Eudora High soccer: Alive and kicking
Eudora High School soccer coach Erik Peltzman and assistant coach Jaclyn Naster are at the beginning of an exciting project at Eudora High School the creation of a brand new soccer program.
"I've been really impressed," Peltzman said. "They've picked up a lot really quick."
The Cardinals began soccer camp July 25 with two-a-day sessions. The first year co-ed team, 12 boys and 10 girls at the camp, took the field from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and then went at it again from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The squad spent time working on various drills such as passing and give-and-go. They also had a scrimmage.
Although the coaching duo will need to build the program from the ground up, they have an all-state caliber athlete on their roster for the next two seasons.
Junior Tighe Van Anne, the top runner on the Eudora cross country team and the team's lone state meet qualifier, gave up running long and windy courses in favor of playing midfielder for the inaugural Eudora High School soccer team.
Choosing soccer over cross country was a no-brainer for Van Anne. He's played the sport with some of his Eudora teammates since the sixth grade. Naster said she thought Van Anne had a strong chance to play college soccer.
"It's more fun," Van Anne said of soccer. "It's more of a contact sport, and we're together as a team. I'm going to miss going to state (in cross country)."
Joining Van Anne on the soccer squad are his former cross country teammates sophomores William Bock and William Steel and juniors Jeff Jones and Ian Mater.
Mater said several of the soccer players have awaited the chance to play competitively for their own school.
"We've been playing soccer since almost before we walked," Mater said. "Cross country was kind of getting us in shape for this."
Naster is optimistic about the future of the Eudora program. A Kansas University student who is student-teaching this fall at De Soto High School, Naster has worked with about half of the 30 Cardinals on a 15-and-under Eudora club team since 2000.
"They're out here to prove soccer should be at the high school," Naster said. "They are just good kids. This gives them the opportunity to be competitive and work hard."
She said the Cardinals have a tentative schedule against Lawrence Bishop Seabury, Topeka Highland Park, and a district team from Wyandotte County. Both Peltzman and Naster hope to add some "friendly" games to the schedule but are aware not everything will run smoothly in year one.
"It's our first year it's going to be rough," Naster said. "We want to get the community interested. Soccer gets in your blood."
Naster knows the harsh reality is some people in the Eudora community will not welcome the team with open arms.
"I hope there's no friction," She said of the competition between different sports at Eudora High. "This is about kids wanting to play soccer. It's giving them the choice of what they want to play."
Naster, who was part of a 6A State Championship team at Blue Valley North High School in 1998, has a vision for the future of the Cardinals program if things go according to plans.