Kevin Thompson knows with every passing day his opportunity to play soccer this season slips further past him.
Thompson, a West Greene freshman, has the talent, ability and passion to play. Having a team to play for, well, that’s the problem.
West Greene doesn’t have a team. And Waynesburg Central, the team Thompson played for throughout middle school, chose to end its co-op in boys soccer.
Now, the waiting game Thompson has been playing will have an end game Oct. 2. That is when the PIAA Board of Directors will decide if bylaws can be bypassed in Thompson’s situation. West Greene has exhausted all options within the WPIAL.
“He feels abandoned,” said Thompson’s father, Phil Moyers. “I understand the rules perfectly. I’m stuck. I have to wait for the vote. I can’t do anything.”
Moyers and West Greene followed PIAA rules by reaching out to West Greene’s bordering schools and asked if they’d be willing to do a co-op. After both McGuffey and Trinity declined, West Greene finally found a taker in Albert Gallatin. However, Albert Gallatin and West Greene don’t share any borders and PIAA bylaws prevent schools from doing a co-op if they don’t share a common border.
“This is an issue (West Greene) has requested from the board. We have a policy to follow and that’s what we are doing,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi explained. “It is an active appeal.”
But that appeal won’t be heard by the PIAA until the meeting in October. If approved, Albert Gallatin would only have four regular-season games remaining.
“A rural kid was left hanging out to dry without a team,” Moyers said. “I wanted this determined in July but every school we went to came back negatively. That’s what led us to go beyond bordering schools.”
West Greene took the issue to the WPIAL last month but Thompson was declared ineligible to play for Albert Gallatin.
“The WPIAL has no authority to alter the bylaws of the PIAA,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. “The district committee doesn’t have any authority for the PIAA. We acted within the bylaws and confines that we have.”
O’Malley said he encouraged West Greene to appeal to the PIAA.
Thompson has instead taken up the placekicking duties for the Pioneers’ football team to fill his time.
Moyers said he spoke to the PIAA in April and was given no direction. Lombardi questioned why it took until August to reach the WPIAL for a hearing.
“West Greene is not in a position (geographically) where they can ask several schools to do a co-op,” Moyers said. “I did what I could by going to these schools. West Greene did what they could do. All we need is the PIAA’s OK.”