MO Soccer Blog

MO Soccer Blog

Girls PostSeason#1

by Admin on 05/17/22

After two days and 123 games, the girls playoff season is rolling along and quickly reaching the end with quarterfinals scheduled in 11 days (May 28) and the final four a week after that (June 3-4). Hopefully the weather holds out and games can stay on schedule, but it would seem that most districts chose to play early (68 games Saturday and 55 on Monday) in case the spring storms do pop up. Good choice so far!

Tonight’s schedule is also heavy with mostly district semifinals in play. 30 games tonight, 17 Wednesday, 16 Thursday and 1 set for Friday means that we should have our quarterfinalists set by the weekend in all four classes.

So far, it’s been mostly status quo based on seeding and Missouri Power Rankings order. Both the seedings and MPR have been 108/123 (88%) in correctly predicting the winners (even though not all the games were the same).

One thing that the MPR has shown over the past few years is that games with teams within .50 of each other are at higher risk of upsets than those beyond .51 difference. The boys tournament reiterated this component multiple times last fall. A full list of our final MPR scores can be found at our website:

Everyone loves an upset (unless, of course, your team is the one being upset) and we’ve had three notable ones so far. The biggest in MPR discrepancy and by seeding was in last night’s Class 4, District 6 match between #2 Grain Valley (19th in Class 4) and #7 Blue Springs (57th in Class 4). Blue Springs pulled the 3-2 upset win on Blue Springs South turf and currently owns the biggest upset by point differential (1.45) of any of the 15 so far.

The other two upsets weren’t as big in point discrepancy, but certainly were significant as Class 3 #28 Webster Groves started the tournament with a 1-0 2OT decision over #9 John Burroughs Saturday in the Class 3, District 3 4-5 game. Several interesting points to take from this one with the biggest being Burroughs getting eliminated in game one at Class 3 after winning the Class 1 title last season. In an interesting twist, the Bombers boys squad were the upset kings of Class 4 in the fall as they reached the Final Four by virtue of several shockers over Class 4 powerhouses.

Webster Groves, on the other hand, had fallen on hard times after winning the 2017 state title with a 24-1 record. Since then, the Statesmen had gone over .500 just once and posted a 31-41-1 mark, including 5-11 this year, but WG plays in one of the toughest areas in STL and had lost seven one goal games this year - three in OT scenarios.

The final upset outside the .50 range actually came in Class 1, District 2 where STEAM Academy (#17) eliminated Cardinal Ritter (#13) 1-0. Ritter had a +.83 in points. STEAM will look to continue its run against top-seeded Metro (#11), but will again have to pull an upset as the two are .92 apart.

One other upset to note that was within the parameters of an “upset alert” but certainly will have ramifications going forward was Westminster’s Christian (Class 2 #13) ousting of overall MPR #1 Clayton 1-0 Monday night. MICDS is the #1 seed in that district and #7 in MPR.

Quick Class Notes:

Class 1 - Based on the “.50” theory, eight of the 22 teams would be in contention to win the state title. Villa Duchesne is #1 with a 3.20 mark and Mid-Buchanan is at 8 with a 2.72. So far, only #5 Lutheran St. Charles has been eliminated as they fell 2-0 to #3 Whitfield Monday in the state’s toughest Class1 district. Whitfield and Villa play in that district’s final. #4 Greenwood looks to have the clearest path to the final four based on the potential Laquey matchup in the quarters. Greenwood knocked off the Hornets 4-1 earlier. In District 8 Bishop LeBlond (6) and Mid-Buchanan (8) will likely meet up in the final. LeBlond won the first match 3-2.

Class 2 - 16 Teams are separated from the top and within .50 of each other in Class 2. As mentioned, #1 Clayton is out, leaving #2 Perryville, #3 Orchard Farm, #4 Harrisonville, #5 Father Tolton and #6 St. Pius (KC) as the front runners. Perryville is the #2 seed behind #8 Fredericktown (the two tied earlier 0-0) in District 1, Orchard Farm will likely have a finals match with #9 St. Charles, Tolton and #11 Southern Boone should square off in a District 6 final, while Pius and Harrisonville look to have easier routes.

Class 3 - All eyes are on a potential quarterfinal between #1 (and defending champ) Ft. Zumwalt South and #2 Parkway West - the two teams who have traded the #1 spot most of the year in the class, but each has some tricky obstacles to overcome first. #7 Duchesne is only a few years removed from a dominant run in the small schools with 5 titles and a third place, but maybe more importantly only has two losses this year - both to Class 4 power St. Dominic. Parkway West has upstart Webster Groves first in a semi and then will have to deal with the winner of #5 Ladue and #12 Visitation in the finals. The state’s #3 squad Glendale will also have a regional rival to tussle with in the finals as perennial state qualifier Springfield Catholic awaits. The Irish are ranked 13th and have three losses - just as Glendale does. #4 Smithville and #6 Platte County meet at Van Horn in the District 8 final with identical 22-3 records. Smithville won the first match 1-0 and only .08 separate the two on the year. Capital City (#10) and Smith-Cotton (#11) are the favorites to get to the District 7 final, but Pembroke Hill (19) and St. Michael’s (24) could make things interesting in the semis. Union (#8) has been a final four regular over the years but will have a strong test with last year's Class 2 winner Ursuline (16) and Rockwood Summit (20) and Pacific (21) in that district.

Class 4 - Despite finishing the season undefeated, Liberty North fell from the top MPR spot to Cor Jesu in the last rankings. Cor Jesu (#1) is only a 3 seed in a demanding district that includes top seed Nerinx Hall (#3), 2nd seed Lafayette (#4) and arguably the state’s most heralded girls program over the years, St. Joseph’s Academy (#6). SJA knocked out #7 Eureka 3-1 in the 4/5 game earlier. District 2 should be an epic battle, with the winner/survivor getting either Oakville (22) or Jackson (24) in a quarter. As mentioned, Liberty North (2) is 19-0 and will face city rival Liberty (29) in the District 8 final. #5 Lee’s Summit West has a tough challenge in escaping District 7 as Lee’s Summit (9) and St. Teresa’s (15) await after another local game against Lee’s Summit North (30). Two-time defending champ St. Dominic (8) and the winner of Francis Howell (10) and Liberty (Wentzville) (11) appear to be on a collision course in District 4.

Spring Blog #4 Women in Coaching, District Seed Assist and Field Info

by Admin on 04/29/22

Blog #4 - Women in Coaching, District Seeding Assist and Field Types and Preferences

Item 1: Recently brought to our attention…Missouri has an up and coming coaches association to empower high school female coaches in our state and our male advocates. This is for coaches of any sport. We would love to have a good representation from our Missouri soccer community!

MIAAA Women's Coaches Association Mission Statement:
Our mission is to support female high school coaches in Missouri by creating a strong, inclusive network that empowers, educates and develops female coaches throughout their careers, to retain and grow the number of women in sports.

Become a member and learn more information here:

Item 2: Starting on Monday we will be releasing a “District Seeding Assist” page for the girls season. We will likely just post it for the next two weeks until district seedings are completed, but we thought this might be a useful guide for coaches in districts where many don’t play each other. Unfortunately MSHSAA doesn’t release district (and class) assignments until the season has already started, which doesn’t always allow for head-to-head results (the #1 factor in determining district seeding, but often a complicated task if multiple teams are involved). MSHSAA has to wait to see which programs will be fielding teams for the season ahead and that often takes a few weeks into the season…this spring there have already been a few that started but won’t be playing in the postseason. This obviously affects district and class arrangements, so we hoped that by using Missouri Power Ranking numbers and dividing them within districts, coaches could get a better feel for how to seed when the time comes. Hopefully, this is a useful guide as it is not intended to be the ONLY or dominant factor in deciding district seeding. The coaches ultimately decide, but ideally this will help with that task. Can’t hurt to try and see how it goes!

Item 3:    Ah, Spring in Missouri…where the weather often is as much a factor as anything with regards to having a quality season. As usual, this spring’s wet and often times chaotic weather has challenged and changed many practice and game schedules.  Since the girls season is essentially two weeks shorter (though not by days) due to Spring Breaks, Proms, Graduations, etc., the weather often plays havoc on teams that end up playing games in less than ideal circumstances or losing them to time/schedule conflicts. Often, girls teams end up playing a lot of games in a small amount of time (especially compared to the boys season where weather isn’t usually as much of a factor until later), which can lead to extra injuries and a diminished level of play.
    One way MO schools have adapted to inclement weather/field situations is the increased use of artificial surface fields that can handle the extreme conditions better and allow for matches to be played where natural grass surfaces ones could not. We thought it would be interesting to see what coaches thought about field preferences and what the state looks like in a snapshot of field surfaces. Obviously, these numbers would have looked far different 10-15 years ago with the increased use of multi-sport turf fields at schools being more of a factor. While many would argue that the availability and implementation of multi-use fields is a good thing for ease of maintenance and MO weather concerns, the soccer community worldwide isn’t generally a proponent of the artificial surfaces and even training at the higher levels is preferred (and almost always done) on a natural surface.

In any case, here’s what we found:

What kind of field does your school play on?
89 (61%) play on turf
45 (31%) play on grass
8 (2%) have both

The field your school plays on is:
95 (66%) play on some form of shared field (mostly football, but other sports as well)
45 (31%) play on a soccer specific field

Does your field have lights?
127 (88%) YES
17 (12%) NO

If given the choice, what would you as a coach choose for the surface of your field?
69 (48%) said artificial turf (with several varieties of soccer specific answers preferred)
64 (44%) preferred natural grass
11 (8%) had no preference

2022 Survey Responses Part 3 - Classifications/Postseason

by Admin on 04/11/22

Blog #3 -Classifications
 Before we begin...the first Missouri Power Rankings will be out next Monday (4-18). Also, we sadly need to address the recent loss of a Soccer Champion of the Game, Steve "Ole" Olson. Ole was a tireless contributor and supporter of the game of soccer and will be missed. His support over the years has helped bridge the high school/club/pro ranks like no other in MO. Our condolences and thanks for his efforts go to his family and friends.

    Now that the girls classifications and district notifications have been done, we know how the spring season is mapped out once we get to the playoffs in May. However, the debate on how coaches would like to see the postseason tournament played out is still a muddied topic amongst coaches. Twenty different responses came from the question, “With regards to the playoff system, which would you prefer?” Many of them were offshoots or combinations of the possible answer choices, but one thing can certainly be sure - a majority coaches couldn’t decide on what they think is best for a “fair and equal” playoff system.

The results:
42 (29%) favor the current MSHSAA system of using the Championship Factor for private schools only and using a regional base location of which teams will eventually represent the final four
26 (18%) wanted to keep the MSHSAA system, BUT seed the 8 district winners for the playoffs
24 (17%) wanted to use a 3-year Missouri Power Rankings (MPR) model AND seed the 8 district winner
21 (15%) wanted to use the 3-year MPR but keep the playoffs regional based (as is now)
11 (8%) wanted to return back to the 1.35 multiplier for private schools that was used for roughly 20 years prior to 2020

The remaining 13% were made up of a different combo of suggestions.

One thing for certain is that MSHSAA’s Championship Factor, in only its third year (two for girls) is going to take some time to see how it impacts the sport as it is intended. Again, a committee of mostly private school admins came up with the plan as a way to answer the concerns that private schools have advantages over public schools when it comes to competition. Many believe that a 6-year window (as is currently used) is too long and “punishes” private schools too harshly, while others argue that the 6-year window must be used in order to gain a significant feel for how strong programs are. There is also a group out there who think the Championship Factor should be used for ALL schools (public and private) in order to level the playing fields.

A LOT to process here - the biggest is that while the MPR is a relatively new and seemingly accurate representation of the strength of teams, this would also require MSHSAA to want to change focus and be open to discussing a way to classify teams based on recent success, which may be a significant departure from the aims of the state’s governing body. Regional representation has always been a big factor in the postseason tournament and it still could be with MPR being used, but it would also mean MSHSAA would need to embrace some outside ideas.

Coaches want a level playing field - regardless of public/private, size, etc. There are many schools large in number who could not compete at a higher level, even with a significant enrollment advantage, and others who do quite well with a smaller enrollment. Finding a consistent “fair” is always going to be a challenge with a state such as ours that has many geographic, academic and financial layers to decipher and likely to be a significant discussion for years to come - or at least until we give the new system time to play out.

2022 Survey Responses Part 2 - Overtimes

by Admin on 03/15/22

We continue the findings from our coaches survey with a deeper dive into one of the most controversial topics that always seem to at the forefront of MSHSAA Advisory Board meetings each year.

The perennial question - what to do with deadlocked games at the end of regulation? This has been discussed (and cussed) for many years throughout MO and can almost always be counted on to be brought up with the coaches every year for “passionate” discussion. Historically, MO has tried many different approaches over the years before deciding on the current format of two sudden victory 10-minute OT’s and then Penalties in the late 90’s/early 2000s. Despite it being the rule for years, many still disagree with it and seek to have it changed - with no success - since.
    Many believe the soccer “tie”is just part of the game. Many coaches don’t want to play OT unless it’s a conference game because of the possibility of later nights, several games in the week/extra wear and tear, etc. Others argue that playing the OT’s (and potential PK’s) are good preparation for the post-season due to not being able to create those kind of experiences for players anywhere but in a game-like situation.
    Ultimately, the one factor that seems to resurface during every discussion that seems to have the most weight (even over the soccer “purists” who argue for draws) is the question of - What do the players most likely want? With little exception, the players want a result - win or lose - after playing a match. It’s obviously a significant culture difference from the rest of the world (even in the local club environments where draws are more likely to be an unacceptable result), but the argument from the player’s perspective is that high school teams/players DO want to have a result. The OT and PK endings are some of the most memorable in any season - for fans and players alike - and players have long been advocates for returning to school the next day to talk about a more-than-normal exciting ending with peers, faculty, etc. that are more in line with other sports that all have “a winner.” As mentioned above, many coaches also gain valuable insight into preparing for those situations in the postseason, which often replicate the intensity of a mid-season OT match, or at least the closest thing to it.
    The Advisory Boards over the years have stuck to that premise - for better or worse. Many years ago coaches were given the option to choose OT preferences prior to individual games, which frankly was a disaster. Even if agreeing to a certain format (5-min OT, 10-min OT’s, straight to PK’s, you name it), many coaches weren’t recording results accordingly and if coaches couldn’t agree, then the game was played under default OT rules. MSHSAA, understandably, ended that after a short period and this has led to the current rule.
    So, obviously, the question was posed to the membership - what do coaches really want with OT scenarios? The results (a reminder that 145 responded):
    For All Regular Season Games
58 (40%) like the current system
52 (36%) would rather see no OT/PK’s
18 (12.4%) OTs, but NO PK’s
8 (5.5%) NO OT, straight to PKs
    As expected, a heavy split, but one thing to gain from this…nearly 75% want some kind of result (methods on getting thereto that point vary) during the regular season. The current method, while not universally liked, does seem to win out here…and if players were polled, the guess is that most would likely align with the current MSHSAA format.
    For all Post Season Games
91 (63%) prefer the current method of 2x15 sudden victory OT’s and then PKs
33 (23%) want 2x10 OT and then PK’s (regular season method)
17 (12%) want to continue playing OT’s until a winner is determined. NO PK’s.
2% had other versions…
    While not a perfect way to conclude a postseason game (as evidenced by the different variations included), the current MSHSAA method does seem to have the most backing.
    While this topic is likely to resurface again (and again…and again…), for now, it would seem that a slight majority are on board with how things are currently done. The opposite kind of results (the mercy rule) has been tweaked over the past few years (from 10 goal differential to 8 after a half), so there is always the potential for changes in the OT procedures although based on the survey, most don’t want the change.

    Coming in the days ahead…more results from the survey, including classifications, season length, improvements to the game (and our association!) and much more!

Spring is here (almost...)!

by Admin on 03/09/22

We start the 2022 year with fresh hopes of a mild Spring and plenty of good soccer stories and content ahead for all.

Recently, we sent a survey out to the membership asking for thoughts and comments on several different topics affecting MO high school soccer and will be spending the next few weeks highlighting the responses. Several of the topics are quite detailed (as in...many people have many strong feelings), so we will try to break the material down into manageable sections for the readers out there.

Today, an intro into the demographics that responded. As of now we have over 250 members in our association and will likely push past 300 this year once the girls season gets into full swing. Our survey closed Feb. 28 and we had nearly 60% of the membership complete it. Some numbers, for perspective, so that when we discuss the topics, we can see that for the most part we had a representative number of different locations, school sizes, experience, etc.

**The intent of the survey was for an open discussion on topics. Coaches were allowed to submit anonymously or leave an email/name to their responses (56/145 (39%) signed a name/email). What we have found is that each geographic region, class size, school setting, etc. pose different issues/benefits and trying to find what's "best" for all is an extremely difficult task in a state with so many factors involved. This is often the task that MSHSAA is facing when trying to decide the best path for soccer, as well as other activities offered.**

145 surveys received
129 from head coaches (89%)
85 Coach both Boys and Girls (59%)
32 Boys only (22%)
26 Girls only (18%)
123 work within the school district (85%)
115 Public School coaches (79%)**
29 Private School coaches (20%)**
**This is fairly close to the number of public vs. private schools playing soccer)

 Based on 2021 Classifications:
47 Class 4 (32%)
38 Class 3 (26%)
21 Class 2 (21%)
14 Class 1 (10%)
14 Multi-class - boys/girls in different classes (10%)

55 in STL (38%)
33 in KC (23%)
21 in SW (15%)
20 in Central (14%)
7 in SE (5%)
4 in NW (3%)
*Another handful who identified as rural/other areas

Coming up...some "hot" topics and the memberships thoughts...Overtimes, Classification System, season length, uniform rules, media, updating the website and much more!

NOTE: Comments are always welcome. Apologies for any that were missed/overlooked last fall as there is a setting that doesn't allow for immediate posting without approval, something we weren't aware of for most of last fall's blog posts.