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Where does soccer stand?

Clarke continues to look into starting soccer program

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 9:36 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 9:52 a.m. CST

Soccer ideas are continuing to be kicked around.

During an Oct. 14 Clarke School Board meeting, Clarke Activities Director Ryan Sweeney said the school board had previously asked him to look into what it would take for Clarke to start a high-school soccer program.

Sweeney said he was in communication with Clarke’s former activities director Mike Egbert who had also discussed starting a soccer program within the district. In the past months, Egbert had been communicating with other school districts to gather more information.

“He didn’t have any hard data on student interest,” Sweeney said. “He said that’s where he was going next — to get a survey. I guess that will be my next step is to get an interest level.”

Nonrevenue

Sweeney said he talked to other school officials within Clarke’s conference. Officials told Sweeney their schools lose between $400 and $450 per soccer event.

Another concern Sweeney came across was the field used for soccer matches never gets a break between sports seasons. He said it creates injury issues.

It was mentioned Sweeney should talk to officials with Osceola Parks and Recreation about sharing field maintenance.

“I think Tim and Dan (with parks and recreation) are pretty flexible,” Sweeney said. “In my conversations with them, they will have a nice working relationship because we use their facilities, and they use our facilities.”

Club sport

During the meeting, there was also talk about starting a soccer program as a club sport, similar to how Clarke’s bowling and rugby high-school programs were started.

Soccer is a spring sport, as is track, tennis, golf and rugby.

“At some time, you’re going to lose kids somewhere in the other existing sports,” said Gerard Linskens, school board president.

Board member Larry O’Tool agreed other sports might lose a handful of students to soccer, however, a new soccer program might influence other students to join a sport.

“I think we’re going to draw in more who aren’t doing anything. ... Maybe soccer is their sport and that’s what they want to play. I know kids who travel to Des Moines to play up there,” O’Tool said.

Sweeney said he had more information to research, but he is concerned soccer is a nonrevenue sport, and Clarke has several of those in the spring.

“I’m all for opportunities, but at the same time, I think we’ve got to be financially responsible, as well,” he said.

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