In prep sports like football, basketball, baseball, track and field and even swimming, state season and career records are well kept and official, giving players clear numbers to shoot for.
That’s not the case across the entire landscape of high school athletics in the Mountain State, and it’s a problem Steve Edwards from Nitro is attempting to alleviate.
For the last two years, Edwards has spearheaded an effort to collect both boys and girls soccer data from schools around the state, a process that has been slow and difficult.
“I started looking around and noticed there were no statistics and no record book nowhere,” Edwards said. “I looked at a bunch of newspaper articles from around the state saying their player was a record breaker, and after looking, there are inconsistencies. So on my own time I’ve used MaxPreps, newspaper articles and athletic websites to try and get as many numbers as I can.”
Edwards is trying to paint a much clearer picture for the history of West Virginia soccer, adopted by the Secondary School Activities Commission for the boys in 1988 and the girls in 1995. He is collecting statistics for season and career goal totals, assists, points, saves, goals-against average and shutouts as well as season numbers for teams.
The goal (no pun intended) is to gather numbers dating back to the sport’s official inception, though Edwards admits that the process has been and will be a long one and that cooperation hasn’t always come easily.
“There’s a lot of stuff still missing and sometimes you can’t get current head coaches to submit their scores to the head coaches soccer association, much less send stats,” Edwards said. “Sometimes, things are going to fall through the cracks.”
Edwards, an admitted statistics junkie, has taken his passion project to the West Virginia High School Soccer Coaches Association and presented his findings and plan moving forward at a meeting in February.
The goal is to keep compiling numbers until March 31, 2021, when Edwards hopes to stamp and seal the book, submitting it to the SSAC to make it official.
“All the coaches gave me their blessing and there was interest in what I was doing,” Edwards said. “Information has been given to current coaches involved with the coaches association and there have been emails sent trying to establish the record book. At the end of the next two-year period, we will take a look at it again, make sure it looks good and hopefully we will feel confident enough to close the book. At some point, I want to submit it to the SSAC and establish something official. But there really is no precedent on how to do this.”
Edwards hopes that with some publicity and word of mouth, numbers will start coming in a bit more consistently. He has reached out to current and past coaches and athletic directors and plans to continue the endeavor.
To submit numbers or provide information to Edwards and his cause, reach him by email at email@example.com.