Backers of boys soccer for Archbold High School are seeking the Archbold Area School Board’s sanction, but not financial support.
The proposal was discussed at the Monday, April 19 board meeting.
Mark Hagans, Archbold, who has three children in Archbold soccer programs, said the Archbold Soccer Club will cover all of the costs for soccer, including uniforms, equipment, coaching, refereeing, and other expenses.
A proposal submitted to the school board by the soccer club said if the board approves sanctioning soccer, the club’s teams will be able to play a varsity schedule and participate in the endof season tournament.
The club proposal asks that boys in the varsity soccer program be eligible for school varsity letters.
Also, the club asks that the board make school bus transportation available to the club, but Hagans said the club would foot the cost.
In his presentation to the board, Hagans referred to the school district’s mission statement, which includes the goal of “offering all students the opportunity to be successful.”
Sanctioning boys soccer fits with that mission statement because it would allow 26 boys, members of the soccer program, an additional opportunity to be successful.
There is a precedent for sanctioning boys soccer, he said, noting the high school had sanctioned a one-person gymnastics team and had supported indoor track.
Plus, he said rival school district Liberty Center had recently created a boys soccer program.
Hagans noted a 2009 request to establish boys soccer as a varsity sport, but said the main issue at the time was cost. By going with sanctioning, there is no cost to the school district.
Tony Warncke, board member, asked about costs per player. Jennifer Kidder, director of Archbold Parks and Recreation, said for a member of the traveling team, the cost was $215 for two seasons, not including the cost of shoes with cleats, and shin guards.
Players themselves are charged $65 to $75, but no one has been turned away because of an inability to pay.
“We cover the costs through the soccer club,” she said.
Phil Bontrager, adult soccer club member, said players must provide their own uniforms.
Phil Nofziger, board member, asked how long the club proposes the sanction will last.
Hagans said the club would prefer the sanction be open-ended, but if the board is interested in a trial run, “I would say I would hope soccer would not be considered a second-class sport. Only in the midwest portion of the United States is soccer a second class sport. The rest of the world seems to think it’s a pretty good idea.”
Kidder said the club realizes sanctioning boys soccer will put an additional workload on Allan Gladieux, AHS athletic director, but she said Gladieux was willing to work with the program.
Bontrager said Gladieux had supplied the soccer club with the school’s weekly academic eligibility list.
Warncke asked about an “exit strategy.” He asked when a district should consider discontinuing a program.
It was noted there are not enough boys out for freshman baseball, so there is no freshman team.
Janet Wyse, board member, said there should be such a policy.
Currently, the soccer club’s high school-age players can only play other varsity teams in scrimmages, which usually take place only in August.
Archbold players are ready to step up to the next level, which is varsity competition, Bontrager said.
Hagans said right now, there is the potential of a ready-made soccer league that could include Liberty Center, Wauseon, Bryan, Pettisville, and possibly Swanton.
The board took no action during the meeting.
The next meeting of the board is Monday, May 17, 7 pm, in the AHS media center.– David Pugh