As the United States men’s soccer team finished off its 2-1 victory in the World Cup Monday evening, the Bridgeport ISD trustees kicked around the idea of starting a high school program in the sport.
While a crowd filled the board meeting room, many young players in soccer jerseys checking the games score on their smart phones, they will likely be waiting at least another year before getting a chance to score a goal for Bridgeport.
Trustees held a question-and-answer session with Superintendent Eddie Bland and Athletic Director Danny Henson about the idea. But it was not up for action.
Bland said after the meeting he is willing to do what the board wants but didn’t see the school being able to add a program for 2014-15.
“We’re trying to get an assessment of the interest,” Bland said. “I’m not opposed to it. It would be hard to do next year, to get a coach and start a program.
“We need to do a thorough needs assessment and look for a coach in the spring. Then we could work to get a schedule in place.”
The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for public school athletics in Texas, added a third classification for soccer that will start in the spring. Previously all schools competed in the old 5A or 4A for the sport. Now the agency will have 6A, 5A and 4A. Bridgeport will be a 4A school in the new alignment.
The UIL will have 109 schools in 4A soccer according to its May alignment.
Henson told the board the district does not have anyone on staff to coach soccer and would need to hire boys and girls coaches. He said he is already trying to fill three coaching spots – a difficult task in the summer.
Among the crowd on hand to listen to the discussion was Bridgeport Youth Association Soccer Commissioner Steven Lara. He said in the league’s oldest age group, 13-14, there were 30 players on two teams this past year with 15 moving into high school this year.
He added, “all our referees are older kids who still want to be involved in the program and can’t go to Dallas to be on a club.”
The association had 16 soccer teams and 176 players from its youngest group 4-and-under to the 13-14 division.
“The program is getting bigger and bigger,” Lara said.
Veronica Cervantes also spoke in favor of starting high school soccer.
“We have lots of potential with these kids,” she said.
Trustee Steve Stanford asked for the administration to present “something on paper” about the needs and costs for starting a soccer program.
Henson and Bland both stated if the school does add a soccer program they hope to put in something successful.