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Somerville High soccer opens season amid controversy

Posted by Jarret Bencks  September 9, 2013 06:58 PM

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Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Head boys' varsity coach George Scarpelli talks to his team at halftime, when the score was tied, 1-1.

SOMERVILLE -- The opening games for Somerville High School's boys' soccer teams Monday occurred like any other high school sporting event, with the recent cloud from the alleged rape of a player in the program by teammates unnoticeable in the stands or on the pitch.

"We've been doing so much lately that has had nothing to do with playing the game," head coach George Scarpelli said after the varsity game. "I think it was nice for them to get out there. Inside those lines, nothing bothers them."

A few dozen parents and students gathered in small groups that dotted the bleachers at Dilboy Stadium, some watching the action intensely, some chatting and laughing as Somerville's varsity team topped Brockton, 3-1. At an adjacent field, the junior varsity team played in front of a smaller gathering.

Ken Brociner marched up and down the sidelines, cheering on his son and the rest of the varsity team. He said he didn't have any safety concerns regarding the team, and he was proud of the way players and coaches have handled the situation.

"None of these kids had anything to do with it, this is just a great team with a great group of coaches," he said.

One parent, who declined to be named, said she was initially outraged when she learned of the alleged rape, but after attending a meeting held by the school and city, she felt the camp had been supervised closely, and that the school had handled the situation as well as it could.

"Everybody is obviously concerned with the young men who have been hurt," she said. "But the school, the mayor, the police ... I don't think they could have done a better job."

Scarpelli said he didn't talk with his team before the game about the alleged rape of a junior varsity player at a team-building retreat in Western Massachusetts less than three weeks ago, but he has made it a point to discuss it individually with players.

"The situation is difficult for everyone," Scarpelli said. "They don't want it to define this team. They want the end result to define them."

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.


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