Soccer (Co-ed JH)
Union City Needs Soccer Coaches
By Mike Thornburg | Jul 21, 2023 11:47 AM
Reprinted with permission from The News-Gazette.
Thanks Rick Reed for such a great article.
BY RICK REED
News-Gazette Sports Editor
Galvanized by extensive community interest, soccer is returning this fall as a sport at Union City Jr.-Sr. High School.
There will be a junior high soccer schedule in 2023, and plans are for both boys and girls to field varsity teams in 2024-25.
"We're excited. The kids seem excited. Hopefully this is something that our student athletes can be successful at and get a lot of enjoyment out of doing," said Mike Thornburg, the school's athletic director. "I think we have a lot of talent in out community."
Thornburg explained that the decision to bring back the sport was made after extensive studies by school officials to determine if soccer is viable. Surveys indicate high participation with little relative impact on other fall sports.
"There has been a ton of interest in the community in the past few years," Thornburg said. "We have both youth and adult leagues right now that have been growing over the past three years."
Plans are underway to build two new practice soccer fields in addition to two that are currently available. The junior high matches will be held at the site of the current practice football field west of the lane to the back of the school.
Thornburg said he is currently working on building a schedule that will likely include several schools in the Tri-Eastern Conference as well as others within a reasonable distance of travel. He is currently looking for volunteer coaching applicants for the junior high positions.
Matches will be played primarily through the week so as to not interfere with any junior high football games. A new TEC bylaw allows for dual athletic participation, which could also bolster numbers across all sports.
Union City previously fielded a co-ed soccer team that ended in 2013-14 due to a lack of participation. Although Thornburg was not at the school at that time, he is not expecting that will be an issue in the near future.
High school soccer in Indiana dates back into the 1960's and the Indiana High School Athletic Association first sanctioned the sport for both boys and girls in 1994. There are currently three classes in soccer.