Here at Mountain View High School, we have not one but four soccer teams on campus. However, it has not always been this way. In the late 60’s, while MVHS was still “Chester F. Awalt High School,” just one team was struggling to get up and running.
Douglas Bailey, former teacher at Awalt High School and current substitute in the MVLA school district, knows the history of our school soccer team based on his first-hand involvement in the process.
Bailey started teaching geography at Awalt in 1966, and began coaching tennis his second year at the school. He was already a big fan of soccer and enjoyed the sport, even though he had never played it officially. One day, in his geography class, he showed his students a film on soccer called The World’s Most Popular Sport. Many students immediately became hooked.
That day at lunch, some water polo players came into Bailey’s room asking if they could put together a soccer team at the school. It was their off season for water polo and they had become fascinated by the sport since seeing the documentary. So, they began to organize games every Saturday at local parks with about a dozen players.
As time went by, Bailey and the soccer team began to take note that many private schools in the area had their own soccer teams. Consequently, they began traveling to these schools, like St. Francis and Woodside Priory, to play against them.
The team was still in its early stages at this point — uniforms were either their P.E. clothing or from the local military surplus store, and goals were constructed from pipes and camouflage netting.
The next step was to make soccer an official sport at the school, which is where things became complicated. The athletic director at the time denied their request to become an official team because there were already enough sports, and staff would need to be assigned for supervision. This was frustrating for Bailey and the boys because many schools in the area had already been establishing soccer teams.
Another factor preventing the team from becoming official was that the school wanted to keep football and basketball as their dominant sports. According to Bailey, some PE instructors would often use their class period as recruiting time for the sports they coached.
Despite these complications and difficulties, the boys on the “team” decided to make a petition against the director’s decision. Eventually, the athletic director spoke with Bailey and decided to give the team a budget, providing referees for the games. This was one of the first major steps taken in eventually having the soccer teams we have today. It took a few seasons to work out minor kinks, but besides that, a boys soccer team had at last been formally established.
As for a girls soccer team, there wasn’t one. Once the Awalt team started playing against more schools, a girl from England moved into the area and played on the team for a year. She was fairly well known, being the only girl in the league at the time. Furthermore, the AYSO soccer program had been established just several years prior in the mid 60s, which some girls had been playing on. A similar process to what the boys went through was then established to form a girls soccer team at Awalt. By the 1980s, the girls’ soccer team was made official.
Now, here we are in 2015 with a Girls’ Varsity, Boys’ Varsity, Girls’ Junior Varsity, and Boys’ Junior Varsity soccer team — all of which have official uniforms, coaches, referees, and set game schedules. And in regards to achievements, the Girls’ Varsity team just recently won CCS championships.
“[Without soccer at MVHS], I wouldn’t be able to represent the school doing something I love,” Allie Coyne, the Girls’ Varsity soccer team captain, said.
“School would be a lot more dull for me personally [without soccer]because soccer is my favorite sport, and I wouldn’t be able to play it very much if it wasn’t offered at school,” Anders Eckerberg, a player on the Boys’ Junior Varsity soccer team, said. He also enjoys “getting to know more people that [he]wouldn’t have known without soccer, as well as playing the sport itself.”
Clearly, for a large portion of the MVHS student body, soccer has become a major aspect of their life at school, and it was greatly due to the hard work and determination of a group of students and their inspiring teacher.