Soccer players show their toughness in pouring Los Angeles rain

Harvard-Westlake High girls' soccer player Vicky Pugh had never experienced hydroplaning on a soccer field until Monday night's downpour against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in Studio City left the Wolverines' all-weather field more suitable for ducks than humans because of giant puddles.

"She got tackled and skidded 20 feet," coach Richard Simms said. "She stood up and said, 'I can't see' because there was so much water in her eyes."

Don't ever say fútbol players aren't as tough as football players after several teams didn't blink playing in extreme weather in Southern California on Monday night, something that rarely happens in drought-stricken California.

Notre Dame athletic director Alec Moss was at the boys' game on his campus and asked the coaches and officials at halftime, "Are we safe to play?"

The answer was yes. Notre Dame won the girls' game but lost the boys' game. Both games were played on all-weather fields that had trouble draining properly because of the rain's intensity.

Simms thought he was well prepared for the conditions, dressing in full rain gear, along with a parka. Except the rain came in sideways because of the wind.

"If you were outside, you got soaked," he said.

The secret to winning a soccer game in the rain is to keep the ball in the air. The ball doesn't doesn't move on the ground very well.

"I think it was a fun experience for a little while," Simms said. "It was a mess."

El Camino Real played Taft in a boys' game on a soaked all-weather field in the Sepulveda basin. Junior Anthony Villa of El Camino Real might be able to tell college recruiters that he's a true mudder after scoring three goals in a 5-3 victory. He lost a potential fourth goal when his shot just stopped in the middle of a puddle.

"Half the field was standing in water," coach Ian Kogan said.

Kudos to the officials who endured wearing no head covering.

"We'll play in any weather," said Birmingham coach EB Madha, who watched the El Camino Real-Taft game.

Madha might be the smartest coach of all. He purchased new parkas for all his players this season. Except they can't wear them during a game.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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