The action came after Cecilia High School principal Anthony Polotzola voiced his strong opposition to the plan.
Reminding board members that school principals have traditionally been allowed to make decisions regarding varsity sports at their schools, Polotzola said he would “fight it (soccer) tooth and nail” and would not sanction any school-sponsored fund raisers for a soccer program.
He said that he and his one assistant principal are already saddled with overseeing 75 home games for varsity sports each year. “I only have one day off a week, and I am not going to give up my Saturdays for soccer,” he said. “We’re already two coaches short (at CHS) and I don’t want to deal with a non-faculty soccer coach.”
“I ask that you respect me as a principal and not approve soccer at Cecilia High School,” he concluded.
Principals at Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville high schools supported Polotzola’s opposition to adding soccer as a varsity sport. Rene Angelle of BBHS said there was no demand for the sport in his area and SMSH principal Michael Kreamer agreed. “I feel we have enough sports, with four for boys and four for girls,” Kreamer told board members. “And I’ve never been approached (by anyone wanting soccer).”
In February a group of Cecilia area parents had asked the board to consider adding high school soccer. Rachel Tauzin, a spokesperson for the group, said four District 6-4A schools and 19 others in the immediate area currently field soccer teams.
The Cecilia Youth Soccer Association sponsors recreational soccer for children ages 4 through 14 and had almost 300 participants this past season, according to Tauzin.
Superintendent Richard Lavergne and Ron LeBlanc, director of administration and operations, had offered a set of guidelines for the board to consider in implementing high school soccer. The guidelines included:
•It would be a self-funded program that would adhere to the school activities funds management guidelines of the parish;
•A school board professional-based employee (preferably a school based professional) would serve as a faculty representative if a non-faculty head coach was utilized;
•Program would adhere to all LHSAA regulations and school board policies;
•If non-faculty head/coaches were chosen, they must be approved by the school’s principal and athletic director.
After hearing Polotzola’s strong objections, District 10 representative Mark Hebert offered a motion to table the issue and the board agreed, with only Aaron Flegeance objecting and Wanda Babin abstaining.
In a statement to the Teche News, Tauzin commented, “The young people are so disappointed in the way this is turning out.
“Cecilia High is a great school. The kids love it and want to represent CHS on the soccer field. It is unfortunate that the principal of CHS is so vocally opposed to soccer at the school.
“As per the implementation guidelines presented to the board, the soccer program would be totally self-supported by the booster club – no school board funding. Even if the board votes to allow soccer in the high schools in the parish, establishing teams at CHS would be an uphill battle. Mr. Polotzola stated at the meeting that he won’t have soccer and will oppose any fundraising and coaching appointments.
“Basically, we might be able to start a team on paper, but the principal has final approval over critical areas such as coach approval.”