Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

Photos by Robin Nobles
The little ones of the recreational teams fight for the ball. “They learn young to just go for the ball,” parents shared.

Many said they were “as happy as a lark” as the soccer team, coaches and family members gleefully exited the Media Room at Craig County High School.

On Tuesday, July 11, at the monthly School Board meeting, the Board had been asked to consider the community recreational soccer team to the school’s Varsity team. It has been supported by community members, both as volunteers and financially for 10 years. “An actual ‘school club’ was organized by Levi Helm and Zachary Nobles five years ago,” Varsity Coach Robin Nobles shared. “The players and parents have fund-raised and covered all costs since.”

However, on Tuesday night, the School Board unanimously voted to accept the Varsity Soccer team as a Craig County School sport. “Craig County High School now has an official Boys Varsity Soccer team,” they all yelled.

All students from Craig County Schools, grades ninth through twelfth qualify to play, both boys and girls, are encouraged to try out if they have a desire for the sport. “Currently there are not enough girls to support a girl’s team, so they are allowed to play on the Boys Varsity Team until one can be established,” Nobles said.

High school in-scholastic soccer will be played in the Spring. Students wanting to participate can try out for the team in February of 2018, when practices begin. “The athletic meetings are scheduled at the Open House for all varsity sports and those who wish to play need to attend,” Nobles said. Also, all athletes must submit an athletic sports physical.

New Castle Knights travel team player Hannah Altizer looks for the open pass to Josh Menezes during a home game against West Virginia.

To ease the cost of a new varsity sport, the coaches have signed an agreement to wave their stipend for three years. “The team will fundraise and support the booster club to cover the cost of uniforms and officials,” Nobles added.

The team practices in the spring the same as the other VHSL (Virginia High School League) spring sports, such as baseball, softball and track. Players interested in trying out in the spring will be encouraged to participate in Fall and Winter soccer conditioning as permitted by VHSL. Nobles shared that they will probably play the same schools in soccer as the football teams play. “We will play up to 16 games,” she said.

“We also had a school sponsored middle school soccer club for one year, in Spring of 2015,” Nobles added. However, they had so many players in 2016 that they formed a non-school sponsored middle school travel team.

“That travel team, called the New Castle Knights, has been undefeated for two years!” Nobles exclaimed. “And seven players are now in high school and will be trying out for the spring Varsity team.” They had 28 kids playing in 2016 and 18 kids in 2017.

Austin Logan prepares to defend a possible goal attempt by a Stuart Hall player during a CCHS Soccer Club home game. Alex Lucas and Heather Crouch move to help defend the goal area.

“The school has been supportive of the school soccer club,” Nobles said appreciatively. “Our parents and players are excited and grateful to the school board for making soccer an official Craig County High School sport and plan on working hard to make the team successful!”

Nobles also wants the community to know that recreation soccer teams will start sign-ups in August. “We usually have approximately 65 kids playing,” Nobles said. Kids eight and older play in the recreation league and travel to Covington for most games, however, Covington comes to Craig for at least two games.

The fun part is that kids as young as three-years-old can play. “Ages three to seven stay here in New Castle and participate in a ‘modified soccer’ program,” Nobles said.

The cost is $35 for the older group and $25 for the younger group plus the cost of a soccer shirt. For more information, contact the Athletic Director Carrie Hutton, at 864-5185. “We’re here to play, and we’re here to stay” seems to be the echoing chant of the new Boys Varsity Soccer Team.

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