Coach pulls players off field during soccer game citing player safety

For the first time in Southmoreland sports history, a team was pulled off the field before the game ended due to a coach’s concerns over player safety.

“We warned the girls they were aggressive and that they wanted to win,” head coach Aryn Askin said she told her players prior to a section game with Brownsville. But after several fouls that coach Askin felt were dangerous, she elected to pull her players off the field, board the bus and head back home before the final whistle.

The Sept. 19 girls soccer game at Brownsville High School was a first for Southmoreland. Never before had a Scottie team left the field before a contest was over.

“This has never happened before,” said athletic director Mr. Charlie Swink. “We finish the game, then if it was that bad, we contact WPIAL.”

During the first half of the game, there were two injuries with one so severe, the player was not able to return to the field.

“I’ve seen games that have gotten aggressive, but usually that’s when the refs step in,” said coach Askin.

Soccer games are typically refereed by three people, but the night of the Brownsville game there were only two.

“You just can’t catch as much with two refs as you could with three,” said coach Askin

Referees called fouls against Brownsville continuously for “unsporting behavior,” coach Askin said. But as the number of fouls continued to mount, the referees became more and more liberal with calling fouls, according to coach Askin However, no players were ejected.

“Typically, refs will pull aside coaches or tell other teams to calm down or something,” coach Askin said. “The refs that night did nothing.”

The tension only escalated further as the first half began to draw to a close when a referee called a foul against Brownsville after one girl fouled one of Southmoreland’s players.

“The girl that got the foul was not happy. She hurled insults at me as I was rounding up the girls” to leave the field, said coach Askin.

With about 16 minutes left in the game and the Scotties trailing 6-0, coach Askin pulled the soccer team off the field and asked them if they’d rather stay than leave. Unanimously they agreed on leaving.

“I called (Mr. Swink) and explained what happened and he just said, ‘Get them off the field,’” said Coach Askin.

“I told Jenna Conty to kick the ball as hard as she could and we’d get out of there,” said coach Askin. “I congratulated Brownsville on their win and we got on the buses as fast as we could.”

Once the students were on the buses, Brownsville’s team began to shout at the players as they were pulling out, Askin said.

“They said stuff like ‘see you next game’ and clapped. It was pretty embarrassing for them,” said team member Maegan Shetterly.

Mr. Swink said the WPIAL is investigating.

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