Does a soccer program have a chance to start this spring at Clarke Community High School?
Possibly, if it’s a club sport.
During a Dec. 9 Clarke Community School Board meeting, Clarke Activities Director Ryan Sweeney discussed the second set of soccer-survey results he had students participate in.
The results were in soccer’s favor.
“I have had a few conversations with a couple community members about possibly coaching — being interested in coaching,” Sweeney said. “… I recommended that they get their coaching endorsement and can start as a club.”
Other Clarke sports that started out as club sports are bowling and rugby.
These are the percentages for male and female students who had medium to high interest in soccer from the survey results:
• Seventh grade — 62 percent
• Eighth grade — 60 percent
• Ninth grade — 53 percent
• 10th grade — 59 percent
• 11th grade — 52 percent
“It really sounds that there’s student interest. Finding the right people to coach is probably a very, very important step,” said Gerard Linskens, school board president. “It really comes up to who steps up to the plate and runs it, if it’s going to be successful or not.”
Sweeney said he noticed the greatest amount of interest in soccer is from students in seventh through 10th grades.
“They have been, at least, vocal to me about, hey, are we doing soccer? Almost daily I’m getting questions from the younger ages — seventh through 10th grade,” Sweeney said.
According to Sweeney, if soccer starts out as a club sport, there would be minimal financial obligations at the beginning. Expenses could include uniforms, coaching fees and equipment costs.
“What we would have to work out is how we use our facilities because that would really change,” he said. “If we use our football field, which we would, we’d change how we maintain that because we wouldn’t really have a recovery period of time. That’s a cost I’d have to do some more research on.”
Board members asked Sweeney if the city’s parks and recreation department would still let the team use its field. Sweeney said the department is still interested in working with the district, and the field could potentially be a practice facility.
The next question asked was if there’s a real chance soccer could start out as a club sport this spring.
Sweeney said he still had some concerns with scheduling with other local school that have established interscholastic soccer teams.
“I do think it’s something if we can get things moving forward here,” he said. “I think it’s something we could do in the spring. I guess the concern, or the issue, that I’m having is how we get to play other schools?”
Sweeney said there’s only a few schools in Clarke’s conference that have soccer as a school sport. Other schools in the area that participate in soccer are Creston, Albia, Chariton and Centerville.
“If our interest is there, and we have a good response to a club situation, then we follow a similar pattern to bowling and rugby,” Sweeney said.