A year ago the girls playing soccer at Madison-Plains High School were doing so alongside and against boys.
Without enough players to field a complete boys or girls team in 2014 the Golden Eagles played as a co-ed squad and played a boys schedule. Things didn’t go so smoothly as the squad was winless (0-12), which included a 15-0 loss in the opening round of the Central District tournament.
This year there are enough girls in the program for the Eagles to compete as a varsity girls squad, however there will be no Plains’ boys team due to the lack of numbers.
“As of right now we will have a girls team,” Madison-Plains High School director of athletics Matt Mason said. “But it will only be a girls team, there aren’t enough boys for us to have a boys team.”
Why not just combine the teams again? Mason said because unlike last year, there are enough girls to field a team and they can play a complete schedule against girls teams.
“We just didn’t think it would be fair to the girls to have to play as a combined team and play an entire season against boys again,” he said. “They will play a full varsity schedule and compete in the Mid-State League (Ohio Division).
There were only six boys who expressed interest in playing soccer this upcoming year. Those athletes will need to find something else to do if they want to wear the green and gold this fall.
The decline in the number of boys soccer players can be directly attributed in the increased interest in football. The number of athletes playing football continues to rise, leaving the small school with limited options.
“We have tremendous numbers with football right now,” Mason said. “We only have so many student-athletes and so it appears soccer is that sport that’s seeing a decline. But it’s one of those things that usually go in cycles.”
There are a total of 18 boys currently in the middle school soccer program, many of those about to enter eighth grade which means the boys soccer program at the high school shouldn’t be dark for long.
“I’m expecting things to swing the other way soon,” Mason said.
A coach still has to be hired for the upcoming season, but Mason hopes to have that process completed in the upcoming weeks.
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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