Northern Michigan high school soccer game sparks sportsmanship discussion

Soccer player scores 16 goals by halftime

There’s a new high school soccer scoring record in Michigan.

There’s a new high school soccer scoring record in Michigan. A senior playing for Benzie Central High School scored 16 goals in a game that was stopped at halftime with the score being 17-0 against Kingsley High School.

According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association rule book, the mercy rule goes into effect when a team is ahead by eight goals or more anytime after the first half is finished.

Original report: School unhappy after soccer opponent sets record for 16 goals -- by halftime

The game is sparking a debate over sportsmanship in Detroit and surrounding communities.

“There’s no win in this situation,” said John Birg. “You’re either on one side of this or on the other side of it.”

“It’s a tough situation,” said Bob Borowski. ““Is it a team sport? It’s not tennis, it’s not golf, it’s a team sport.”

You don’t have to be a soccer fan to see why this win has people talking.

Borowski runs a baseball organization and weighed in on the conversation. He said the coaches need to make the tough call.

“So it depends on whether or not you want to kind of be true to the sport or are you in it for yourself because the coaches that are in it for themselves do the those things. The coaches that are in it for the players don’t,” he said.

Birg said what happened at that soccer game, as tough as it might have been for opponents Kingsley High School, it’s part of the life lessons he teaches his kids when they play sports.

“It’s part of the game. I mean, life’s about winning and losing and you can’t always be a winner, but you don’t always want to be the loser,” Birg said.

Javier Bautista coaches for Detroit City FC’s professional team and its two youth teams. He said sportsmanship isn’t always straightforward, it’s a balancing act.

“It’s different definitely at the youth level than it is at the professional level because winning takes on a different role at the competitive level,” Bautista said.

When his youth teams are in similar situations and have a solid lead, he gets creative.

“Put the forwards in goal or put them on defense and put the defenders up top, just try and find different ways to get them to still play and still learn while also having a little bit more respect to the opponent,” Bautista said.

Kingsley’s school board said it did receive an apology from Benzie Central’s athletic director and coach.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.