AWC to add new sport to athletic department for first time since 1999
Yuma, Arizona – February 27, 2013 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that the school will add women’s soccer to their athletic department beginning in the 2013-14 academic and athletic year. The college finally determined that this was the right time to set forth the idea that had been a college-wide objective for the last several years. The move means that the college will now be able to offer soccer scholarships for both men and women, and the announcement brings the number of sports within the athletic programs to nine (football, volleyball, men’s & women’s soccer, men’s & women’s basketball, baseball, softball and cheer). The move also brings the number of schools within the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference participating in women’s soccer to eleven. It’s the first time since the college added women’s basketball in 1999 that AWC has added a sport. The announcement was made this afternoon at the AWC main campus.
The move ends a five-year quest by the college to offer women’s soccer for the vast array of talented girls’ soccer student-athletes moving up through the high school ranks in Yuma County as well as the surrounding areas in the region. The idea was first hatched in 2007, when AWC Athletic Director Jerry Smith polled students at every high school in Yuma & La Paz Counties as to what sports they would like to see added by the college, and women’s soccer was overwhelmingly the top choice. AWC officials had originally declared to the ACCAC & Region I that they intended to start up the program a couple of years ago, but budget constraints forced them to postpone the idea. “This is an opportunity to expand our scope that I’ve been excited about and hopeful about for quite a while,” said Smith. “This is a great step forward for the college, Matador Athletics, and young female soccer student-athletes throughout our region that have waited for this chance to stay home to get a college education while still playing the sport they love.”
It was also announced that the head coach for the Lady Matadors’ Soccer team would be a familiar one as current men’s head soccer coach Kenny Dale will hold the reins to both programs in 2013-14. It will be the second time that Dale will oversee a women’s soccer program in the ACCAC, having come to AWC in 2005 (to become the school’s first full-time head soccer coach) after spending seven years as the women’s head soccer coach at Cochise College in Douglas, and leading the Lady Apaches to a pair of 2nd-place finishes, 6 Region I Playoff appearances, and a berth in the 2001 & 2003 Region I Finals during his tenure. Dale will begin recruiting for the women’s soccer roster immediately, and plans to hold tryouts within the next couple of weeks. “I’m really excited about this opportunity,” remarked Dale. “I’ve had so many people ask me when this day would happen, and it’s amazing that it’s here. I’m going to have some organizational meetings and tryouts to galvanize the soccer community and get them together.” Dale added that the first organizational meeting will be held this Monday night, March 4th, at the Frances Morris Boardroom at the 3C Building on campus starting at 7PM. Parents, prospective student-athletes, and interested parties are encouraged to attend, and there is no cost.
Per ACCAC rules, like in basketball, the Matador Men’s & Women’s Soccer teams will play conference doubleheaders, and the women’s soccer team will play a total of 20 conference matches. Game times for the 2013 season will be 4:30PM starts for the women, and the men’s start time will now move back an hour to 7PM.