Men and women’s intercollegiate soccer is coming to the Lake Tahoe Community College in 2014.
The LTCC Board of Trustees voted in favor of launching the soccer program at its last meeting on June 25. The Physical Education Department is now developing the curriculum surrounding the program. A decision on a new team name and mascot will soon follow.
Job announcements for the related coaching positions will be released in August, and hiring decisions will be finalized by October. The teams will take the field competitively in September 2014.
The College hopes to join the highly competitive Big 8 Conference. Schools in this conference include American River, Consumnes River, Diablo Valley, Modesto, Santa Rosa, Sierra, Sacramento City, and San Joaquin Delta.
The start-up cost for the new soccer program is about $10,000. The annual cost thereafter will be nearly $100,000 per year. LTCC projects that the revenue generated from new student-athletes will help offset most of that cost.
“We’re looking at building two teams, a men’s team and a women’s team, with 20 students on each team, and that would more than cover the cost of the soccer program,” said Tom Greene, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services.
This is assuming that half of those players will be new full-time LTCC students, which is a fairly modest assumption considering that all players will need to be full-time students.
The LTCC Foundation will also launch the Athletic Booster Club to further help with funding. This booster club is projected to raise enough money for the $10,000 start-up cost, plus $3,500 annually to keep the program going. The Booster Club will also be responsible for developing volunteer support.
“But our primary purpose isn’t to generate revenue. Our primary purpose is to achieve our strategic planning goals — the goals of ensuring access, particularly to those who have been underserved in higher education,” Greene said. “How many professional soccer players are going to come out this program? I couldn’t tell you, but there’s a great chance they’re all going to come out with a college degree and greater opportunity.”
The soccer program wouldn’t be the college’s first intercollegiate athletic team. LTCC offered cross-country running, volleyball and Nordic ski teams throughout the 1990s, but the teams folded due to lack of student interest, according to LTCC Board Clerk Roberta Mason.
LTCC officials, however, feel strongly that the new soccer program will not mirror those past attempts. A great deal of research has gone into determining the community interest and talent level.
“Nothing is an exact science, but we came to the conclusion that the feedback we received said there is enough interest and enough talent to do this,” Greene said. “There’s a lot of interest in soccer that isn’t unique to small communities that say you’d get with a Nordic ski team. Soccer is international and there’s a huge amount of demand. Our interest is not only serving the needs within our community, but certainly seeing this as an opportunity for those who want to come to school in Tahoe and want to play soccer.”