DCHS soccer

Daviess County’s Hayden Boswell gets control of the ball over Covington Catholic’s Will Harper on Oct. 27, 2021, in the KHSAA Boys Soccer State Tournament semifinals at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington.

The KHSAA mandated dead period for high school sports in Kentucky begins June 25. That means no sports activities of any kind from June 25-July 9 for middle schools and high schools.

For Daviess County boys soccer, its has been in its own down time for the entire month of June.

DC coach Doug Sandifer hasn’t had his team in workout sessions after their select soccer seasons are over in May for the last eight years or so.

“I stopped doing anything in June about eight years ago,” Sandifer said. “Most of the guys finish club season in late May, early June, and we give them June and into July, about six weeks off. That’s what they need. The dead period ends July 9.”

DC will go to camp on July 10, have tryouts July 18-19 and go to Bluegrass Games before the end of July.

Sandifer could remember sitting out at open fields and watching pickup games, and not being sure of the benefits of more time on the field in early summer.

Looking back on the last eight years, it’s difficult to argue with the Panthers’ run of overall success. Daviess County has won eight straight 3rd Region boys soccer championships.

“It’s funny, but all the success we had kicked in about the time we stopped going in June,” Sandifer said. “The kids come back rested, excited to be with the team, excited for the season to start.”

There were times when Sandifer might not look forward to a season starting as much as he should because it didn’t seem like there had been any off time since the last season ended. If Sandifer didn’t feel excited about preseason, then he couldn’t expect the players to be pumped either.

“It was like the season never ended,” he said.

Daviess County has become accustomed to long postseason runs over the last six years. The Panthers reached the KHSAA state semifinals last season with a 22-2-4 record.

Daviess County won the KHSAA state soccer championship in 2016 with a 27-1 record. DC played in the state championship game in 2017 and 2019. In those two seasons DC’s record was a combined 42-7-4.

Sandifer knows every coach has their own methods for handling the offseason, but taking a break seems to work best for the Panthers, at least it has over much of the last decade.

“Some of this I do for my own sanity,” Sandifer said.

“Our soccer players do enough during the season. When we’ve had deep runs and we’re playing into late October, the season ends and a week later a lot of our guys are playing indoors. Then they play club soccer.”

DC has tried to find some balance with a timeframe than can see preseason begin in early July and a season starting in mid-August then run solid for 21/2 months, then the additional play after that stretching from November to the end of May.

Sandifer wondered about the value of being on the field kicking soccer balls several days a week for much of June.

“I don’t see it paying off in late October,” Sandifer said. “Some of our guys will get seven weeks off, go on vacation with your family, go be a kid. Then, maybe they will come back excited and ready for the season.”

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