MOUNT CARMEL - Could girls soccer be in the future plans at Mount Carmel High School?
An interest is growing to add the sport to the list offered.
A meeting was held recently to see how many girls would consider being on board with the Golden Aces.
“I was sent a message saying that some of the soccer people had asked him [boys’ head coach Ed Berberich] about what it would take to form a team,” said Mount Carmel assistant principal Michael Brewer, at Monday’s school board meeting. “I spoke for [the board] and said, ‘they’re not going to spend any money, however, this is going to happen.’”
A meeting was held earlier this month to gauge what interest there was. Brewer reported to the board that around 30 girls expressed interest in the team.
“Just by numbers it would make it the second most in-demand sport if you take all into account,” said Brewer. “There would be lots of next steps if the board would say, ‘we’re fine with you guys having.’
There are a few issues, according to Brewer at the board meeting.
“If it’s a non-funded sport, then you’ve got to look at, are all their games going to be away,” said Brewer, “if so, how are they going to get there. Are they all at home, if so, how are they going to pay for referees. If there’s a coach, even if it’s unpaid, they’d be an employee of ours. With our union position, how do you go about that?
Brewer says there are many decisions that will have to be bad before the school gets to the point where they will enter the IHSA with girls soccer.
“That meeting is where it ended until we had further comments, a direction from the board,” said Brewer. Where boys’ soccer is a fall sport, girls’ teams play in the spring. One concern also was the number of schools within the area that participates in girls’ soccer.
"I was asking one of the coaches the other day, 'we would have to be one of the smallest teams,'" said Brewer. "I was told Olney had a team and they rattled off several teams that were closer than I'd thought. Some of them are likely to be further."
Girls soccer competes with softball and track as far as the season is concerned. When asked by a board member if that plays into the decision making, Brewer explains that kids can play more than one sport per season.
"You can play multiple sports as long as you determine a primary," said Brewer. "So if a girl dictates her primary sport is softball, anytime there is a conflict in the schedule they go to their top one. That's been the case for several years now. I think the coaches know and the kids communicate with them. Now it's basically standard."
School board president Tim Schuler told Brewer — on behalf of the board — that they would like to see a plan and hear more information about adding the soccer program.
"I don't think we're... against it with seeing a plan and what it's going to cost," said Schuler.
Brewer added that at the next board meeting, he will put together a hypothetical schedule to let the board see the type of travel the team will embark on. He will also present a plan of how the program would get its funding.
"I'll come back with a plan," said Brewer. "Maybe even bring Ed. He could probably answer those questions."
Schuler ended the discussion by thanking Brewer, but not before encouraging him to have coach Berberich at the next meeting.