Like many small schools, Turlock Christian High has had its fair share of problems when it comes to student enrollment and athletics. Typically, the resulting effect of low roster numbers is a decreased level of competiveness but other measures—such as the elimination of junior varsity programs— have also been taken in years past.
While nixing JV programs for sports like football has helped the Eagles field teams and keep programs afloat, 2013 will see the first varsity victim for TC—boys soccer.
“We don’t have enough (players) to fill both soccer and football,” TC’s athletic director Shane Smith said. “If the numbers aren’t there; there’s not a whole lot we can do.”
Talks of cutting the program emerged last season when the Eagles barely managed to put a team together with 17 players, many of which had never played the sport before and a few of whom didn’t finish the season.
TC posted a winless record, but it was the departure of its graduating seniors and the lack of interest from existing students that led to the difficult decision. With only 114 students enrolled—down from 134 last year—and a total of 48 boys, there was simply no way to have both a football and boys soccer program. When only six students signed up this year the choice had to be made.
“We have to get enrollment up,” Smith said.
It’s not all bad news, though. The girls soccer program will remain intact this season and Smith and the rest of TC’s administration plan on reviving the boys soccer program next year. That return will hinge on both a boost in enrollment and interest in the sport, however, which is why TC is currently cultivating future soccer talent at the junior high level and encouraging those who are interested in soccer to remain interested.
“We’re encouraging them to play soccer in some form, whether it’s indoor or a recreation league,” Smith said. “We anticipate the enrollment to go up next year. We’re hoping the kids who want to play soccer play in some form this year so they can be back and ready to play for us next year.”