AKRON – Tippecanoe Valley High School will have a club soccer program this fall.
During the school board meeting Monday night, Athletic Director Duane Burkhart provided an update on the progress of the program and introduced a coach candidate, Mark L. Gordon.
Burkhart said a day after school let out, he and student Josh Petgin met with six or seven parents and about six athletes interested in a soccer program at Valley. They discussed the formation of a parent support group and possible coaches. About a week before that, he said they met with 16 to 17 high school students and 18 to 20 middle school students interested in Valley soccer.
Last week, he said they met with parents again to discuss fundraising. “Mr. Petgin was interested as a volunteer with the program,” Burkhart said.
He stated he interviewed Gordon about 1-1/2 weeks ago, and Burkhart provided the board with Gordon’s credentials.
According to a copy of his provided resume, Gordon, of Rochester, works as a radiographer/EKG technologist at Logansport State Hospital where he is a department head. He has been in his profession for over 30 years.
His coaching experience since 1996 includes: U15G-Rochester Fulton County Gold Travel soccer coach, ISL, spring 2014; U6 Co-Ed Fulton County Soccer Association Recreation soccer coach and trainer, fall 2013; and assistant varsity boys soccer coach, Winamac High School, 2010.
He has licensing and training in NSCAA goalkeeping Level 1; former NSCAA member; USSF/Indiana Youth Soccer E license; USSF/IYS F license; USSF/IYS youth technical license; SAY soccer regional coach, state coach and area coach licenses; and many others.
Gordon’s affiliations include FCSA, Henry County Youth Soccer (2007), Argos Fulton County Travel Soccer co-founder and president (2000-07) and vice president (2007-08) and Logansports Youth Soccer (1996-97), among others.
His officiating experience includes USSF soccer referee and referee assignor; Indiana High School Athletic Association soccer referee; and he has officiated in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota during league and tournament play, among others.
The school board then discussed where the soccer facilities would be.
Burkhart said at the parents’ meeting they discussed locations anywhere from the middle school football practice field to the baseball diamond. The diamond, however, would be an extremely tight fit and there was concern about damage to it from the cleats. The areas to the east of the ball diamond were surveyed, but there are drainage grates out there. The area south of the high school was considered, but right now doesn’t have the best playing surface.
Currently, the middle school football practice field is the best area for the soccer program, Burkhart said.
“From my standpoint, it would be nice to add an area instead of sharing an area, but right now that’s where we’re at,” Burkhart said.
The sharing of the field would have to be worked out, he said.
Down the road, Valley will need boys and girls teams. It also would be prudent, he said, if both teams have their own field.
Julie Canada asked why the soccer program couldn’t use an area at Akron Elementary School. Burkhart answered that it was briefly discussed, but one of the concerns is that if there is a heavy downpour, that area by the school floods.
Rod Eaton, board member, said he didn’t want to start the soccer program at one of the elementary schools because he wants them to feel like they’re a part of the high school.
Burkhart said parents have said they really want a field of their own, and that looking down the road, “we will need two facilities.”
Superintendent Brett Boggs asked how many games and practices the club would have and how long the season was.
It starts Aug. 4 and goes through October, Burkhart said. He also said they want 20 members on the team, but the program is just getting started.
Burkhart said he currently has six games on record for the initial season. Gordon said they will have up to nine for this season. Normal high school seasons are about 15 games, not including tournament runs.
Gordon said he’s been involved in soccer for 20 years and has been involved in field design. The “muck bed” at TVHS with the proper drainage would be a great place for a field. He also said he would like to be a part of writing a grant for Valley’s soccer program.
“It sounds like we’re going to play some this fall,” Bryan Murphy, board president, said.
Tom Craft, board member, agreed that the middle school practice football field should be used this year, but said Valley needs to look at other locations on the high school and middle school campus for the future.
In other business, the board:
• Reviewed revisions to school board policy regarding possession of firearms on school property and an addition to school board policy on student attendance.
• Announced upcoming board meetings will be Aug. 1, administration office, 6:30 p.m.; Aug. 18, budget workshop, administration office, 7 p.m.; Sept. 8 and Oct. 13, Mentone Elementary School, 6:30 p.m.