Kicked to the Curb

West girls soccer program cut


Lanora Sprague

Audrianna Tete expressing her sadness about West not having a girls soccer team.

Lanora Sprague, Reporter

Out of a student population of 1,445 West is unable to find 11 girls who want to play soccer. For the second year in a row the girls soccer team has been cut due to lack of numbers. This is frustrating for the girls who really do love soccer and just want to play and hang out with friends. Last year the solution was a co-ed team, this year it’s a joint team with North’s girls soccer program. 

Why there is no girls soccer team this year is simple, the numbers aren’t there. Athletic director Michelle Lillis was forced to cut the program. 

“You have to have enough to have a team,” Lillis said. 

It may seem soon to be cutting a spring sport but these decisions have to be made early. The decision must be submitted by a certain date to the state so that other schools may begin creating game schedules. 

 “Last year … we waited and I talked to the state, and I kind of got in trouble because I went back and forth with the state and we were trying to have a soccer team … So this year, there was no way we’re going past the date. We couldn’t go past the date again because we’d already been in that boat and that wasn’t making us look very good,” Lillis said. 

Even though this was the necessary decision it doesn’t mean that former soccer players are without frustration. Many hoped that they would be able to build the girls team back up this year. 

“It made me mad because I felt like … we had a chance, kind of, to build back up our program at West and now we don’t have that opportunity anymore,” junior Audriana Tete said. 

Last year the solution for the small team was to join with the boys, creating a co-ed program so that the girls could still play for West. However, in hindsight players agreed that playing alongside the boys wasn’t their favorite. 

“Yes, they give us people to play with. But at the same time … playing against the guys is so annoying because they’re always faster, more agile,” Tete said. 

Players even remarked that it wasn’t only the physicality of playing with boys, but the social atmosphere as well. 

“After the teams … joined together, it just became more stressful because the boys weren’t really welcoming,” sophomore Ava Wright said. 

However it wasn’t all bad, the struggle with the boys brought the girls closer together. Ensuring that soccer was still something fun for them, not something they’re obligated to be a part of. 

“Outside of actually playing soccer we all got along really well. It was just fun to be with all the girls,” Wright said. 

Players hope to reinstate a girls soccer team in the years to come, however this requires effort from everyone. Previously struggling sports at West have been built back up by persistent coaches and learning programs. 

“Only we can change that and I feel like our high school coaches need to take responsibility and steps into helping to build their programs,” Lillis said. 

Part of what makes this difficult is the lack of soccer opportunities in the area. Middle schools don’t offer soccer as one of their sports and there are no local recreation teams. 

“What is offered to the kids on this end of the town when it comes to soccer? From what I can tell, nothing,” Lillis said. 

Lillis hopes in the upcoming years to start up a program encouraging potential future players to enjoy the sport and play for West when they enter high school. 

“So I feel like the only way to change it is to go to the junior highs and try and create a situation that’s fun for them … interact, learn to like the sport, and then maybe we could start to get some more [players],” Lillis said. 

The influence from a younger age is very important in generating interest. Around the time when these kids are in junior high they’re very impressionable and try lots of new things. Once they reach high school it becomes a lot harder to convince them. 

“It’s not going to come back unless somebody makes a very strong concerted effort to do something with the kids who are on their way here. It’s awfully hard to try and talk a high school girl into playing a sport they had never played before. There’s a lot of anxiety there,” Lillis said.

While it’s upsetting to go another year without a girls soccer team, it was the necessary decision that hopefully, with new programs, won’t have to be made again.