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The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

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Concerns for Students’ Safety Sparks Soccer Policy Change

Rice girls soccer team in their warm-ups before the championship match against Milton on November 5, 2022. (Photo/Alan Ouellette)

For Rice’s many student-athletes, the season of fall means thinking about games, team bonding, and playoff aspirations. This year, the soccer teams have other items to add to the list: new rules around where and when they can change into their jerseys.

For the past decade, soccer teams have gone onto the field for games in warm-up tops. Then, minutes before play begins, they switch into official jerseys by the bench. According to girls varsity captain Raven McCray-Fay, the entire team changing “takes about 30 seconds.”

Two weeks ago, this practice was banned for the girl’s team, and for the boy’s team shortly thereafter. Neil Brodeur, the Rice Athletic Director, elaborates on the new rule.

“They’re just supposed to come out with their jerseys on. We don’t want any garments taken off on the field and in public.”

Instead, players on the girl’s team now choose between putting one shirt over the other and taking it off on the field while leaving the jersey on, changing inside a shed, or running back inside the school to the locker room to make the switch.

McCray-Fay noted that any of these options take additional time out of the team warm-up period.

Frustration rose from the girl’s team immediately after the implementation of the policy.

“I have not heard any appreciation [on the team] for this new rule,” said McCray-Fay.

Izzy Bloom, a member of the girl’s varsity soccer team since 2020 and current captain, said “I would just say it frustrates us. It’s like five minutes before the game. We’re struggling to put our shirts on when we shouldn’t be focusing on that but getting ready to win.”

The policy for the boy’s team was changed shortly after the girls’. “It seemed like a ‘If it’s for the girls we should do it for the guys’ kind of thing,” said boys varsity team member Colin Banks. The boys now change in their cars.

Banks summarizes the initial feeling on the team as “‘this is stupid” but predicts it will calm.

“Of course, when you first implement something, everyone’s gonna have outrage. But then it’s like ‘oh, well,’” said Banks.

The decision to change the rule was made following Athletic Director Brodeur’s attendance at a girl’s soccer game at the beginning of the season. The justification behind the policy is the protection of students.

“We’re trying to avoid a situation where somebody might feel uncomfortable, so we’re going to go with this [rule],” explained Brodeur. “This is the safest thing to do.”

Brodeur elaborated on his specific concerns. “There are people with cameras, some people that we don’t even know. There are people on our sidelines, between the benches that have cameras and so when the girls come over and take off their warm-up shirts and just have their jog bras on, I didn’t feel that was appropriate because I don’t know who’s doing what with cameras. Things can happen that I–we–can’t control, so I don’t want that.”

The athletes themselves, while understanding the concern, have not reported any such incidents.

“I would have an issue if someone took a picture like that, but I didn’t have that experience,” said Banks.

Off the field, players of both teams suggested that the rule might be related to Rice’s focus on the Catholic value of modesty. Brodeur rejected this notion.

“I don’t think it’s a Catholic School thing. It’s just a decency thing,” said the athletic director.

Beyond the policy itself, players were left questioning the timing of the decision.

For the girls’ part, Bloom said, “I honestly just think everyone’s confused of why all of a sudden more than like, the change.”

Despite the frustration, players on both teams confirmed that they would adhere to the new policy.

“If it’s a rule, it’s a rule,” asserted Bloom.

“As long as it’s equal between the girls and the guys,” added McCray-Fay.

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Moorea Lambert
Moorea Lambert, Arts Editor
Moorea Lambert is a senior at Rice who is thrilled to be working with Knight's Banner. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, choreographing, and rowing.
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    Dr. HawesOct 5, 2023 at 9:57 am

    Well-written and balanced reporting. Thank you Moorea.