School Board is presented with soccer proposal
Zach Stobart and Chad Grannemann came before the school board recently to discuss the Gasconade County R-1 School Board’s consideration of having a boy’s and girl’s soccer program supported by the District. The timing of the presentation was made to give the Board enough time to consider a girl’s soccer season next school year in the spring of 2021, followed up with the boy’s season in the fall.
“I’ve taken all of the concerns I’ve heard [pertaining to having a soccer program], living in Hermann for 12 years, as to why soccer wouldn’t work here and to see if there is any credibility to those,” said Mr. Stobart.
He addressed the first concern that Hermann has a small school enrollment to support another sport in the current mix of fall and spring sports. Excluding other curricular activities such as marching band and FFA, competing fall sports for boys would include football and cross-country and track and field and golf in the spring for the girl’s season.
We would be fitting into a Class 1 school,” he said. “According to Missouri High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), there are 14 schools that are already playing Class 1 soccer that have football. Of those schools, there are only three that are larger than us, so that precedent is already set around the state.”
Mr. Stobart said (concerning girl’s soccer programs) there are 41 schools throughout the state that have spring soccer programs that also offer track and spring softball.
“We would just like a shot—for the kids to have that [soccer] option,” he says. “If it fails, it fails and we would completely accept that.”
He says if the program doesn’t fail, those interested in bringing the sport to fruition would feel justified for wanting a soccer program in Hermann High School.
Another argument Mr. Stobart has heard over the years is that there aren’t enough teams within a close distance to play soccer matches. He looked at the current schedule of teams the Bearcats play in other sports that currently offer soccer.
“We’re playing 33 schools in athletics this year and we found that 17 of those schools have boys soccer and 18 of those programs have girl’s soccer,” he shared. “We just feel there is a schedule that can be built around that.”
He says he recognizes Hermann is one of the smallest schools in the area, but that Hermann is competitive with the large schools we are already playing.
How far would the Hermann teams have to travel?
“On average, to travel to the schools that have soccer [programs], we’d travel 47 mi. as an average—as high as 68 mi. and as low as 31 mi.,” he calculates. “But the schools we are traveling to that don’t offer soccer, we’re averaging 42 mi.”
Another concern Mr. Stobart has heard is there are not enough students that want to play soccer. To gauge the number of students that might want to play soccer, sign-up sheets were posted. Forty-one girls signed the list and 22 boys signed up.
“Obviously we’re biased, but we feel that both of those are substantial numbers and feel this [signifies] a strong interest at the high school—enough to start a soccer program,” he relayed.
He mentioned there were 181 kids playing soccer this year in the Hermann City League, the largest youth organization for sports in Hermann.
The soccer advocates also brought one of the more important pieces of data with them to present the Board—costs. They say they have community support with pledges amounting to $18,500, that would be directed to the school district for startup costs.
“We just see this as community support,” said Mr. Stobart. “We feel there is a pretty loud voice within the community that is asking for this.”
With these pledges, he says the first girl’s season would eventually be paid. Hermann High School Athletics Director Todd Anderson prepared some cost figures for the group and determined it would take about $12,600 per season—a total cost of $25, 258 for the school year.
Mr. Stobart added that grants may be available to help with the replacement of existing fields for soccer conversion. He mentioned Sikeston, Mo. being a recipient of one of grants recently.
Chad Grannemann said he was looking at the possible inception of soccer in the school system as a way of attracting families with soccer-playing kids.
“Soccer is the up and coming sport,” he said. “My son is big in this—we take him to St. Charles three times a week.”
He said having a soccer program at the high school adds another positive to not only the high school, but the town in general, when it comes to families looking to live in Hermann.
I’m thankful we have the community support—[everything about this proposal] is all good,” he added.
Hermann High School Athletic Director Todd Anderson says he knows the School Board wants to provide as many opportunities for kids as possible. He adds recent cuts have been made that eliminated four teaching positions, so they will probably weigh academics against new sports opportunities.
“We also want to make sure the programs we currently have are supported, so it will be a tough decision for the Board to make.”