Sharing in the historic events taking place across the Tyler Junior College campus is the athletic department and TJC’s first ever Women’s Soccer team.
Since signing the first player, Kayla Manson of Whitehouse, last March, they have announced Coach Corey Rose to lead the team, held 3 tryouts and began practices.
The team will compete in their first official game against Midwestern State University on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.
“I am very optimistic about the first women’s soccer team at TJC,” Rose said. “We have a good mix of local, national, and international players coming in.”
Rose coached previously at Warsaw, Indiana Community High School for eight years, Midwestern State University for two years, Belhaven College for five years and Women’s Club/Select Head Coach for seven years and worked with the Mississippi Olympic Development Program for three years.
Rose will be teaching health and kinesiology in addition to his soccer responsibilities.
“I am humbled at the opportunity to start a program at a place with history and tradition in athletics like Tyler Junior College,” Rose said. “Dr. Drain, Steve Clements and all the other coaches at TJC have set the bar high for athletic teams at TJC. That is why I am here and I am confident in my players and staff to get the job done.”
The department already has substantial plans for the team and its future. Drain announced on May 8 that TJC, along with SporTyler, will be hosting NJCAA D1 Women’s Soccer National Championships in 2009.
“It is a great honor to host the national tournament. TJC has hosted the men’s national tournament the last few years,” Rose said. “This is a testament to TJC’s athletic department on how to host a tournament.”
Rose said he wants to take the TJC women’s soccer team to the national tournament and create an environment where discipline and winning are expected. He also said he wants the team to be involved in the community and give back to people who support the program.
The team will join Region XIV to compete with Lon Morris College, Navarro College and Bossier Parrish Community College in Louisiana, as well as other collegiate teams throughout north and central Texas.
“I have recruited athletes from a couple of the junior colleges that are in our conference and on our schedule. The competition is good, but with hard work and team chemistry, we should be able to compete,” Rose said. “Navarro College has been the representative at the NJCAA National Tournament over the last couple of years and I expect them to be strong again.”
The team’s preseason started Aug. 8. They had three training sessions per day, for three to four days.
“Getting used to the heat for internationals will be important. In the evenings, the players will be playing and getting used to each other on the field,” Rose said. “This will also allow me to evaluate the girls and come up with team formations and player positions. We will incorporate team building sessions to help with team chemistry.”
Twenty-three of the 35 girls that tried out made team and Giselle Bryce-Coteo, of Whitehouse, is excited about the season but also nervous.
“Everyone’s looking at us and counting on us because we are a first year team. Every one knows about us and the whole town is kind of expecting us to be good,” Bryce-Coteo said. “And we are going to be really good. We should go to nationals.”
European native, Lucy Milwaid agrees with Bryce-Coteo, and also cites the differences between the teams.
“It’s exciting to be the first women’s soccer team,” Milwad said. “It’s much hotter here and we practice a lot more, but so far I feel good about the team.”