The sport of soccer continues to grow in the Allen County School
District. As a result, plans are underway for the James E. Bazzell Middle
School to field both a boys and a girls soccer team at the school this year.
“We had a huge turnout at soccer tryouts this year,” explained Bazzell Middle School soccer coach Emily Williams. “There was a total of 14 girls and 13 boys who consistently came to all three days of tryouts. To me this shows that soccer is growing in Allen County. The feeder program at the Core is constantly growing and improving as well, which is contributing to higher numbers of interested players.”
Williams is not surprised
by the growing participation in the sport, thus leading to separate teams in
just the third year of the sport’s existence at the middle school level.
“I’m not surprised at the rapid growth because
I saw the interest in the younger grades a few years ago,” Williams added. “I’m
excited at how many athletes we are able to reach through soccer, and how happy
the community has been to see this program come to fruition. It was a lot of
work to get the soccer program approved and it makes me proud to see how far it
has come in such a short amount of time.”
The launch of separate teams---as opposed to
the co-ed squad the school fielded the past two seasons---is expected to help
all players continue to develop their skills and learn the game.
“The plan is for both teams to train at the
same time,” Williams said. “An assistant coach will likely be hired to help run
practices, which will allow us to split up into groups during drills. We will
also have the numbers to run full-sided scrimmages, which will help better
prepare us for games. Practices at this level focus mainly on building upon
fundamentals, increasing endurance, and fine-tuning ball handling skills. We
also stress the importance of attitude and teamwork.”
Work remains to be done to finalize the team’s schedule for the year---a
schedule that will start with games in late August or early September. Williams
does note that preparations are being made for Bazzell Middle School Lady
Patriot and Patriot soccer to host matches at some point this fall.
“I’m very excited that we have been approved
to host home games this year,” Williams noted. “We are still working out the
details, but this will be an incredible opportunity to showcase our skills for
the community. Once the schedule is finalized, it will be released to the
Williams also notes that an additional tryout time will be held in July in
the hope of adding players to the squads.
“I welcome additional upcoming 7th or 8th
grade girls or boys interested in playing soccer to attend a supplemental
tryout on Tuesday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. on the soccer field behind ACPC/ACIC,” Williams said.
middle school program also prompted the high school to launch a JV program last
year with the hope of establishing a varsity soccer team in the near future.