As various summer sports program are entering competition on a more regular basis, a new partnership between Belle Plaine and Jordan high schools is blossoming.
For the first year, the two schools will jointly compete in the same soccer program. The boys will play as the Hubmen, and the girls will play as the Jaguars, both Jordan mascots.The teams will compete in the Wright County Conference East Division.
With the future of next fall season being uncertain at best, Tim Wareham, who is stepping in as the boys soccer coach for the first time this year, is cautiously optimistic about the partnership's future. Dennis Yunke will coach the girls.
"I believe this union of the schools for soccer can play an important role in our growth towards being a winning program," Wareham said "The arrangement makes a great deal of sense for the two communities. It will strengthen the program, increase competition and give Belle Plaine soccer players the opportunity to play high school soccer, which I hope they will relish."
Wareham expects 45-50 returning Jordan players from eighth to 12th grade in addition to the seventh graders who will try out on the boys' side. So far it's too early to tell how many Belle Plaine athletes will participate on either the boys' or girls' side, but he is eager to welcome all who do opt to join.
"This is an exciting time for me to be coming in as the new coach. It's going to be a truly clean slate for every single player this year - whether they are Jordan or Belle Plaine based. I really hope the players from both Belle Plaine and Jordan are as excited by that as I am as they prep for tryouts in August," Wareham said.
The team has begun optional practices with limited attendance, but as tryouts approach, Wareham is eager to see what the two towns can bring to the field.
With the boys soccer team entering its sixth year, Wareham said he envisions taking the already established program to the next level of competition and hopes to see long-term success starting with youth programs.
"Long-term success of the program will be founded on the growth of soccer in the local communities. We can't wait until players enter high school," Wareham said. "I am committed to working with the communities to create a pipeline of players with sound fundamentals and the soccer IQ we will need."