The timing on this stinks, I know, and it’s hardly meant to be a criticism of Redlands High School’s Terrier Athletic Hall of Fame. Something is missing, though.
Only a casual glance down the list of highly-esteemed inductees since its 2002 inaugural year reveals a major discrepancy in a collection of athletes that portends to date back to the 1800s. That’s how old this campus is.
Lots of Hall of Famers. Other than Heather Aldama, a four-time All-CIF, record-setting midfielder/striker on an early 1990s Lady Terrier soccer side, there are none of that sport’s elite in the school’s Hall of Fame.
It’s almost as if selectors have gone out of their way not to include soccer players.
Hall of Fame committee members are volunteers poring over lots of candidates and plenty of data — more than a century’s worth. It’s worth noting that their website is open to any nominations.
Leaving soccer’s high-achieving success out of the Terrier Hall of Fame is like leaving Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Mariah Carey out after you’ve put Sinatra, Elvis, Streisand and Whitney Houston into a Singer’s Hall of Fame.
Truth is, if there are basketball guys on a committee, there’ll tend to be basketball guys picked. Right?
Aquatics? Football? Track? We get it. Those sports had representation at committee.
But the Terriers produced back-to-back CIF boys’ soccer championships in 1992 and 1993, plus four other trips to the CIF semifinals. Plus, they had a playoff run that stretched from 1980 to nearly 2000. It’s an absolute dynasty.
Mark Naftzger was CIF Player of the Year in 1992. Cesar Figueroa netted the goal that produced a 1-0 CIF Division 1 title win over Fontana in 1993 against a Steeler side that included future pro Ante Razov, the CIF Division 1 Player of the Year in 1991.
World class Landon Donovan, an Olympian, World Cupper and multiple MSL Honda Player of the Year, is noticeably absent from this lineup of Hall of Famers.
Said Hank Mercado, one of the Hall’s top officials, “One of our rules is you’ve got to be a Redlands High graduate.”
On that note, Donovan doesn’t qualify. He spent one season, an insanely good one, as a Terrier freshman before Redlands East Valley opened the following season.
Folks, those Terrier soccer squads were ultra-talented teams, fully loaded with playmakers, defenders and goalies. Plus, they have been plenty more stars.
One thing you won’t get here is an argument against existing Hall selections, past or present. How do you tell any past inductee that he, or she, doesn’t belong because soccer was more productive?
I’ll say it straight out, though: Since 1920, there’s been one CIF football championship. There’s been a boatload of football players landing in the Hall of Fame.
Since 1990, which is 70 less years than football’s count, there have been two CIF boys’ soccer titles.
For now, it’s not an all-inclusive Hall of Fame. There needs to be soccer committee representation — lots of it.
Timing was bad, though, because last week was Hall of Fame weekend.
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Jesiah Perez’s transfer from Aquinas to Redlands East Valley might have unknowingly spotlighted part of the dispute between Redlands Unified’s best against Redlands Unified’s leadership.
There’s lots to sift through, of course, but here’s the story: Jesiah’s dad, Alfredo, was seeking a landing spot for his son. Did his research and came up with a high API score for Redlands — tops in the county, in fact.
It’s a mind-boggling stat. Redlands is ranked 31st out of 32. We’re not talking football rankings here, folks. Or volleyball. Truth is, it’s teacher’s salary. Throughout the county. They’re paid 31st out of 32 area districts. They’re on the warpath over it.
First in API, 31st in teacher salary. Coaches have been offered 15 percent raises to their stipends.
In the course of doing business with district coaches, though, it comes up — especially since the lion’s share of those coaches are teaching (chemistry, English, social studies, history, math, you name it). They’re off-the-charts angry.
Thirty-first, though? For years, the line in the sand seemed to be that it must be an honor to teach/coach/serve in such a well-rounded and plush school district that offers such a wonderful clientele — not to mention some that aren’t so wonderful.
Sentiment from district leadership: How much is that worth to teachers? Go over and teach/coach/serve in highly troubled Muscupiabe (North San Bernardino) or any other troubled areas for more money. In other words, trade a bigger salary for an easier spot to teach.
You’d counter with, “Well, what makes Redlands so special is the teachers.”
Such an argument has raged on for years.
Thirty-first in salary?
Tops in API?
Perez is a football player, plus participation in soccer and track & field.
“My wife,” said Alfredo Perez, who resides in Grand Terrace, “told me to find the right school district.” Colton? Nearby Riverside North? Not good enough, said Mrs. Perez. Had to be Redlands, especially when the API scores came to light.
As for a coach’s salary, well, it ain’t much compared to the total responsibility. One coach, who is recently married, says he’ll use his entire stipend to buy his newlywed wife the couch she wants after he gets his coaching check.
A couch! Curiously enough, that unnamed coach is not part of the RUSD teacher’s union. It’s too liberal, perhaps. Doesn’t like its overall political stance. Whatever. Still, however, this coach benefits from its negotiation process.
Full disclosure: My wife has taught in RUSD since the 1980s. Truth is, I hear more disenchantment from the coaches/teachers.
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