Ram soccer gets the go-ahead

Soccer will join the sports line-up at Greene County High School for the 2018 season, but soccer players and their parents may be setting a precedent other teams will be expected to follow.

Shannon Black shared with the school board at its May 17 meeting a budget for the program, as requested by board members when they gave conditional approval for adding soccer in April. Black, Carl Behne, Marilyn Tasler, activities director Dean Lansman and board members Steve Fisher and Teresa Hagen comprised the committee that formulated the budget.

The budget shows total costs of $48,843 for the season, including equipment, field maintenance, transportation, officials, coaches and trainers.

Of that, soccer parents are ready to provide goals, practice and game balls, corner flags and field markers. The soccer parents are planning for volunteer coaches – two head coaches and two assistant coaches. The budget labels those expenses as “waived” and totaling $26,243.

Black also outlined plans for fundraising totaling $24,500. That includes grants next spring from the Jefferson Rotary Foundation and the Greene County Community Foundation. That would meet the total expenses of the program in its first year.

“I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know exactly how much money we’ll be able to raise, but I do feel fairly confident we’ll be able to cover our expenses for the first year of having soccer,” Black said.

“This looks really good for 2018, but  what are we going to do in ’19 to get $30,000 when coaches and transportation falls back on us?” board member Mark Peters asked.

Tasler said she had the same concern, particularly about paying coaches.

One of the anticipated fundraisers is a crowd sourcing program called “Snap! Raise”. Fisher asked if it could be used for other sports teams. He said fundraising by other teams would free up money in the general fund.

Board president David Ohrt said that when the board has to cut staff “and athletic programs are sacred cows we don’t touch, that’s difficult to swallow. The more we can find other resources to support those programs, the better we’ll be.” He said parents whose children have played club sports know what it is to have “skin in the game.”

Fisher suggested that in future years, teams could do enough fundraising that the athletic budget could absorb the added cost of soccer. Superintendent Tim Christensen suggested that reducing the number of head coaches in other sports (for example, track and field), would free money in the budget.

“Ideally, we (the committee) want to see soccer in the budget going forward. We’ve done a lot of work to make sure we’ve got our bases covered this first year to get it going because it’s been wanted for so many years…. Like Tim said, we think we should look at everything and see where changes can be made, be creative,” Black said.

“I think all sports are going to have to do fundraising. With shrinking enrollment and everything else… the parents in all small communities are going to have to get it through their heads that schools aren’t going to be able to fund all athletics. It’s the way it’s headed,” board member Mike Dennhardt said. “I don’t think it’s going to be just soccer. It’s going to be football, baseball, wrestling…. It’s not about soccer. It’s all sports, because education comes first.”

A motion to proceed with soccer for 2018 passed on a 6-1 vote, with Peters casting the dissenting vote. It is not yet known if there will be boys and girls teams or if there will be one co-ed team.



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