Coach Apologizes for Allowing Soccer Player to Score 16 Goals in Game Against Winless Team

A high school soccer coach has apologized after one of his players scored 16 goals against a winless team during a matchup, the Associated Press reported. Benzie Central coach Chris Batchelder sent a letter on September 30 to officials at Kingsley High School saying that he didn't mean to "humiliate your players or your program" and expressed regret for some remarks.

Kevin Hubbell scored all but one of Benzie Central's 17 goals during their September 29 game against Kingsley, breaking state and national records for most goals in a high school match, the AP reported. Hubbell is one of Michigan's best players and Batchelder has told local news outlets that he knew the athlete was capable of setting records against Kingsley's struggling team.

However, Hubbell's performance sparked an outcry from Kingsley's parents and officials, with some saying his actions were not sportsmanlike.

"It was a player getting hot and I got lost in the opportunity the kid had in front of him," Batchelder said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Soccer Balls on Pitch
After a soccer player scored 16 goals against a winless team in a high school match, the coach of the winning team issued an apology to those at the opposing school. Above, Adidas Conext 21 match balls are seen on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match in Budapest, Hungary, on October 9, 2021. Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

The backlash over Hubbell's performance continued Monday night at a meeting of the Kingsley board. Members didn't take a formal vote, but there was clear support for sending a letter to the Benzie Central district, the superintendent said.

"He was firing them off like a rocket," said Heather Bartelmay, a Kingsley school board member whose son was a goalkeeper for part of the game. "We went over and hugged our boys. That's what was needed. Their hearts were bleeding."

Superintendent Keith Smith, who will draft the board's letter, told The Associated Press that it was a "cheap shot."

"They set out to do it, and they did it," Smith said Tuesday. "It has no place in high school athletics...Moving forward from getting knocked on your face is a great life lesson. But our soccer program is a fledgling program. We only have so many kids."

Kingsley is 0-16 and has scored only seven goals all season, according to game results posted online.

In hindsight, the leader of the Benzie Central district said maybe the game should have been immediately stopped when the Huskies were ahead by eight goals instead of waiting until halftime and allowing more goals to pile up.

Amiee Erfourth said there have been lopsided scores in other sports in the Northwest Conference, sometimes with her school on the losing side.

"It's brought to light a good learning opportunity," said Erfourth, the superintendent. "We are always striving for our students to be the best student-athletes on the field and in school. But we also want to have class and sportsmanship as well."

Kingsley soccer mom Shannon Schoech suggested the school should stop playing Benzie Central in any sport this year.

"We as parents want to be able to tell our boys that not only did their parents and loved ones stand up for them, but their entire community did as well," Schoech told the school board.

Soccer Pitch
Kevin Hubbell scored all but one of Benzie Central’s 17 goals during their September 29 game against Kingsley. Above, heavy rain and snow falls on the pitch prior the German Soccer Cup quarterfinal match in Lotte, Germany, on February 28, 2017. Martin Meissner/AP Photo