A key role identified for Met Rec to fulfill as part of its strategic planning process was to serve as a catalyst for recreation opportunities. Met Rec’s 2020 Community Collaboration grant program brought many critical recreation needs to the forefront, including the opportunity to help launch Gunnison High School’s first-ever Boys Soccer Team.
Over the last five years, soccer has grown from being offered solely as a recreational sport to a competitive, state-level program within the Colorado Soccer Association. It has also grown from a two-season to four-season sport. Prior to this year, there was no option for Gunnison High School players to continue playing in Gunnison during the traditional fall season.
“Offering a sport where students feel successful and feel a sense of belonging will provide them with motivation and skills to be more successful in their academic classes.”
– Susan Powers, Gunnison High School Boys Soccer Coach
For the new team to be permanently added, it must complete a four year ‘probationary period’ for which a group of volunteers is responsible for raising the funds necessary to run the program in that time. The volunteers responsible for raising funds for the team’s first four years are part of the Committee for GHS Boys Soccer and consist of community representatives and committed current and future team-member parents.
This year, the committee was charged with raising approximately $4,300 for the team’s second year (2021), the majority of which was funded by a Met Rec Community Collaboration grant. Following the probationary period, the school district will take on the full financial responsibility, ensuring the new team’s long-term sustainability.
The new team will serve players in grades 9 through 12 (ages 14-19). With promising numbers, the program will grow from having a Junior Varsity team to Junior Varsity and Varsity teams for the fall of 2022. The team’s first season was set to begin this August, however, given the impacts of COVID-19, the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) has postponed the soccer season until the spring of 2021.