Final field day: Jaguar seniors getting one last chance to play

Bill Althaus
Blue Springs South's Khiara Cox, right, tries to get past Blue Springs defender Kirsten Barajas during a 2018 game. Cox will be one of three South seniors who will get to play one final weekend after their 2020 season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blue Springs South High School girls soccer team is going to have one final chance at closure beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday in the 2020 Kansas City High School Showcase at Wyandotte Sporting Fields in Kansas City, Kansas.

Coach Todd Findley’s Jaguars will play Grain Valley at 10 a.m. Thursday and Olathe West at 9 a.m. Friday at the fields at 1500 North 90th Street in KCK. The Jaguars were scheduled to play Warrensburg Friday afternoon, but Findley said Tigers pulled out over COVID-19 health concerns.

“I spoke with Chris Lawson, the former boys soccer coach at Rockhurst High School who is running this tournament, and he is trying to find us an opponent for the second game Friday,” Findley said Tuesday morning.

“Our girls don’t care who they play, they just want to be out with the crew, with their teammates, for one more game. And honestly, I think I am as excited as they are.

“I think the older you get, the more sentimental you get, and I was devastated when the spring sports season was shut down. I thought of our four seniors and how they missed prom, having one final time to say goodbye to their friends and some even missed graduation.

“But this is a way to make up for some of that.”

When he heard about the possibility of a tournament more than a month ago, Findley spoke with South activities director Tim Michael and district activities director Mark Bubalo, to make sure it was OK for his girls to participate.

“We didn’t want to do anything outside of MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) guidelines, and we found out that it was fine,” Findley said. “Our seniors who just graduated have been cleared to come back and play along with all our underclassmen.”

One player who will not be able to participate is all-state forward Brie Severns, The Examiner’s 2019 Girls Soccer Player of the Year who will be a freshman at the University of Kansas this fall.

“Brie is one of the best players in our program’s history and she was just six goals away from breaking our all-time girls scoring record, but she is at Kansas and they are keeping their players on campus,” Findley said.

“Her mom is our booster club president and she and Brie did a lot of work to get our team in this tournament, and I am so disappointed she will not be able to participate.”

While the teams are made up of players from their respective schools, Findley said the tournament was conceived to give players one final chance to step on a soccer field with their teammates.

“They are supplying two tops and we’ve been asked to match up shorts and socks so the players look like a team out there,” Findley said. “I know our girls just want to play, and we’re so thankful for this opportunity.”