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UIL eyes 3A class for soccer

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, June 23, 2012

For the second time in the program’s history, the Decatur Eagles soccer team earned a playoff spot out of its Class 4A district this past spring.

The Eagles could one day soon find themselves competing for a postseason spot against only 3A schools.

Last week, the University Interscholastic League’s Standing Committee on Athletics forwarded a motion to create a 3A classification for soccer to the agency’s Legislative Council to consider in October.

Decatur coach Nick Stokes would like to see a 3A soccer division created to level the playing field for his team.

“It’s definitely something that I’d like to see,” he said. “We’re not afraid to play anyone, but it would be a lot better to play schools our size.

“It’s tough to compete in a 4A district with 3A numbers.”

Decatur Athletic Director Kyle Story also favored the creation of a 3A league.

“It would give our kids a better opportunity,” Story said.

Last year in District 9-4A, Decatur competed against three other 3A schools – Burkburnett, Wichita Falls Hirschi and Gainesville. The Eagles and Lady Eagles will be back in the same district next year that also includes Wichita Falls and Class 4A state runner-up Wichita Falls Rider.

Along with the four schools in District 9-4A, Stokes points out that there are several 3A schools playing soccer in the area, including Argyle, Springtown and Mineral Wells.

“If you add 3A soccer, you could have a good district with schools close to us,” he said.

Stokes also hopes that the creation of a 3A league would lead to additional schools adding the program.

“It would get more schools to add soccer,” Stokes said.

Bridgeport Athletic Director Danny Henson said the creation of a soccer program could be studied, but he worried about stretching an already tight budget.

“It’s always something to look at,” Henson said. “But we have a difficult chore keeping up with the programs we have. Each time you add a program, you add staff and travel. There’s a lot of factors that go into adding a new program.”

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