number two is Pacifica (1-0). The Vince Lopez’ Mariners are loaded with talent at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, not to mention up front. It’s taken a long time for the M’s to regain their glory after their exile into the Empire League for being too darn good for the Garden Grove League. This looks like the year  that the black-blue-and-white makes the rest of the EL feel black-and-blue.

A surprising number three is Marina (2-0), after to a fast start. A good test of the Vikings will come Friday when they take on the rival Westminster Lions (1-0) at the Battle at Boswell. The Lions knocked off a good Garden Grove team last week and could contend for the Golden West League crown.

In fourth place we have Ocean View, which clobbered Los Amigos 42-0 in their opener. The Seahawks (1-0) will be taking on Rancho Alamitos (1-0), which ran away from Savanna 49-15 in Week One.

Taking the number five spot is Westminster (1-0). As noted above Lions beat Garden Grove last week, defeating a team which has won five straight titles in the Garden Grove League. WHS may be ready to challenge Segerstrom for the Golden West title this year.

On the bubble: Garden Grove (1-1) and La Quinta (1-0).

Monday Morning Coach is written by Pete Zarustica. For more on high school football, look for our Gridiron Preview on Thursday.

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