Imagine a basketball team that specializes in 3-point shooting having to visit an opponent where the arc is pushed back three more feet.
What if the distance between bases in baseball or softball was longer at a certain field, or a football team had to adjust to a surface that was 120 yards long, or perhaps 80?
Unlike programs in other sports, soccer teams have to adjust to different field sizes.
A high school regulation soccer field is 115 yards long by 75 yards wide -- measurements that only a few schools in the area have, such as Cleveland and Baylor. Chattanooga Christian's field is 70 feet wide, but most of the public school programs are forced to play on their schools' football fields, which aren't as wide as a regulation soccer pitch.
"The field has become one of the biggest factors in a match," Cleveland coach Andy Byrd said. "I would argue that it can be the biggest determining factor because you're having to prepare for conditions that you might not be accustomed to.
"The professional game has come to the point where they're talking about making the field even bigger because the players are bigger and stronger. Everybody likes to see scores, and your better programs are trying to make their fields bigger so they have more opportunities to do that."
The TSSAA mandates that a field be at least 100 yards long by 50 yards wide, with a maximum of 120 by 80. In Georgia, mandatory field sizes are 120 yards long by 60 wide. The differences in fields force coaches to adjust their game plans not only to the opposing players but to the surfaces they're about to play on.
Most coaches agree that it's easier for a team to adjust to a larger field than a smaller one. On a larger field, teams that are good technically and faster can adjust to the wider space. A weaker team can use a smaller field to its advantage because it can bunch its players into a tighter space, which causes smaller gaps and holes for an opponent to exploit. On a larger field, that advantage is wiped out and teams have more space and find those gaps and holes.
"We've played four away games this season -- all on football fields," CCS coach Shawn Brower said. "It does force you to have to adjust. We close part of the field off when we're about to play one of those opponents.
"We played Dalton and they had a player that, on a throw-in, could throw the ball into the 6. When you're on a smaller field and you're in the defending third of the field, you have to expect that a throw-in will make it into the box."
With most schools not having their own facilities -- only about 25 percent of area programs have their own soccer fields -- the frustration to field an acceptable product has grown.
Ooltewah coach Rick Adolph is among those coaches. The Owls play on the football field, which is 64 yards wide. They practice on the football practice field.
"I don't think anyone understands the difficulty except for the coaches," Adolph said. "To others it's soccer, so they don't care. It's not huge in the community and not big in Tennessee -- football is king here and basketball is pretty close -- so they tolerate us as much as they can. I knew that if I was going to coach soccer in Tennessee, this would be the situation. It's not shocking that it's happened like this, and I know that I have to deal with it, and if I don't like it I can leave."