The women’s locker room and coach’s office at the Pat Hartley Soccer Complex will finally be occupied this fall following the decision to add women’s soccer as Tyler Junior College’s 11th sports team.

“The addition of women’s soccer has been discussed since I arrived here in 1999,” said Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director. “[theidea]gained steam when we were designing the Pat Hartley Complex in 2004. That building was designed with a women’s locker room and coaches office, so the intent to add the sport was strong.”

The new team will compete in NJCAA Division I, allowing TJC to offer full and partial athletic scholarships to players.

Women’s soccer will round out TJC’s current athletic lineup of women’s basketball, golf, tennis and volleyball as well as men’s basketball, baseball, football, golf, soccer and tennis.

While men’s soccer coach Steve Clements will serve as interim coach of the women’s team, Drain is eager to find someone to fill the spot permanently.

“TJC has opened the search for a women’s coaching candidate, and we are accepting candidates right now,” said Drain. “Our goal is to find someone with the academic and athletic credentials necessary for the job. I would like to find someone very soon.”

In addition to coaching the team, the new coach will also serve as an instructor of health and kinesiology.

Though the addition of a Division I team will mean additional scholarships will be offered to female students, Drain said this should not affect the status baseball team which currently competes at the non-scholarship Divsion III level.

TJC Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Austin Lane believes the new team will further fulfill TJC’s second promise.

“We look forward to the opportunity to have more women athletes on our campus and to adding another phase of opportunity to our vibrant student life,” said Lane.

Drain said the interim coaching staff has already begun to search for soccer players for the new team.

“My assumption is we will find women’s players in a similar process as our men’s program,” said Drain. “We do occasionally have transfers from four year colleges, we have club players, we have high school players and we have international players.”

Prospective players for the 2008 season are encouraged to contact Clements at 903-510-2687.

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