Ram soccer team proposed

In the Heart of Iowa Activities Conference, four schools have high school soccer teams. Jeff Schroeder and Carl Behne asked the Greene County board of education at the board’s Oct. 21 meeting to add the Greene County Rams to the list.

Greene County students have had the option to play soccer through sharing agreements, primarily with Boone High School, but also at times with Carroll High School. Typically about five students play during a spring season.

Schroeder thinks those numbers would be much higher if the teams were Ram teams. The Jefferson park and recreation department’s fall soccer program drew nearly 100 players ages 12 and under. Other players, including some 14 and younger, play in a club league in Ames. “We’re taking kids to Ames to play because they have a desire and a passion for soccer,” Schroeder said.

The two weren’t suggesting a middle school soccer program, saying players would continue on U14 teams if they knew there would be a school team in high school. Two suggestions were made about phasing in soccer: start a freshmen team in the spring or 2017, or plan for a junior varsity team in 2018. Schroeder recalled that the class of 2020, eighth graders now, included several “exceptional” players when they were younger. The local U10 club players now are highly regarded among other clubs, he added.

Chad and Shannon Black also spoke in support of a school soccer program. Chad is an experienced soccer player and coach and said he would pursue coaching certification if that’s what was needed to have a school program. Training for officials could be arranged through the Des Moines FIFA chapter, he said.

Shannon Black, a member of the Jefferson city council, said a school soccer program could be an economic development tool. “Soccer is huge. Families are looking for soccer programs. If we want them to come to live here, we need to have soccer. This is the time to develop a plan for how we’ll implement soccer in our school,” she said.

Schroeder didn’t have a cost estimate, but said he thinks there’s enough community support to raise the needed funds. A soccer field is 120 yards long and 65 yards wide, larger than a football field, but there’s enough room at Linduska Field in Jefferson. He also suggested that if the little-used track were taken out at Karber Field in Grand Junction, that could be a suitable facility.

Superintendent Tim Christensen provided a graphic that showed how the soccer season overlaps track & field and golf, both spring sports, as well as the start of the baseball and softball seasons.

The board asked that more specific information be presented at a future meeting.

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