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Soccer co-op – Our view: Kudos to GSL, Hutch

Glencoe-Silver Lake and Hutchinson school districts are proposing a soccer cooperative between the two school districts.
While we don’t know how all the details of the proposed cooperative will shake out, we hope it will be as successful as possible. The people involved – players, their families, coaches and school administrators – will determine success collectively. The Hutchinson and GSL school districts should be commended for looking at the issue, setting their own self-interests aside, and considering a proposal that works for the best of the common good.
The GSL girls have played as one team while the boys formed a cooperative team with Mayer Lutheran/Watertown-Mayer and Central (NYA) schools. Superintendent Chris Sonju said the proposed arrangement is a better proposal than the existing agreement.
The fact of the matter is neither GSL or Hutchinson was able last fall to field the level of program it wanted, when measured by the number of wins and losses or the number of players who committed to being on the team. On the girls’ side, despite their best efforts, the GSL players weren’t competitive and all too often found themselves on the wrong end of lopsided scores. The GSL boys couldn’t field enough players and were relegated to a cooperative with Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran/Central (NYA).
For the cooperative effort to work, the two schools and players on the girls’ and boys’ teams need to promote participation. Current players need to encourage their soccer-playing friends to join the team and work collectively to make the co-op work. The cooperative effort can work if enough students are willing to show interest.
We understand everybody wants to play and be competitive. But to date, the two schools individually have struggled accomplishing that goal. Working together, they have a better opportunity at fielding a more competitive team, with ample number of players working to improve individually and collectively.
Will the proposed soccer cooperative run silky smooth from the first day? Probably not. Hopefully, whatever issues arise can be addressed easily and without interruption of participation of students at both schools.
GSL and Hutch will discuss common uniforms and a team name after two successful seasons. There’s no sense purchasing uniforms until then.
It seems the two school districts have worked out details like uniforms, schedule and coaching to the best of their abilities. Still, adjustments can be made as the co-op evolves and numbers increase.
To its credit, GSL offers its secondary students plenty of opportunities to participate in school activities. The district reports well over 90 percent of its junior and senior high-school students are active in some form of activity.
Long-term, the solution to fielding well-stocked, competitive teams is probably convincing ample number elementary school students. A viable soccer program is, in general, more of a challenge to the cross-country team than it is to football. Building a competitive program through youth programs is known to work, just like football, basketball and baseball programs in the two schools.
The GSL School Board will formally consider its share of the proposal at an upcoming meeting. In the name of providing students as many opportunities as possible, we hope the cooperative soccer program between Glencoe-Silver Lake and Hutchinson school districts succeeds.

-jm