East Clinton may add a girls soccer program next year


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Sabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian, right foreground, gives his report to the board of education, as board member Amy Zimmerman listens.

Sabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian, right foreground, gives his report to the board of education, as board member Amy Zimmerman listens.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

SABINA — East Clinton officials will look further into the potential of adding a girls soccer program next school year.

Sixty-four girls presently in grades 11 through 6 indicate an interest in playing soccer, according to a report from Brian Carey, the athletic director (AD) for East Clinton High School and Middle School.

Of those, 42 of them do not currently play a fall sport, according to the same report.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, EC Supt. Eric Magee said if soccer is added, those 42 girls could be connected in a way they are not at this point.

He said for those girls, it would be “a way to develop some ownership and pride in what it means to be an Astro.”

The discussion Tuesday followed up on a September board meeting where Carey addressed the board regarding the potential to add a soccer program at East Clinton.

The Sabina Church of Christ has seen growth over the last few years in its soccer program for children through age 11, but after aging out of that program there is not a school soccer team to join at East Clinton to continue playing soccer, Carey said in September, according to the official minutes.

This week Magee said one concern that’s been brought up was ensuring the school district is able to meet some needs in the Astros’ existing sports.

Specifically, the EC track program does not have a full set of hurdles, said Magee. The superintendent related that the athletic director took inventory of the existing hurdles and has a plan to purchase 20 more, which would give EC a full set. That would allow East Clinton to be able to host a track meet next spring.

Carey is still working on some of the details and there is not an official recommendation at this point to add a girls soccer program, said Magee, but he added that Carey thinks as long as he can secure the material pieces that are needed, a girls program can start next school year.

Those material pieces include purchasing the goals (nets), practice locations, and a plan on how to maintain the field conditions of the football field where soccer games would mean another user.

Board member Amy Zimmerman said she definitely loves the idea of a soccer program, but she doesn’t love the idea of adding another program when the current sports programs have needs.

Board member Dr. Robert Carey said he thinks people have wanted soccer at East Clinton for so long that it will be surprising how fast it develops.

The superintendent said the numbers do not support starting a boys soccer program. Twenty-nine boys expressed interest, with 13 of those currently in the sixth grade.

In other news, groundbreaking for the construction of a new middle school and renovation of the high school will be held in two weeks. Hard hats and shovels will be put to use on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Lees Creek campus. The band will play at 1:45 p.m., with a ceremony to begin at 2 p.m.

Sabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian and Middle School Principal Matthew Melnek both reported some student behavior problems at their buildings. Willian referred to “a small portion of our fifth-grade boys, but they have an impact on others and they set a precedent when they deviate from the norm.”

Melnek said at the middle school there has been “an uptick in fights and different things like that.”

Both principals spoke about strategies and actions to address the behavioral issues.

Asked about the problems, Melnek said he thinks the adjustment of being back in person full-time is a factor, adding he thinks the pandemic has intensified issues a lot of the students in question already had.

Willian said when he looks at the fifth-graders in question, “a lot of the students who are ringleaders for lack of a better term, have experienced a significant trauma within the past year, be that with family, whatever.”

Traumas are definitely playing a role, said Willian, “and it’s only been heightened by COVID.”

Board member Tim Starkey wants residents of the school district to be aware that a Celebration of Life will be held for Coach Jeffery R. Craycraft from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at East Clinton High School in Lees Creek. Please RSVP to caitlyn.usborne@gmail.com .

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Sabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian, right foreground, gives his report to the board of education, as board member Amy Zimmerman listens.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_Willian_c.jpgSabina Elementary School Principal Matthew Willian, right foreground, gives his report to the board of education, as board member Amy Zimmerman listens. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com