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To the editor:
I was extremely disappointed with the article in your newspaper regarding the Anderson County Boys Soccer program. ("Anderson sports program at top of state ejection list," Page B1 of the Dec. 19 edition.)
I considered this article an attack on the program, the team and particularly head coach Brett Morris.
This was unfair but very typical for this newspaper. I was involved with the program from the beginning of coach Morris' coaching career at Anderson County. He was a welcome alternative from previous coaches.
This was the start of boys' soccer in Lawrenceburg and very few knew the game well enough to coach it. This lack of knowledge resulted in frustration from the boys who have been playing the game for years and, most distressing, a lack of safety for the team due to unsafe conditions on the field and in play.
We, as a whole, both players and parents, were excited and proud to have Coach Morris take charge.
He has not disappointed the program. The [varsity team] was ranked for the first time this year. It enjoyed much success and have every reason to expect more in the years ahead.
Coach Morris was and still is young for a coach. He did have instances throughout the years when his actions were noticed by the officials. Some of these actions resulted in yellow and red cards. I observed first-hand his first three years at Anderson County. The majority of these instances were a result of trying to motivate his team.
However, there was one instance at an away game that to my surprise is still being discussed years later. As this scenario played out, it was clear to those in attendance that coach Morris' actions were in defense and concern for his team. A player had been verbally attacked while coming off the field and coach Morris' sole concern at that time was getting his team on the bus safely. Unfortunately, this was not reported and the focus was placed on coach Morris.
I recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with the soccer program. I was excited and proud once again to observe coach Morris. He has matured as a man and a soccer coach. His understanding of the game has developed through the years to which the team's success is evidence.
His actions on the field have matured as well. He is a calmer and more respectful coach. I was impressed with his approach to the actions of his team.
He does his best to instill in them a love and respect for the game, its players and officials.
The topic of your article focused primarily on the amount of ejections of boys' soccer.
You are not the only one concerned with this issue. This topic is discussed regularly both during season and offseason.
The use of vulgar language is universal to each and every team. The level of play is also a concern.
There is a fine line that must be walked to play the game at the intensity needed to succeed, but not overstep that line into unnecessary rough and dangerous play. This can be observed in both girls and boys soccer.
I am thankful for coach Morris and for what he has achieved for the game of soccer in Anderson County.
While soccer is still behind in popularity, it does have loyal fans that love the game and enjoy watching their team.
Without coach Morris stepping in years ago, I have no doubt that soccer in Anderson County would have progressed as far in such a short amount of time.