Sunday, February 18, 2007

Prep playoffs

Family commitments kept me from covering a high school soccer playoff game for the Press-Enterprise on Saturday. Instead, the task of covering the game fell on one of their regular prep staffers. Seems Elsinore beat Norte Vista 2-1.

Anyway, I don't know the writer but I've seen his byline and he does good stuff for them. But he's not a soccer guy. The story said one kid scored on a "head shot." I don't think I've ever heard anyone use that term before - unless they were talking about modeling.

What reading that brought back to me were memories of the early days of the Galaxy, when newspapers sent prep guys - many unwillingly - to cover soccer. Now, there are still guys who cover preps covering the Galaxy and Chivas USA. But the difference is that now these guys are soccer savvy and have worked at gaining a knowledge and understanding of the sport and the teams.

Before, however, the Galaxy was almost an afterthought. The Galaxy was slotted somewhere between college badminton and little league baseball, or something like that.

I guess, though, that I was a beneficiary of some of that early mindset of covering the Galaxy since I started off covering high school football and working as an agate clerk for the San Bernardino County Sun. My boss at the time, the great Paul Oberjuerge, tossed me a bone and let me cover the Galaxy. My first big story was a feature that I wrote on Carlos Hermosillo. It actually ran in USA Today as well as in The Sun and I was so excited when it ran. I actually talked to Carlos Hermosillo, unlike most any other stories I'd seen on him because I was one of the few Spanish-speaking English-language writers back then (come to think of it, that part hasn't changed much).

I've managed to find a niche with The Press-Enterprise, covering soccer for them as a freelancer and I think they are quite forward-thinking in their soccer coverage. I don't know how much more they could expand - at least in the print edition - this season with Beckham's arrival because they already dedicate a lot to Chivas USA and the Galaxy during the season.

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