Tyler Junior College scored big with the formation of the school’s first ever women’s soccer team.
It was a little over two weeks ago when TJC announced the latest addition of its 11th intercollegiate sport, and just this past week the newly arranged team signed its first player Whitehouse Sweeper Kayla Mason.
“She’s an occupational athlete, she has great grades and is in National Honors Society. Her mom was a former Apache Belle and her dad played football. I don’t know if we could have picked a better first signee to represent the new face of Women’s Soccer here at TJC,” said TJC Director of Athletics Tim Drain.
Just two days after signing the first Lady Apache soccer player, Belhaven College Women’s Soccer Coach Corey Rose accepted the position as Head Coach of the Apache Ladies.
“We’re excited to attract the caliber of person we know we have found in Corey Rose,” said Drain. “He brings a wealth of coaching and teaching experience and a history of success in preparing students both athletically and academically.”
Coach Rose is not a stranger to TJC.
“Corey has actually worked our summer soccer camps before. He has worked about five summers here at TJC. I think he will do an excellent job. He’s a good coach,” said Men’s Soccer Head Coach Steve Clements.
TJC doesn’t plan to stop with just the additions of Mason and Rose, the Apache Ladies have been on a broad search, acquiring about 13 commitments so far.
“We’ve actually got players from all over the country and a couple of international players as well,” said Clements. “We’re at about 13 players and 11 games today, and we’re looking for a schedule of 14 games. So we need about three more games and to fill out our roster with about seven or eight more players.”
Clements hopes to fill that roster with some of the players who came out to compete this past Saturday in tryouts. Tryouts were held in conjunction with the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), which is a women’s professional developmental soccer league. The WPSL is made up of college and entering college players, and they compete in the summer.
“So it works out good for both organizations,” said Clements. “They were having open tryouts here on campus which we decided to run [TJC’s] tryouts in conjunction with them. We’re knocking out two birds with one stone.”
The Apache Ladies are prepared to compete as a Division I team, offering full and partial scholarships to players. TJC will join Region XIV and compete against rival schools Bossier Parish Community College, Lon Morris College and Navarro College.
There will also be a Red Shirt squad, for those players interested in soccer activities that do not make the fall roster.
“Soccer will probably report the second week of August and have the first game at the end of the month. So it’s going to be a whirlwind here the next four to five months, and that’s going to be an exciting time,” said Drain.