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Plan to combine middle school soccer program moves ahead

Members of the Washington County Board of Education Athletics Committee will recommend giving the system’s two athletic directors discretion in deciding how many middle school soccer teams will be formed.
“Two teams on each side is what the Board of Education voted on,” Chair Todd Ganger said during last week’s meeting.
The south side of the county would host the following teams: Pioneers East, made up of Jonesborough and Lamar schools; and Pioneers West, made up of West View and South Central schools.
The north side would include Blazers West, made up of Ridgeview, Sulphur Springs and Fall Branch schools; and Blazers East, made up of Gray and Boones Creek schools.
The new structure would begin next school year.
“I personally think we need to stick to two teams on each side and let the athletic directors evaluate the first year and give us their thoughts,” Ganger said.
Improving the program is a goal for both ADs.
“I think we agreed months ago this is a program that needs work,” said Danny Good, athletic director for Daniel Boone High School and the north side of the county. “We want to get them more competitive for the next level.
Josh Kite, athletic director for David Crockett High School and the south side of the county, agreed having a stronger junior varsity program is vital.
Board member David Hammond made a motion to allow the ADs to use their discretion and have the authorization, without coming back to the Board of Education, to form a third team if the turnout of players would support it.
“You guys are going to know year to year, and this gives you flexibility,” Hammond said.
Board member Keith Ervin seconded the motion.
Kite asked how the potential decision would affect the coaching supplements.
One option proposed is to have four head coaches, one originally meant for each of the teams, at $1,800 each.
The second option is four head coaches at $1,200 each and four assistant coaches at $600 each.
No decision was made.
“The numbers will play into it, but I think we need to stick with two teams,” Ganger reiterated, asking the ADs if they thought 80 students could be expected to try out, requiring another team be created. Both said no.
Establishing a junior varsity will improve the performance of the varsity teams, according to Kite.
“Our kids are three years behind those in other schools, like Dobyns-Bennett, who have been playing together since sixth grade,” he said.
Board member Bill Brinkley said he didn’t know why the committee was rehashing a decision already passed by the board. “Do you have a problem with three teams?” he asked Ganger.
“Yes, I think we need to leave it at two, get the feedback, and see what the sixth grade response is,” Ganger replied, adding that students are coming to high school without knowing the game.
Hammond said that option would still be in place with his motion, and that parents had expressed concerns.
“I think it would relieve them to know if there is a large turnout, the schools would be able to use them,” he said. “We want to give the ADs the authority to pull the trigger without coming back to the board.”
Ganger asked Good and Kite if they felt the need to have that authorization.
“Right now, the numbers don’t show we would ever have that problem, but I don’t want to turn anyone away, so I would be coming back to ask for a third team,” Good answered.
A budget amendment would be required if more financial support is needed.
The motion passed with Ganger and John Verbel opposed. Dykes said the motion would be taken up during the called BOE meeting scheduled for March 28, but the topic was not mentioned.