Not Enough Numbers for Football

 On May 6th of 2021, Western Reserve Academy’s administration “suspended” the WRA football program. At the time, the administration’s reasons were the small roster and the opponent’s resulting advantage.

WRA’s football team had a small roster last year of around 22 people. For context, the average high school football team has around 40 players. Eric Valentine, a coach for Linden-McKinley High School, said, “When you’re playing with a roster that size, injuries become a real concern.” Valentine also brought up that small rosters “wear on you mentally” since players are forced to play more, meaning more film-watching for different positions and more practicing. Small rosters also pose the dangers of “freshmen going head to head against seniors,” risking the well-being of younger, weaker and less-skilled players.

Playing football at a school like WRA contains positives as well, and an example includes alumnus Connor Burns ’21 who explains how important football at WRA was for him. He was able to “get out of a bad area and move to an area with little danger and more college recruits.” Burns also firmly believes that a small football team “gets underclassmen prepared to play varsity, so when they become a senior, they will be a solid starter.” Burns loved his time playing football at WRA, and benefited from the program. He now plays NCAA Division II college football.

While Head of School Suzanne Buck’s initial announcement did not indicate a permanent cancellation of the program, the athletic department sold most of the equipment this past summer, and it certainly appears as if football at WRA will not return any time soon.

– Michael Filippelli ’22

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