Womens Soccer Coming to UNK in 2009 17th Intercollegiate Sport

Renee Ballenger

The Athletic Department kicked off this new year with an exciting announcement on how the sports landscape at UNK will be enhanced at the start of next year. As of Fall 2009,Women’s Soccer will become part of the intercollegiate sports opportunities at UNK.

“I believe that women’s soccer will be a wonderful addition to UNK in general,” Chancellor Doug Kristensen states, “and to our athletic program in particular. It will increase opportunities for women who wish to participate in university athletics; it will increase opportunities for fan participation; and it is a program that has been requested repeatedly by our student body.”

Jon McBride, Athletic Director, echoes Kristensen’s sentiment. “We have been impressed by the grassroots support that currently exists for soccer and we are definitely encouraged about this sport’s potential.”

With this addition, UNK will become the 11th school in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to sponsor women’s soccer. The Division II collegiate regular season runs from August to early November with the NCAA Championships running from the second week of November to early December. UNK’s soccer team will play its home games at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field.

School officials expect the Loper women’s soccer program, with an annual budget of approximately $120,000, to be financially selfsustaining through a combination of resources, including private donations, newly-established student activity fees and program revenue.

“It is a win-win-win proposition,” Kristensen says. “I am grateful to Jon McBride and his staff for turning a vision into reality, and am very excited about what the future holds.”

UNK will advertise for the head soccer coaching position this fall with an aim to have a person hired by December. McBride comments: “We look forward to bringing in a top-notch soccer coach who will work closely with the Kearney and Central Nebraska soccer communities to build upon the existing interest level and then grow the sport.”

Besides UNO, other area schools that sponsor women’s soccer include Wayne State, Missouri Western State, NW Missouri State and nearly all of Nebraska’s NAIA institutions.

“We anticipate UNK women’s soccer to be extremely popular right from the first kick,”McBride exclaims. “Soccer was the only championship sport sponsored by the NSAA (Nebraska School Activities Association) not previously offered by UNK. Many of the top feeder high schools to UNK already have girls’ soccer programs. It’s a championship sport sponsored by the RMAC. . . it just makes a lot of sense to add this sport at this time.”