By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Ram and Lady Ram soccer players will be kicking the ball around in their first practice Monday, less than nine months after the Portales school board approved the re-starting of the program.
Between the hiring of a coach and the installation of two fields, administrators say they’re ready.
“Growing grass and things like that isn’t as major of a problem as finding a person that is going to be a good coach and teacher for the students involved in that program,” Portales schools superintendent Randy Fowler said.
Portales resident and youth soccer coach Traci Sievers was hired to coach the girls program. After a search for a boys coach fizzled, Sievers agreed to coach the boys as well.
“We were very fortunate to get someone who was willing to coach and (is) a certified teacher, but we were not able to get two,” Fowler said. “That will be an issue for a while until our program gets established, and then I think later on we’ll be able to find a qualified male coach.”
Another major component in re-starting the program was purchasing equipment and getting a suitable field ready.
“We started looking at that when the board decided we would have a program,” Fowler said. “From February, March and April we were looking at purchasing things that we needed and making sure that we had what we needed to begin the program this August.”
PHS principal Melvin Nusser said the field was a high priority.
“At that time we got hooked up with Matt Gomez, the maintenance department director, and started looking at field locations,” Nusser said.
Two regulation fields were developed between the school’s baseball field and the gymnasium, with a new sprinkler system installed.
“In the over 30 years that I’ve been in this district, that’s the first time I’ve seen that area receive any kind of water other than rain water,” Fowler said. “I felt like we needed to have a system where we could get the fields in good shape
“I think they will just continue to get better as we have time to work on those fields.”
The Lady Rams’ open the season at home against Hobbs on Aug. 25, while both teams host Carlsbad three days later.