Harris dealing with girls soccer playing in fall
The opening day of fall sports isn't just a preparation period for coaches and athletes in Bethlehem.
Fred Harris, the athletic director for the Bethlehem Area School District, had more complicated issues to deal with this year as he welcomes his second term of running Freedom's and Liberty's sports programs.
The addition of girls' soccer to the fall has come with trepidation from many and Harris is just the latest AD that has to deal with the new found set of circumstances surrounding the surplus of another fall sport.
"The biggest thing is that we make sure we have enough field space for all our teams to practice," said Harris. "We're using Northeast [middle school] for extra space, but the biggest thing is that we hope there isn't a lot of rain. "That could cause a lot of issues with scheduling."
At Freedom, the one soccer field behind the softball field has been lost thanks to a recurring sinkhole that opened up last spring, but that hasn't been a major issue since there is more space and land at Freedom to operate more teams under these specific circumstances.
BASD stadium is another site that is being used from morning till dawn at this time of year, as football takes place in the morning, followed by band practice midday, along with field hockey in the afternoon capped off by football again at night, as Freedom takes to the turf on certain evenings.
It's all part of the process of being the AD in Bethlehem, but the one aspect of moving girls' soccer to the fall that Harris hopes doesn't become a major issue is the loss of quality for girls' programs.
"With the amount of athletes we have to spread around now, it's been tough," said Harris about girls having to pick between soccer or field hockey since there is a large number of players that used to play both. "We've had a lot of female athletes that had to make tough decisions and the biggest thing that we hoped for is maintaining a quality level of play.
"Both soccer programs had enough players out to field junior varsity programs," Harris said. "So that was good, but we hope that everything will continue to operate smoothly."