Local News

Principal: Vicious Pine Forest soccer hit is a 'teachable moment'

Posted April 14, 2016
Updated April 15, 2016

— The video of a vicious hit by a Cumberland County high school soccer goalie has gone viral, but school leaders said Thursday, they hope the incident can be a learning experience.

On April 7, the Pine Forest High School girls soccer team traveled to play the Patriots of Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines.

At the end of the game, as Pine Forest High School was about to lose its first game of the season, YouTube video shows Pine Forest goalkeeper, Cassie Sturtz, leap off her feet and tackle Pinecrest player Riley Barrett.

Barrett lay on the field for a moment before being able to walk off on her own.

Bob Christina, principal of Pinecrest, said Barrett is now back at school.

"She's not missing any school, maybe missing some games, but not missing nay school," he said.

School officials said Barrett suffered a concussion as a result of the collision.

Sturtz was suspended for two games, which is NCHSAA standard for an athlete ejected from play. The school is disciplining Sturtz further, though Principal David Culbreth declined to provide WRAL additional details.

Christina said Sturtz is working with her parents and the school to issue an apology to Barrett.

"And doing it in a way that's going to teach good sportsmanship and show remorse as well, so it is going in that direction," Christina said.

Posts on social media have called for Sturtz, a junior, to be banned from ever playing soccer again in high school.

But both principals say they see this as a learning experience.

"So, for young people, it is definitely not easy," Christina said. "You see yourself in professional sports. We have seen it in NFL playoffs, we have seen people lose their cool. It can happen at any level and it is a good lesson to learn to keep yourself in check."

Culbreth said he thought the game was rough and emotionally charged. He said Sturtz never showed poor sportsmanship before, and she will not be kicked off the soccer team.

"We will put it behind us," Culbreth said. "That is what we do with kids. This is something that has not happened before with this student. This is a teachable moment."

Culbreth said Sturtz is "a good kid."


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  • Lee Howell Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    This girl has no idea how close she came to breaking her own neck and causing herself harm. Yes, this is a teaching moment but I feel that this type of behavior warrants more than just an apology. I agree that she should be banned from playing soccer for at least one year and possibly enroll in some anger management issues. If the school doesn't do it the parents should.
    I played numerous sports in high school and there were several times I was beyond frustrated on the field but I never resorted to any type of cheap shot like this.
    The damage is already done. If she was good enough to play in college many schools will now look elsewhere on their recruiting trails.

  • Fanny Chmelar Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    Despite the lack of their proofreading, you can get the gist of the story.

    100% the coach's fault, compounded by the principals' reaction. Discipline starts at the top of the chain of command - and the player lost her temper over the score and got violent under the coach's watch.

    The coach should inspire for all-around greatness, not just 'winning'. Learning to deal with disappointment in yourself and others is paramount in coaching.

    Sad that they bungled a 'teachable moment' by pointing to an apology/showing remorse as teaching good sportsmanship. The problem isn't either - it's self-discipline and pride, and they completely let her down.

    I agree - don't punish academically, keep her out a few games, and fix the issue: the coach's improper coaching techniques and the principals' misunderstanding of what happened.

  • Clif Bardwell Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    She simply forgot what version of football she was playing. :-)

  • Scott Thomas Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    This is a teachable moment. The girl who football tackled the opposing player should be taught that this is soccer, not MMA, and should be kicked off the team. The NC HS Athletic Association should be investigating this

  • Paul Hayeze Apr 15, 2016
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    "Christina said Sturtz is working with her parents and the school to issue an apology to Barrett"....Let's see this happened on April 7th and she is still "working" on her apology?.....

  • Jj Parker Apr 15, 2016
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    She needs to be banned from playing for a year and since the league isn't going to do it. The parents should.

  • Sean Creasy Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    So here is a prime example of how kids today are taught to act when things aren't going the way they think they should. Maybe if her coach had given her a participation trophy she wouldn't have taken losing so badly... This also reflects directly on how the coach views "good sportsman" conduct.

  • Doug Bradley Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    No coach, there's no way this girl is a "good kid." Why she wasn't immediately kicked off the team mystifies me. And she hasn't even apologized yet??