WATERVLIET — High school boys at Watervliet High School will have the option to try out for soccer next fall.
The Watervliet school board on Monday night approved adding a boys high school soccer program to the district.
“If we have 25 Watervliet students that want to compete and we have enough land for them to practice, and a field we can host home games on, and it’s going to cost us $7,000 to do it, we can do that,” board President Bill Spaulding said.
The board was approached last month by Athletic Director Ken Dietz and Tom Isbrecht about adding the program.
Since that meeting Dietz said he has worked to set up 14 varsity games for the new team against conference and non-conference schools.
“I think I built a schedule that will be challenging sometimes, but also some good confidence boosters,” Dietz said.
He made a sample budget of about $11,000 for the first year that will cover officials, uniforms, balls and goals. He said if something had to be cut it could be the goals, as the girls have goals that are still in pretty good shape and the middle school club team uses goals that could be borrowed.
After the first year it should only cost about $1,000 to maintain the team.
But Dietz said he worries about providing a program, but not being committed to creating the facilities to house the program.
Right now the team would have to practice at North School and would only be able to have home games on certain nights of the week because of other teams practicing in the fall.
“We haven’t laid a great foundation for girls and we’re struggling,” Dietz said. “To me it’s all about a vision. Every successful program, school district or business has a vision and a leader to put that out there. We haven’t provided that vision. We’ve had the same thing we had in 2012 (when the girls program started).”
He said to convert a piece of property into a practice field near the bus garage would cost about $33,000, and that’s before the addition of fencing, netting and irrigation.
“Then the girls would have a great place to practice in the spring,” Dietz said. “Right now they practice on the football field, but so does track and field.”
He told the board they can wait on building a facility, but that it might not show the kids they are a priority.
“We’re a year or two away from being a Class B school. Let’s have Class B facilities,” Dietz said.
Spaulding said he doesn’t think approving the sport ties the district to creating the proper facilities within the next year.
“But if there is interest in the program and the vision is provided by this board of education and/or administration, then we can look at those projects and what they entail and what it’s going to take to implement them,” he said.
All present school board members voted yes. Board Member Amanda Morlock-Fisher was absent.
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