For the past year, the Cosmos soccer team has been dipping into college ranks to man its franchise, which, of course, has the colleges up in arms. Now the entire North American Soccer League is going after the high schoolers, which will further enrage the colleges. In the recent draft, 16 high school seniors were picked, including the best prep player in the country, Perry Van Der Beck, a midfielder from Aquinas High in St. Louis. After maneuvering, Tampa Bay got him in the third round.
If it turns out the high school draftees are not good enough to make the pros, they still will retain their college eligibility, assuming they follow NCAA rules. But in this country, where soccer proficiency has a long way to go, it can be safely assumed that a lot of the best high school players can make it in the pros. That hurts college soccer.
Better that the NASL adopt a procedure more like pro basketball's and pro football's, which although not perfect, does enable both college and professional interests to prosper.
To try to get the players more interested in the often dreary season-ending Pro Bowl, the NFL not only jumped the winner's share from $2,500 to $5,000 but also agreed to pay expenses for wives. There then ensued a discussion over whether the league should also pay the bills for girl friends. Ram Linebacker Isiah Robertson argued that his girl friend means more to him than wives do to most players.
The NFL certainly had no interest in pursuing that allegation, but it did decide that girl friends, however much loved, were not eligible. At which Robertson sniffed that if he had known that, why, he wouldn't have brought her. This shows, of course, how easy it is—contrary to popular belief—to put a dollar value on an emotional relationship.
HONK IF YOU LOVE PENNSYLVANIA
Southeastern Pennsylvania has become the In place for tens of thousands of Canada geese that once only stopped off there en route to Maryland, Delaware and the Carolinas. Now the geese have taken up winter residence. This is because farmers are planting more fall crops, and the bountiful food supply makes the longer trip south unnecessary.
Everyone is furious because—as tourists sometimes do—the visitors are taking over the place and making a mess. People say the birds pollute the water, foul the beaches, pull up the farmers' wheat and do unspeakable things on the golf courses. In French Creek State Park there's no more swimming, partly because of what the geese have done to the water and beaches. The assistant director of a small hospital that uses reservoir water says, "Wouldn't you be concerned about a flock of a thousand geese defecating in your drinking supply?"
A state official says there are 60% more geese in the area than there were six years ago. As many as 50,000 geese at a time now come to Chester County's Octoraro Reservoir and stay and stay and stay.