When the Broomfield soccer team walked off the pitch at Dick's Sporting Goods Park last Saturday with the 5A state championship trophy in tow, the Eagles did so as one of the most dominant teams to ever take the field in Colorado prep history.
Doubt it? Outside of a 2-0 loss to Front Range League rival Monarch on Oct. 22, Broomfield trailed for a grand total of seven minutes this season. (Broomfield's only other loss, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mountain Range on Sept. 17, came by way of a miraculous sudden victory goal in overtime.)
That's right. Seven minutes. And all seven minutes of those came in the 2-1 victory over Mountain Vista in the championship game.
Other than that, Broomfield was either on top or even throughout every other game this year.
I've been covering prep soccer in Colorado for more than 20 years, and this year's Eagles would easily make my list of the top five teams I've seen.
Horizon had a team that was considered the national champions in 2000, Overland had a couple of great teams in the mid 1990s, and Smoky Hill had a dominant run, winning four big-school titles between 2001-07. And I would put Broomfield right up there with those squads.
One thing all of those teams had in common was a great coach. Horizon was led by Art Drotar, Bruce Brown was the Overland coach and Danny Winsor headed the Buffaloes during their glory days. All three coaching legends in their time.
And the Eagles' Jim Davidson is arguably even more accomplished then those three.
Despite his accomplishments, Davidson remained humble after leading Broomfield to its sixth boys championship under his watch, wanting to thank the school for the opportunity to coach there rather than to take any credit for himself.
"I feel very blessed that I was chosen to work at Broomfield High School and that I get to work with these kids and these coaches," said Davidson, who has also led the Eagles girls to a state title. "I'm very lucky."
Great soccer season for local teams
While Broomfield cemented itself as an all-time great team this season, the BoCoPreps area established itself as the unquestionable leader of high school soccer in the state.
Not counting the Eagles, three teams from the area won at least one playoff game in the 5A tournament, with Fairview, Boulder and Legacy all advancing out of the opening round. Boulder knocked out Legacy in round two, and then Fairview topped the rival Panthers to reach the semifinals.
And in 4A, five area teams qualified for the tournament, and Longmont, Niwot and Skyline won at least one game. In 3A, Jefferson Academy and Peak to Peak also advanced out of the first round, with the Pumas making it all the way to the quarterfinals.
It was a great year on the pitch for local teams overall.
Heading off a problem?
On thing to keep an eye on that may impact high school soccer down the road was the U.S. Soccer Federation's decision last week to either ban or limit players from heading the ball depending on their age.
Under the new guidelines, children 10 years or under will no longer be allowed to head the ball in games or practice, and players ages 11 to 13 can only do it during practice and not in games.
The new guidelines came in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by parents and players seeking rule changes preventing head injuries in U.S. District Court in California last year.
According to the New York Times, more high school soccer players suffered concussions (50,000) than athletes in wrestling, basketball, baseball and softball combined in 2010.
Critics of the decision say it will slow the development of players, while proponents say it will make for better players as they will have to become more skilled using their feet.
There's no question that the header is a well utilized weapon in high school soccer — Broomfield's Justin Hamm was particularly effective with it this season. While there is no talk of banning it at the prep level at this time, it's easy to see it being put on the table as more studies into how repeated head trauma affects athletes' long-term health are completed.
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