The Sioux Falls School District is considering sanctioning soccer as a high school sport. Activities Director Mark Meile has confirmed to KELOLAND Sports that the proposal has been submitted for budget consideration, and that a decision must be made prior to the South Dakota High School Activities Association's Board of Directors meeting April 22nd.
High School Soccer has been a club sport in South Dakota since 1997, with the South Dakota State Soccer Association providing funding. In 2012, a number of schools, some with the continued aide of the State Soccer Association, made the move to sanctioned soccer, including Sioux Falls O'Gorman, Aberdeen, Mitchell, and others. Following the 2014 season, funding from the Soccer Association will end, and while Association President Rich Jensen understands that funding education is priority one, he believes it's time for Sioux Falls' public schools to sanction soccer.
"Activities that are part of the high school, whether it's music or theater, or your sports are also a big part of the education piece, too. Once the funding becomes more stabilized, yeah it is time. It's time to do it. Soccer involves a lot of kids. On a per kid, or per player basis, it's very low cost. It offers a lot of opportunities for a lot of kids to play, and it's not going to cost the school a lot of money to do it," South Dakota State Soccer Association President Rich Jensen said.
Jensen added that he believes once Sioux Falls makes the move, many other South Dakota schools will follow.