Soccer moms want new sport at San Juan High

High school soccer may be on the horizon at San Juan High School if a large group of parents and supporters are successful in creating a program.
The group met with the San Juan School Board on October 13 to seek support for the creation of a high school soccer program at the school.
Kerri Jensen, representing the soccer supporters, said there is widespread support for the creation of a team at the school in Blanding.
Nicole Black said that more than 100 kids play in the city soccer league and 96 students at ARL Middle School have said they are interested in playing soccer at the high school level.
The group had approached the school board one year ago with the same request and returned once again.
The group was asked to address issues such as facility and equipment needs, program and travel costs, the process of securing trained coaches and officials, and the possibility of club programs.
Trevor Olsen, the assistant principal at San Juan High, said the school would accommodate the sport if it is directed to do so.
“There are varying opinions about soccer at San Juan High,” said Olsen. “It is kind of a polarizing subject.”
Olsen said that some of the concerns include the impact of a new program on the existing programs at San Juan High School. “It is another sport, another season, and adds to an already full schedule,” said Olsen.
In Utah, soccer is a relatively new sport at the high school level, particularly in smaller schools. Soccer is a fall sport for girls and a spring sport for boys. At the current time, 29 1A and 2A schools compete in boys soccer. There are 22 girls teams.
If approved, San Juan would likely play in a region with Grand, Manti, Gunnison, Emery, and North Sevier. Wasatch Academy and South Sevier also play boys soccer.
The timeframes may extend several years before San Juan plays varsity soccer. Teams generally play a junior varsity schedule for one year before playing at the varsity level.
“We are not going to stand in the way of a tsunami of support for soccer,” said school board member Bill Boyle. “We are just looking for evidence that the support is broad and the community and school can support another program.”
In other matters at the school board meeting, the priority list for capital projects was adjusted. In 2014, the school board identified two projects that were high on the priority list, including a new elementary school in Bluff and a new gymnasium at Montezuma Creek Elementary School. Both projects were taken off of the priority list after they ran into delays.
Securing a land lease for the gymnasium in Montezuma Creek, on land adjacent to the existing school, has proven to be a challenge.
In Bluff, the school district secured 12.5 acres of land in January for a possible new school on the western edge of town.
Preliminary archaeological surveys indicate that there may be ancient sites on the property, and a possible burial site on the edge of the property.
The district delayed the process in order to get more information.
Projects moved up on the priority list include five new homes for teachers in Monument Valley ($1 million expenditure) and a much-delayed project on the locker rooms and gymnasium at San Juan High School ($600,000).

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