Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spokane Shine season to end with disappointment again; Forfeits could mean end of team

The Spokane Shine could be waving farewell at their finale Tuesday at Spokane Falls CC | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
For the second consecutive year, the Spokane Shine season will come to a close amid controversy and disappointment as the team will once again be forfeiting a road trip, though under completely different circumstances. Though they have a home game remaining Tuesday against SRR Issaquah SC, the club will not be making its final road trip to Eugene and Bend over the weekend.

Last year the division championship squad, mired in player depletion and a minimal budget, were denied the opportunity to compete in the WPSL Western Conference tournament in California when management chose to forfeit their place in the postseason, allowing Issaquah SC to take their place.

Even injured Laci Rennaker came to the final practice
This year the team has battled through difficult circumstances, scraping by under a new coach and a significant turnover in players to a younger squad that has led to numerous commitment issues. To that end, the club has been at the bottom of the table since the opening kick and is now ensured, since they will now not play fellow pointless side Bend, to finish dead last in the Northwest Division and with negative points.

Even though player availability has been at issue in recent weeks, it was confirmed the cancellation of the road trip, however, was unrelated and the team continued preparation for the finale with an extra training session Thursday evening at Spokane Falls Community College.

"We are pretty disappointed since we just got back from five away games in a row," said Eugene Metro Azul Director of Coaching Jurgen Ruckaberle. "Lots of traveling, cost, and time consuming. Now we finally get to play at home and have our fans support us and the opponent doesn't show. Very disappointing.

"I understand that stuff happens, but with a bit of planning this could have been prevented. We were notified with a one-liner on Wednesday night. We tried to work with them on Thursday but they finally said no last night. It is very difficult to take the league serious if this continues to happen."

The penalties for forfeiting games, ‘acts of God’ aside, are fairly basic in the WPSL. First, the match is declared a 3-0 victory for the aggrieved team and the club forfeiting receives an additional three-point deduction. By not making the trip to play Eugene Metro Azul and the Bend Timbers, the Shine will have -6 points in the table when they play their finale Tuesday at Spokane Falls Community College.

Financially, each no-show carries a fine of $250 and could result in compensation to the opponent up to $2,5000.

The most significant development is that the cancelled trip could make Tuesday’s finale the last game-ever for the Shine in the WPSL. Part 4 of WPSL Law A14 states that: “A club will be expelled from the league if it accumulates two No-shows within one season.”

Combine that fact with last year’s decision not to play in the postseason, it creates a pattern of non-commitment that could make it extremely difficult for the other teams in the division and league management to forgive and allow the Shine the opportunity to play another season under current management knowing that future forfeits are a possibility.

Note: INWsoccernews will not add the forfeits to the division standings until game time.