Basehor-Linwood adds soccer teams
Santa Fe Trail only league school without program
When the Tonganoxie High School soccer team begins Kaw Valley League play this fall, the Chieftains will discover that the league has grown.
Basehor-Linwood-Linwood has put together a team. Well, actually two teams.
Following the lead of fellow Kaw Valley schools Piper, Immaculata and Lansing, Basehor-Linwood-Linwood has decided to divide its program into both a girls and boys team.
Now, Santa Fe Trail is the only league school with out a soccer team.
Most league schools, including Tonganoxie, field one co-ed team because the league doesn't separate competition.
But there is another option.
The Northeastern Kansas League offers both girls and boys soccer, with the boys playing in the fall and the girls playing in the spring.
Basehor-Linwood decided to enter both leagues. The boys team will play in the co-ed Kaw Valley, and the girls team will play against other girls teams in the Northeastern Kansas League.
"We had so much support for it, we decided to form a girls team," said Basehor-Linwood Athletics Director Joe Keeler. "Since then we've had quite a bit of interest in it."
Keeler and coach Lane Davis said that there were at least 15 girls who had already expressed interest in playing for the girls team, which won't even start practice until basketball season is over.
The boys team has 22 members and coaches say they expect that number to grow.
"I expect that number to go up," Davis said. "Right now we have no freshmen out. A lot didn't know and some going out for football might change there minds."
But for now, Basehor-Linwood has enough boys to field two 11-man squads.
Davis said he was neither concerned about the number of players nor about their playing abilities.
"I was pleased with the skill level they all have basic knowledge," Davis said.
"The biggest drawback is that they haven't played together as 11 on a field. I call that the experience factor."
As far as individual experience, the team is fine.
Keeler said that most of the girls and boys who will play on the team have participated in area teams much of their lives.
"They just haven't had a school team to call their own," Davis said.
But anytime a new athletics program is added to a school, the question of whether there are enough students to support all the programs arises.
Davis said that the Basehor-Linwood football tradition has been supportive of the new soccer team and that the only competition the team might face is from the softball team in the spring.
"They went to state last season so there's a lot of support for the team right now," he said. "But in a 4A school there are enough students to go around."
Davis also added that since Basehor-Linwood is closer to Kansas City than most league schools, it should have an easier time drawing girls to the team.
And Davis should know a little about soccer he's been involved in it most of his 26 years.
A Wichita State University graduate with two bachelor's degrees, Davis played soccer there, as well as in high school.
Last season he was an assistant coach on the Wichita Northwest squad that took third place in the Kansas 6A state competition.
Davis is currently working on a graduate degree at the University of Kansas.
He said he found out about the Basehor-Linwood opening while surfing the Web.
"I got on the Net, saw the opening and called the athletics director," he said. "Two days later he interviewed and hired me."
But besides new teams and a new soccer coach, the school also needs a new field.
"We're in the process of working on a game field and practice field," Athletic Director Joe Keeler said.
Until facilities are completed, the team will play at the Field of Dreams, north of Basehor-Linwood High School.