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posted: 5/16/2014 5:00 AM

Palatine District 15 searches for venues for proposed soccer teams

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  • Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials are considering whether to start interscholastic soccer at the district's four junior high schools.

       Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials are considering whether to start interscholastic soccer at the district's four junior high schools.
    BOB CHWEDYK | Staff Photographer file photo


Palatine Township Elementary District 15 junior high students could score a new interscholastic sport.

Winston Campus Junior High Principal René Carranza has lobbied the district for girls and boys soccer teams whose seasons would cap off with a two-day tournament.

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Building the program could cost the district an estimated $50,000 upfront for uniforms for eight teams, coaches, referees, transportation and equipment.

The world's most popular sport has a strong following among students who have long called for interscholastic teams, officials say.

At Winston, the cost of joining area travel teams has kept the "vast majority" of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch on the sidelines, Carranza wrote in a letter to Superintendent Scott Thompson.

About 68 percent of Winston students are from low-income families, compared with nearly 42 percent districtwide, according to the latest state report card.

The district would charge an $85 fee per player and require students complete a sports physical.

If the school board gives the green light, soccer would join the district's five interscholastic sports: cross-country, basketball, volleyball, wrestling and track.

Some officials have raised concerns that funneling resources to a new program could hurt others.

But Thompson said administrators "don't see that taking away from participating in other programs."

Officials are searching for a venue for boys teams in the fall and girls teams in the spring. Each would play a six-game regular season.

"I don't see it as being a roadblock," said Thompson, adding that Palatine and Rolling Meadows park districts could open up fields to athletes.

The school board will vote on the proposal during its June 25 meeting at Walter R. Sundling Junior High School, 1100 N. Smith St., Palatine.

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