AWC to add new sport to athletic department for first time since 1999
Yuma, Arizona Ė February 27, 2013 Ė Arizona Western College is proud to announce that the school will add womenís 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, menís & womenís soccer, menís & womenís basketball, baseball, softball and cheer). The move also brings the number of schools within the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference participating in womenís soccer to eleven. Itís the first time since the college added womenís 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 womenís soccer for the vast array of talented girlsí 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 womenís 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. ďThis is an opportunity to expand our scope that Iíve been excited about and hopeful about for quite a while,Ē said Smith. ďThis 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.Ē
It was also announced that the head coach for the Lady Matadorsí Soccer team would be a familiar one as current menís 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 womenís soccer program in the ACCAC, having come to AWC in 2005 (to become the schoolís first full-time head soccer coach) after spending seven years as the womenís 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 womenís soccer roster immediately, and plans to hold tryouts within the next couple of weeks. ďIím really excited about this opportunity,Ē remarked Dale. ďIíve had so many people ask me when this day would happen, and itís amazing that itís here. Iím going to have some organizational meetings and tryouts to galvanize the soccer community and get them together.Ē 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 Menís & Womenís Soccer teams will play conference doubleheaders, and the womenís 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 menís start time will now move back an hour to 7PM.