The Sioux Falls school board met Monday, and approved the proposal to sanction boys and girls soccer as a high school sport.
This fall, the Sioux Falls public schools will join Aberdeen, Mitchell, O'Gorman and others on the growing list of schools offering soccer as a sanctioned sport.
"I'm happy for the kids. I'm happy for everybody in the community, because we've got another sport for kids to play in school. It's a low-cost sport, and it engages kids that some of the other sports don't," State Soccer Association President Rich Jensen said.
The South Dakota State Soccer Association informed its members in 2012 that funding would end after the 2014 high school season, meaning Sioux Falls will make the transition earlier than required.
"Economically, it makes sense to do it right now. The timing was right for doing it right now, rather than wait one more year, and so, I think it was a good move," Jensen said.
Now that Sioux Falls has committed, expect others to follow.
"I look for other schools to quickly make that decision, or if nothing else, to at least say that we will wait one additional year, but in 2015 will make that commitment," Jensen said.
Jensen thinks the impact of sanctioning soccer in Sioux Falls will extend beyond the playing field.
"the players that are out there are not really the players that your going to see playing basketball, playing football, running track, or anything else. So, this is a way for the school district to capture, or engage, those players a little bit better. I see a huge advantage on that, and it has nothing to do with dollars and cents, or whether you play the game, or what colors you wear, or anything else. But, it's really a good thing for the whole city and all the kids of the city for that move," Jensen said.
Tuesday night, another piece to the puzzle fell into place, as the Rapid City school board approved boys and girls soccer as a sanctioned sport for Rapid City Central and Stevens, effective this fall.