Players’ poor choices put soccer season at risk


MSHS administrators placed more than a dozen soccer players on suspension after they confessed to drinking at a party.

After the La Junta football game, a group of soccer players got together for a team barbecue, but, according to Head Coach Ben Mack, when the adults at the house went to sleep, two MSHS girls showed up and reportedly brought alcohol.

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Suspicious, parents searched the yard in the morning and found a single bottle cap. When the boys were asked about the cap, they confessed to drinking.

“I’m really disappointed that all it would have taken is for one or two of them to step up and say, ‘Hey this is crazy, we’re jeopardizing our season here, we’re jeopardizing our teammates, we’re jeopardizing all the hard work we’ve put in this whole year so far,’” said Mack.

Following the district’s drug and alcohol policy, administrators suspended the players for 20 percent of the season, or three games. All players were first-time offenders.

Both JV and Varsity players were involved, so both teams were affected. The suspended players couldn’t play in the James Irwin, Falcon, and TCA games.

“It could absolutely cost us a chance at playoffs,” said Mack.

Many of the upperclassmen players, such as captains Mitchell Patterson and Sawyer Lincoln, who were not involved in the drinking, are upset because, for seniors, the incident has ruined their last season.

Lincoln expressed his disappointment towards his teammates, “you’re not only ruining your future on the team, you’re ruining the team’s future by making dumb decisions. We are going to lose three games just because people were making dumb decisions, three games that we could’ve easily won, and these are three crucial games; TCA is in our conference, and we have to win every conference game to make it to playoffs, so now not being able to have a full team to play the best team in the state, it really ruins the season.”

Mack expressed that maybe these players were not thinking of their team when they decided to partake in the illegal activity.

“I want players who bleed team, who really really put team before everything… If there’s a player, or two, or three, or four that don’t really care about the team, they can go find another sport to play,” said Mack.

“The behavior of these students was wrong,” said Athletic Director John McGee. “They betrayed the trust of their family, their teammates, and their school. The silver lining in all of this was the cooperation of all the parents and students involved. My hope is that this unfortunate event ended up being a positive learning opportunity.”

Although the three games missed were hard for the team, everyone is hoping to move past it.

“I really love my guys, and they made a bad choice, but that doesn’t make them bad people,” said Mack. “I want them to feel pain, I want them to feel remorse, I want them to feel crappy, to a point, but I also want them to learn from it, and move forward, and let this incident strengthen them.”

By Madison Conarro