Leetonia BOE moving forward with soccer program

LEETONIA- The school board has given the okay to continue the high school soccer program and will look to include the coaching position as a supplemental in the next collective bargaining agreement.

The board reviewed the program’s direction at its meeting last week, three years after approving the program as a club sport and agreeing to re-evaluate at this time. The board approved the program as an official school sport last season so the team could participate in a tournament.

According to schools Superintendent Rob Mehno, the vision at the outset was to establish a boys and girls team, with possibly two coaches, and to overtime discuss the use of the varsity football practice field as a game field, have no fence on the baseball field for the grass to be used as a practice field and to play at the library field.

Soccer coach Ryan Dowling told the board that over the past three seasons the program has steadily increased its schedule and goal scoring and has grown from 12 participants the first year to 21 this past one (evenly split between boys and girls), with a projected 28 next year that could mean both a varsity and junior varsity team. At the lower grade levels, there appears to be four or five students per grade, which would maintain a desirable 20-member team at the high school level, he said, and remain on track for a boys and girls team, long-term.

Dowling also noted that the he coordinates an unofficial indoor program at the school, unaffiliated with the school of LASA, that includes at least two high school, a middle school and U12 teams.

Dowling added that the program is growing competitively and in participants as asked three years ago, and will likely be able to field both a boys and girls team within the next three years.

Mehno said the administration is working in union negotiations to include the coaching position as a supplemental contract.