Owensboro and Apollo rejoice 30 years of women’ soccer

Owensboro and Apollo rejoice 30 years of women’ soccer


Owensboro and Apollo celebrated their thirtieth 12 months anniversary of their ladies’ soccer applications. Apollo held a celebration that acknowledged members of the inaugural staff in August. Each the Girl Purple Devils and the E-gals have had 30 years of gamers and coaches alike depart their marks on the applications, but it surely’s necessary to have a look again on the inaugural groups that acquired the ball rolling. 

In 1993, Owensboro created the ladies’ varsity soccer staff as a result of excessive petitioning of the feminine gamers who performed on the boys’ staff and their mother and father to create a separate lady’s staff. Sarah Loucks was one of many driving forces behind the creation of the staff. Loucks stated her mates expressed their curiosity in taking part in soccer alongside her as Loucks herself performed for the Owensboro Youth Soccer Affiliation and for the OHS boys’ junior varsity staff. 

“I had a bunch of my feminine mates inform me they wished they may play soccer too, however have been bummed as a result of we didn’t have a woman’s staff,” she stated. “As soon as I noticed we had sufficient ladies with curiosity, I simply requested Mr. VanWinkle. I keep in mind it was earlier than the primary bell one morning close to the top of my sophomore 12 months, and Mr. V was within the corridor, so I simply walked up, seemed up at him and stated, ‘Can we’ve got a woman’s soccer staff subsequent 12 months?’ He stared again down at me and stated, ‘sure.’ I keep in mind that complete alternate, Mr. (David) Johnson and Mr. (Tom) Purcell have been proper there they usually each checked out me, then at Mr V – and that was that. We had a woman’s staff.”

 Then senior Emily Ahnell, who would go on to be the staff’s main scorer that 12 months with 12 targets, was one other such participant who was excited for the creation of the brand new staff. Ahnell performed on the boys’ staff prior. She stated the bodily variations between the feminine and male athletes started to develop an excessive amount of for her to maintain up, so she was excited when Owensboro created the ladies’ staff. 

“I attempted to play on the OHS boys’ staff soccer staff for a few years, but it surely grew to become an excessive amount of because the boys have been simply larger and quicker,” she stated. “Then, in my senior 12 months, OHS began varsity soccer for the ladies. I used to be so excited to play soccer, my ardour, for my highschool.” 

Christy Chaney was additionally a senior on the staff that 12 months, and he or she skilled the identical difficulties taking part in on the boys’ staff alongside Ahnell and Loucks, she stated. The creation of the ladies’ staff helped feminine gamers like them thrive in a setting the place they competed in opposition to different ladies. 

“The one option to proceed taking part in soccer as soon as we aged out of the youth program was to play on the boys staff. Emily, Sarah and I performed our hearts out but it surely was bodily unattainable to compete on the identical stage as the boys and subsequently it stored us on the bench greater than we’d have preferred.”

“Mr. VanWinkle, the principal on the time, actually listened to us and our mother and father. He believed in ladies’s sports activities and helped make it occur. It not solely gave us a spot to actually shine and achieve success on our personal stage, however there was a security issue concerned in ladies taking part in sports activities and touring with different ladies.”

The primary staff of coaches was led by Michael Stinnett and Steve Bratcher. Stinnett, who’s now head coach of boys’ basketball at Beth Haven Christian in Louisville, was the assistant boys basketball coach for Owensboro, and had no prior expertise with soccer. He was requested to teach the staff alongside Bratcher and deal with numerous the paperwork, he stated.

“I used to be requested to teach the staff and deal with numerous the paperwork for the expertise of it,” he stated. “I actually loved it. It was an important expertise and we had some excellent ladies to work with and ended up having a really profitable season. Coach Steve Bratcher was the co-head coach and was the soccer man. He had numerous expertise with soccer and dealt with many of the practices and sport preparation. I did my greatest to encourage and encourage the ladies. We had a particular group of children and oldsters, they usually represented OHS in an excellent vogue on and off the sector. It was an important expertise for me.”

Bratcher was contemporary out of faculty and performed soccer in highschool, so Owensboro appointed him to teach the staff with Stinnett. About 21 ladies from various ages and grade ranges signed as much as play for the newly fashioned staff. All talent ranges have been invited to affix the staff as properly. There have been ladies who had performed on the boys’ groups and there have been those that had by no means performed soccer earlier than. Having performed for years on the membership stage previous to the inaugural OHS staff, Ahnell stated the various talent ranges of the staff was one thing that they needed to work round, she stated.

“It was an attention-grabbing expertise in that there have been some females who had performed soccer after which there have been some that have been new to the sport and inexperienced,” she stated. “It was robust attempting to stability the skilled with the inexperienced.”

Along with his soccer expertise, Bratcher led practices and acquired the ladies to play in opposition to different ladies’ groups within the space. This was not simple beginning out, as Bratcher stated they didn’t have an precise discipline to follow on nor did they’ve a wide selection of groups outdoors of Owensboro to play in opposition to.

“Daviess County I feel had a staff, however that was it,” he stated. “At the moment there weren’t many groups round right here besides Louisville and Lexington that had a ladies’ soccer staff. It’s very similar to how lacrosse has taken off now with there being pods of groups taking part in. We really had performed a number of groups from the Paducah space that first 12 months. That was our district as a result of we needed to chat with Paducah to play within the district event.”

“That first 12 months was attention-grabbing as a result of we didn’t have a follow discipline. We practiced behind 

Foust Elementary on makeshift targets. That’s kinda how we began. We performed our video games the place the boys performed theirs over on the center college. It was fairly a 12 months, however we acquired it began and it took off.”

Regardless of these hurdles, Loucks, Chaney and Ahnell keep in mind the season being enjoyable, aggressive and filled with classes of endurance, management and teamwork. 

“It was a lot enjoyable,” Loucks stated. “We have been aggressive, however I keep in mind simply having enjoyable collectively on and off the sector. And I do really feel like all of us knew it was cool to be the primary staff, particularly for Senior Excessive. We have been nonetheless a fairly large sport’s college.” 

Owensboro completed that season with a file of 7-7. They received the Metropolis-County Championship after beating Daviess County 2-0. They even made an look within the semifinals of the regional event by defeating Paducah Tilghman and Calloway County earlier than being eradicated by Henderson County. 

Each Loucks and Ahnell went on to play soccer in school. Ahnell signed to play soccer at Alabama and Loucks went on to play membership soccer on the College of Tennessee and West Virginia College. Wanting again, Ahnell was proud to be part of the Owensboro ladies’ soccer legacy and that she is glad this system is prospering at present. Loucks was simply blissful to get to play along with her mates and symbolize OHS. 

“It wasn’t about me then or now,” she stated. “I feel it was inevitable that we’d have a ladies staff, but it surely was largely as a result of I had so many mates who needed to play – and we acquired to play collectively! And for our faculty! Faculty sports activities have been an enormous deal after I was there and we cherished being part of that – not essentially the primary staff, though very cool, however simply that we had a staff.”

Wanting again, Chaney is grateful to those that supported the ladies in creating the staff. The one small choice to say sure has left a legacy of sports activities and life classes that she plans to cross right down to her personal daughters, she stated. 

“Emily and I have been seniors the primary 12 months of the staff, it was an unbelievable second in time to be part of after which stroll away leaving a legacy that also thrives 30 years later,” she stated. “It’s wonderful to know what can occur whenever you ask for equality and the individuals in cost hear and reply in a method that modifications the course of historical past even for one thing that appears as small as ladies’s soccer in Owensboro. We have been heard and valued, and that’s a life lesson I carry to at the present time as I increase my very own daughters to verify they’re heard and valued.”

Apollo’s ladies’ soccer program had comparable beginnings because the staff was made as a response to the creation of Owensboro’s staff. Like Loucks and Ahnell, Katy Harrison performed on Apollo’s boy’s junior varsity whereas she was within the eighth grade. As a freshman, she was the only lady who tried out for the boys’ staff, however was discouraged after the primary follow, she stated. 

“It was not enjoyable,” she stated. “It was sort of that first time that I actually observed a distinction in the way in which the boys carried out in comparison with how I carried out. They have been stronger and had extra stamina. It was that day I had the second the place I informed myself, ‘I like this sport, however I can’t do that anymore.’ That evening I keep in mind going residence, and that realization smacked me within the face. It wasn’t only a bodily factor, at that time it was emotional. ” 

Harrison talked to her mother and father that evening distraught as she had at all times performed with the boys since she was within the second grade. They requested her what she needed to do, and he or she had heard that Owensboro was making an all-girls’ staff, so she responded that she needed to begin an all-girls’ staff for Apollo as properly. Her solely different choice was to simply not play, however that wasn’t on the desk, she stated. 

Harrison and her mother and father began a petition to get the staff created, and Harrison went to work recruiting. She referred to as round and requested ladies across the space if that they had any curiosity in taking part in for Apollo. Regardless of some ladies not having performed soccer earlier than, Harrison stated she gathered sufficient individuals to really feel assured in taking it up with the college board. They agreed, however there wasn’t a coach or a schedule. 

Kelly Skeens was already teaching the swim staff and was an assistant coach for the softball staff, however she jumped on the alternative to teach the ladies’ soccer staff when the announcement was made on the annual coaches assembly, she stated. 

“An announcement was made on the annual coaches assembly that we (Apollo) have been beginning a ladies soccer staff they usually wanted a soccer coach,” she stated. “I used to be already teaching the swim staff and was an assistant softball coach, however I volunteered to teach as a result of I needed to help the ladies and oldsters who took the initiative to get a staff began. I informed Coach McClure, who was the athletic director on the time, that I might coach the staff, however he would wish to seek out an assistant who knew all of the technical elements of the sport as a result of I had solely performed goalkeeper on an intramural staff in school.” 

 “Practices ought to have began a number of weeks earlier than a staff was even put collectively so we have been actually behind. Every part occurred so quick.  We needed to order uniforms and tools and get a spot to follow. We had a few mother and father who have been integral in serving to get the whole lot off the bottom that 12 months.”

The staff consisted of 25 ladies of various expertise and talent ranges. Laurel Murphy joined the staff with no prior expertise, like different ladies, solely as a result of she needed to offer soccer a strive. On the time, Murphy was already on the softball and basketball groups. She discovered the principles of the sport together with including the soccer staff to her listing of “firsts” with Apollo, which included taking part in on the primary basketball staff to win a sport within the state event and successful the primary and solely state title in softball. 

“It was very particular,” she stated. “I used to be lucky to be part of a number of ‘firsts’ at Apollo, and being part of the primary soccer staff as a sophomore began it off.”

Regardless of many of the staff not having performed earlier than, the staff earned 4 wins of their first season and had an total file of 4-8-1. Attributable to her different teaching duties for the swimming and softball groups, Skeens solely served as head coach for that first 12 months. Skeens stated that trying again she is grateful for the expertise and was amazed at  how a lot they improved and what they have been capable of accomplish. She remembers a particular time of pleasure after the staff had received their first away sport. 

“I keep in mind us enhancing skillwise and enhancing working as a staff every sport,” she stated. “The ladies have been so decided to be staff. I keep in mind taking part in an away sport, I feel it was our first sport and we received. I keep in mind us all going loopy with pleasure after the sport. I joked with the others that it felt like we had received the World Cup. I used to be doused with water after the sport. It’s a kind of moments in your life that you just at all times keep in mind. I’m so appreciative of the whole expertise and dealing with such an superior group of women who have been so aggressive and devoted! Wanting again, it’s actually wonderful what they did and completed that first 12 months.”

As for Harrison, she stated that the game of soccer has been along with her all through her life, and the reminiscence of taking part in for and serving to get the inaugural staff began is part of the legacy that the game has left in her life. 

“After I look again on it, it’s positively a proud second,” she stated. “I cherished the game, and I nonetheless love the game. It’s been part of my life repeatedly. I’ve coached the soccer groups at Owensboro center college and Owensboro highschool. I even have a son that performs now, so it simply retains reappearing in my life. I feel that may be a legacy in itself as properly that although I don’t play anymore, I’m nonetheless actually related to the game.”

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