Friday, September 25, 2009

Valdosta State University to Add Women's Soccer in 2011

Valdosta State will field women's soccer as an intercollegiate sport beginning in 2011, according to an announcement made by VSU President Patrick Schloss and Athletic Director Herb Reinhard during a press conference at the University Center Wednesday.

"I am pleased to announce the addition of women's soccer as the 12th intercollegiate and sixth women's sport at Valdosta State," said Schloss in making the announcement. "We will join the Gulf South Conference as one of nine schools to sponsor this sport. We feel that we are well positioned geographically to become a power in this sport and look forward to seeing this new team uphold the proud tradition that is Valdosta State Athletics."

Reinhard indicated that a national coaching search will begin within the next 3 weeks and that the University planned on having its newest coach in place during the later winter or early spring months of 2010.

"Our timeline includes getting a coach in here as quickly as possible," he said. "That will give whoever leads our new program basically all of 2010 and the first half of 2011 to get everything involved with starting a new program, including recruiting, scheduling and buying equipment, completed."

Both Schloss and Reinhard pointed to the support of the Valdosta State campus and Valdosta community as a major factor in choosing VSU's newest Division II program.

"I would like to say that we really appreciate the Student Government Association for their support and input as we have moved forward with adding another sport at Valdosta State," Schloss added. "Likewise, the support from our community, which has already stepped forward with offers of funding, has been unbelievable. The response from all parties has been positive and shows that they believe in this move and how it will benefit the University as a whole."

Reinhard also added that much of the infrastructure for the new program has already been put in place, making the decision to add women's soccer easier.

"We planned ahead when building the new Athletic Fieldhouse," he concluded. "The infrastructure, including locker rooms and coaches offices, was included with the new Fieldhouse. Additionally, we have the space behind that building to build a playing surface, along with two football practice fields."

Women's soccer will be the first sport Valdosta State has added since the school began women's volleyball in 1995. In addition to becoming the ninth GSC school to sponsor the sport, VSU will become the 21st NCAA institution to participate in the sport in the state of Georgia, including the seventh Division II program. One of the nation's fastest growing sports among females, girls soccer is currently sponsored by 310 high schools in the state of Georgia.

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