For many years in the Northwest school district, girls who played the sport of soccer played it knowing a sport they loved to play would only be available until the completion of their eighth grade year.
That fact alone would explain the obvious excitement and enthusiasm that Northwest Athletic Director Dave Frantz has when describing the implementation of a girls soccer program at Northwest.
“The coaches and the girls themselves, with the help of the parents, have just done anything they could to get this program going,” Frantz said in an interview with the Daily Times. “They really want this, they’ve worked for it and I am proud of them.”
Northwest becomes the third high school in Scioto County to offer girls soccer, joining Minford and West. However, Frantz said that more schools in Scioto County and in neighboring counties could possibly offer girls soccer in the future.
“There are three or four other schools from inside the SOC (Southern Ohio Conference) that are talking about starting up programs, and we’re hoping that they do,” Frantz added. “Also, there are two or three more schools from other leagues that are looking to create, for lack of a better term, a sub-league so it could give the girls an opportunity to play for a championship.”
According to Frantz, the sub-league could possibly include a couple of Ohio Valley Conference schools, South Point, Chesapeake and even Ironton St. Joseph. Those schools would then join forces with Northwest to create a six-team league that would span across Lawrence, Pike and Scioto counties. If the league is eventually formed, more SOC schools could be invited to the league if the SOC is not able to get enough teams to form a soccer league of its own.
Frantz mentioned that one of his main concerns about starting up the soccer program was finding enough opponents to play Northwest for the upcoming season, but evidently that was a low hurdle to clear.
“I had a schedule made in hour and a half,” Frantz said. “I actually had to turn a couple of games away.”
As the first girls soccer coach in Northwest history, Lonnie Throuckmorton admits that his nerves are running high as the season draws near.
“I am excited, a little nervous, just feeling a little bit of everything right now,” Throuckmorton said.
Normally numbers for a first-year program are relatively low, but for Throuckmorton, that has not been the case as he has managed to get 22 girls to come out for the team this season.
While the roster has plenty of youth on it with only four seniors and three juniors, it sets up nicely for the future as Throuckmorton has plenty of freshman and sophomores at his disposal.
Overall, both Throuckmorton and Frantz are very excited for the season to start.
“We’re still learning the terminology of the game and we’re young, but overall, I am really proud of the way the girls have worked and progressed over the past month,” Throuckmorton said. “They’ve come a long way.”
Frantz says there are many people to thank within the school system, especially in the feeder programs.
“We have a real great soccer program,” Frantz said. “I can’t emphasize that enough, as far as the people that run it, from our high school coaches being involved to all of our volunteer coaches at the youth level, and it’s really neat to go watch them because they do an excellent job. They are the key to all of this.”