Friendship Soccer Teams Now Have Place to Play Games
Carroll, Amanda, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Amanda Carroll Daily Herald Staff Writer
A rowdy bunch of soccer boys and soccer girls are roaming the halls of Friendship Junior High, but they're no longer searching for a place to play the game.
Hoping to hook even more students on the thrill of athletics, the Des Plaines school recently added a soccer team to its fall line-up of cross country and basketball.
Soccer, school officials said, would reach out to students who might not be interested in those other sports.
A soccer team would attract girls as well as boys, and it would draw in students who have roots in countries where soccer fans have always crowded into stadiums.
"Soccer is a sport that's popular in those countries (Mexico, Albania and Poland)," said Mark Kadzielawa, who coaches the sixth-grade team. "It would be natural for them to try out and play. But it's becoming popular here, too."
Karla Alcanter, a seventh-grader who is Hispanic, said she "didn't really play (organized) sports" before she joined the team this fall.
"We (Hispanics) have our own style," Alcanter explained. "We push and pass more."
But soccer enthusiasts like Alcanter were almost left all dressed up in shin guards and cleats with no place to go. Because no other middle school in Elk Grove Area District 59 offers soccer at the competitive level, school officials scrambled to find competition for the team.
Luckily, the Mount Prospect Park District Youth Soccer League welcomed Friendship's four 15-player teams.
"(The Mount Prospect Park District) has really nursed us through this," Assistant Principal Ron Lavine said. …