Ashley Yudin guided Davis boys soccer to six Sac-Joaquin Section titles.

Prep notes: Field decline hastens Yudin's retirement as Davis soccer coach

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5C

Disappointment with how his beloved soccer field was allowed to deteriorate during the summer led to Ashley Yudin's decision to resign following 19 seasons and much success as the Davis High School boys coach.

"I knew this was going to be my last year, and I was planning on making an announcement as the season progressed," Yudin said. "But when the condition of the field nose-dived, I just felt it was time to let somebody else be the coach. I'm 64. It's time."

Davis athletic director Dennis Foster said veteran junior varsity coach Alex Park will be the interim varsity coach this season and former varsity assistant coach Jason dal Porto will become the interim JV coach.

Yudin, a Texas native who was a longtime research associate at UC Davis, is a coaching icon in the Davis soccer community.

His Davis boys teams earned six Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships, including last fall's 5-3 penalty-kick win over rival Jesuit. He also coached the Davis girls program from 1993 to 1998.

But when Yudin Field was temporarily closed Aug. 1 after much of the grass had died because of irrigation problems and nearby construction, Yudin said it was time to move his retirement up a season.

"It was just the perfect storm as far as things that could go wrong," Yudin said. " … Watching that field die was heartbreaking to me."

In the short term, while school district crews work to try to make Yudin Field playable again, Foster says the boys team will practice off campus at Nugget Field in East Davis. Some games may be played at the football stadium, which has synthetic turf.

Yudin, who started his career at Davis High in 1986 as an assistant girls coach, says he will continue to coach youth teams while serving as director of coaching of the Davis Legacy Soccer Club.

Girls up, boys down – Girls' participation in high school sports continues to grow in California, but boys' participation has declined for the first time since 2003, according to the latest CIF sports participation survey.

Girls' participation climbed 1.4 percent from 304,696 in 2011 to 308,879 in 2012. Boys' participation decreased 0.9 percent from 453,037 in 2011 to 448,971 in 2012.

Eleven-man football remains the most popular boys sport with 103,088 participants but has seen a steady decline since reaching its high point of 107,916 in 2007.

Track and field continues to be the top girls sport with 43,727, a decline of 2 percent from 2011 after several years of sizable growth. Soccer is a close second with 43,391 participants, a 1.6 percent increase.

Basketball saw the largest increase for both boys (43,989, up 1.9 percent) and girls (35,133, up 7 percent) among the CIF's top 10 sports.

Track saw the biggest decrease for both boys (54,319, down 6.2 percent) and girls (43,727, down 2 percent).

Wimbley signs – Recent Pleasant Grove graduate Marissa Wimbley, a Bee All-Metro first-team girls basketball selection, has signed an NCAA letter of intent with Hawaii.

The 5-foot-6 point guard's steady play – 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game – helped the Eagles win the Delta River League championship and finish 22-10 overall.

Wimbley also was Pleasant Grove's Female Athlete of the Year for 2011-12 and one of the school's top 15 senior students.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Bill Paterson



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