Surging interest spurs school to add girls’ JV soccer team
The Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School Board approved the start-up of a girl's Junior Varsity soccer team during its Tuesday meeting. (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
WILTON — Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle and High School is expected to field a girl’s junior varsity team this year, after an unexpected uptick in interest by the students.
Brian Bagley, the principal at the Middle and High School, told the School Board that there were 30 girls interested in playing soccer this year. Usually, there are enough applicants only to fill a varsity squad, he said. In soccer, 11 players are on the field at a time. With 30 girls, it would be virtually impossible to get all of the players on the field in the span of a single game, he said. Bagley feared the students would lose interest in playing the sport if they didn’t get the opportunity to play. The majority of the girls interested — 19 of them — are freshmen and sophomores, he added.
The numbers are high enough this year to support a junior varsity team, Bagley told the board. To support a season of four home and four away games, it would cost $1,381, said Bagley. That does not include a stipend for a coach. Bagley felt the season could be paid for from excess from the athletics budget. Athletics budgets to accommodate each team’s full season, plus two additional tournament games. There will be enough from teams that do not qualify for tournaments to pay for the season.
School Board member Fran Bujak said he was in favor of fielding a JV team. “The advantage of these small schools is that you don’t have to be a star player to play,” he said. He added that with obesity a rising problem, anything that gets kids to move is a plus. He also was in favor of paying the coach a stipend, if it could be found within the current budget. Bagley said he believed he would not have an issue supporting a coach stipend within the current budget.
The board agreed to pay the coach a stipend based on stipends paid to other coaches with similar responsibilities and experience. A coach stipend usually ranges from $800 to $2,000, Superintendent Christine Tyree told the board.
Bagley said that if the high interest in soccer continues, the school will consider adding a budget for it in the following year.
School Board member Jim Button asked if there was a process to review sports at the end of the year to determine which teams would retain a budget for the next year, and what sports would be eliminated. Athletic Director Brice Miller replied that there was not. Sometimes, smaller sports can be supported without a budget, he told the board. For example, both the school’s swim team and gymnastics team use outside facilities and coaches at no cost or minimal cost to the school.
The board voted to field a JV soccer team, and to approve an appropriate stipend for the coach.