Bonner Springs to add girls soccer program
It might still be more than a year away, but Bonner Springs High School sophomore Alyssa Kelly is already making plans for the school's first season of girls soccer.
"I'm excited," said Kelly, one of the few girls who has played with the boys team the past couple of seasons. "We've never had a girls team here, and it's going to be a lot of fun to help get it started."
Kelly and any prospective Mia Hamm wannabes officially received the go-ahead for a girls soccer program at the high school from the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School District late last month.
After receiving a favorable recommendation to add the program from BSHS athletic director Garold Baker, the board voted and approved the new sport for the spring of the 2006-2007 school year.
Baker, who helped conduct research concerning how much interest there is at the school, said adding the program would be a good thing for the athletic department for a number of reasons.
"The hope is that this will appeal to a whole different group of kids," Baker said. "We're hoping that several kids who aren't currently out for a spring sport will come out for girls soccer."
The flip side of that equation is that adding another spring sport could negatively affect the rosters of the current spring sports such as track, softball and swimming.
District superintendent Bob Van Maren isn't terribly concerned about the decision's adverse effects.
"Soccer attracts a different kind of athlete than softball or track, which is always great," Van Maren said. "We're really proud of the kids that opted to participate in the sport, and hopefully the girls will be able to do as well as the boys have done in soccer."
Kelly's counting on it. But she's also glad that the board didn't force the decision through so the team could begin this spring.
"I'm kind of looking forward to playing half of my career with the boys team and half of my career with the girls team," Kelly said.
In addition to the obvious advantages it brings, adding a girls program will open the door for girls to compete in fall sports they previously could not.
"I'm really looking forward to trying out for volleyball next year," Kelly said. "I've never been able to play volleyball because I've always been playing with the boys soccer team in the fall."
Bonner Springs' decision to add girls soccer has also had a positive effect on schools outside of the district.
When the Bravettes take the field in 2007, they will become the sixth Kaw Valley League school to have a girls soccer program. That means the league will finally recognize girls soccer as a league sport, and that means good things for the KVL's 10 schools.
"Anytime you've got a sport that can be a league sport, it makes scheduling a heck of a lot easier," Baker said. "Plus, we've got a banner in our gym for league championships. League championships are a big deal, and now we'll have one more sport where we can win a league championship."
The KVL stipulates that in order for a sport to be recognized by the league more than half of the league's schools have to field teams.
Bonner Springs will join Basehor-Linwood, Mill Valley, Lansing, Piper and Immaculata as KVL schools with girls soccer, and Baker suggested that the addition of Bonner Springs might inspire other schools to start a girls soccer program, as well.
Early numbers indicate somewhere around 20 girls at BSHS are interested in playing soccer. That number comes as a biproduct of a survey handed out last spring as well as Kelly's unofficial estimation.
"I'm trying to talk all of my friends into playing," Kelly said. "And a lot of them are interested. They say if there's a tryout and if it's not co-ed, they'll give it a shot. That's exciting. I'd say we have at least 20 girls already and I'm trying to get as many as possible. The more the merrier."