(12-17-20) Yesterday two soccer coaches from Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) teams made the choice to step down. The MAC has only three schools that sponsor soccer 1 boys (New Knoxville) and two girls teams (Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s). All three schools compete in the single-sport Western Ohio Soccer League.

The MAC recently added one new sport to the conference ledger and that is bowling (boys and girls), while swimming and wrestling have not reached the MAC standards to be added.

So why is MAC schools avoiding the addition of boys or girls soccer? That is a good question. But the ‘elephant’ in the room for not adding boys soccer is pretty evident—FOOTBALL.

The MAC is easily one of the top high school football conferences in Ohio…they have been very dominant in D VI and D VII over recent years. But when it comes to soccer administrators and football coaches will not discuss the future of adding soccer. The main reason…that it will hurt the football program by taking away some top athletes.

The last school to discuss soccer as a sport was a group at Parkway in 2017, not the school administration. Since that time no other member school has mentioned ‘soccer’…boys or girls.

Courtesy Schneider Downs

Starting with data from 2003 obtained from the National Federation of State High School Associations, I examined the number of athletes participating in soccer at the high school level. In 2003, a total of 658,817 boys and girls competed in high school soccer while in 2019, a total of 853,182 boys and girls competed in high school soccer. This growth of 206,576 athletes represents a 31.95% total increase, with an average increase per year of 1.75% over the time period of 2003-2019. Again, it is fair to say that interest in the sport has significantly grown over the years.