Goal Keepers Split Playing Time

Katie Erickson, Staff Writer

Competition is high as seniors Jeff Lefcourt and Jack Price compete for playing time on the varsity boys’  soccer team.

The 2 goalies have been splitting time equally on the field.

“We have been splitting time so far and I am not sure if what is going to happen for the rest of the season. The competition has been crazy. Jack played a couple of games at the beginning and then I played a couple of games and now we have been alternating,” said Lefcourt.

Center mid fielder James Keeble said the situation has not caused any rifts among his teammates. “Everybody is really good friends on our team and Jack and Jeff are really good friends, so it doesn’t really cause too much friction,” said Keeble.

Lefcourt thinks coaches should make personal decisions in the best interest of the team. “I leave that up to the coaches. I just work as hard as I can and then hopefully they make the right decision,” he said.

According to Lefcourt, who plays in goal is not important as long as it benefits the squad. “I don’t care who plays as long as we win. Especially since Jack stepped up a lot last year, taking up the starting position after riding the bench when I started sophomore year, so I give him props for that. I don’t want to take all of the time,” said Lefcourt.

Coach Shane Carney believes the competition improves his athletes’ play. “I drive for the team to have competition. Neither one is really secure in the position so they have to work their hardest and do their best to have a chance at the spot.”

“I think we are both working hard, and we are both getting what we deserve. It is literally a game time decision on who will be playing each game. Two minutes before the game, the coach will say Jack looks slow today, Jeff is starting or Jeff is looking slow, Jack is starting,” said Price.

“They are both seniors and have similar speeds and skills sets. They have very similar personalities and are very good leaders. They both deserve the time. Normally, I would want to pick just one goalie if I could but they are so similar about everything that it just works that we rotate so they each get their time to shine,” Carney said.

According to Keeble, Price and Lefcourt take the competition in stride as they remain friends, but still push each other to be the best they can. “They handle each other really well. They don’t fight about it with playing time or anything. They are both evenly matched so it is fun to watch them compete. Everybody knows what is at stake with them, battling for a spot, so we all know that it is hard, but they keep it together pretty well. They do a good job,” said Keepler.

Last year, Lefcourt went to Tilden Preparatory School in downtown Walnut Creek due to an illness. Being a small, private school, Tilden didn’t offer any sports teams, but that didn’t stop Lefcourt from staying in shape. Lefcourt went to the Campolindo practices to maintain his athletic ability as a goalie. “I didn’t get to play soccer my junior year for Campo, which was a bummer, but I’m just really happy that I got to come back this year,” said Lefcourt.

“Junior year, I wasn’t there so Jack played the whole season. Now, we both have a whole season of soccer under our belts so the competition has been really strong this year,” said Lefcourt.

Price was very impressed with how Lefcourt returned the team. “I think he has jumped in really quickly. Sophomore year, he was the man and now he is back,” said Price.

“At the beginning of the year everybody was used to Jack because he played the entire season, so I had to work my way back in there,” said Lefcourt.

According to Carney, eventually 1 goalie will be paying full time, but he is unsure of which one it will be. “Probably at some point later in the season, I will pick one that I will go with into the playoffs, but for the time being they will continue to split time based on whoever is playing better at that time,” Carney said.

According to Carney, the competition between 2 goal keepers is rare. “It regularly happens with different positions. With goalie, it doesn’t happen quite as often. Pretty much, every year I have coached, I have known who the number 1 goalie is going into that year,” said Carney.

Lefcourt has played recreational soccer since 2nd grade and played on the club team, DFC (Diablo Football Club), since sixth grade. Price has played soccer for about 7 years on Eclipse. Both goalies have played on the Campolindo team since their freshman year.

Though it may be harder to earn league or section awards because they only play half of the time, both keepers agree that stats aren’t as important as what is best for the team. “It’s all about the team. It doesn’t really matter about me,” said Price.

The goalies are unsure of whether or not they are going to play soccer in college, so they aren’t too concerned with having to split time in games as college recruits watch. They are leaning towards schools that do not have soccer programs. They both agreed that whichever school they attend, they would still play soccer on a club team.

According to Carney, he uses the same team strategies no matter which athlete he puts in goal. “One weakness that they both have is that they occasionally may make a mental mistake that may cost us a goal, but they are both really able to bounce back once the kick goes off and shake those off. Every game, regardless of who is in, they will make one or two saves that keep us in the game and end with us winning,” he said.

“Jeff is more aggressive and he can get balls in corner kicks easily. Jack is more tentative but he does have a louder voice and he talks to us a bunch. They both have their strengths and weaknesses so they are pretty equal,” said Keeble.

“I think the only difference between Jack and I (sic) is that I have been playing a little bit longer than he has. He works just as hard if not harder than I do. We have been friends since freshman year,” said Lefcourt.