K-State to launch new women’s soccer team

The women's club soccer team practices last week. K-State has announced that it is adding a women's soccer team and dropping the equestrian team. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State Athletics announced the formation of a new Big 12 intercollegiate women’s soccer team starting in fall of 2016. In a Monday press release, the department said a national search for a head coach will start in January 2015. They plan to recruit a roster of 25-30 student-athletes, as well as offer 14 soccer scholarships.

According to John Currie, K-State’s athletic director, the popularity of soccer is one of the reasons the department is forming the team.

“Kansas City has become the epicenter of U.S. Soccer with the emergence and popularity of Sporting KC and FC Kansas City, in addition to becoming the future home of the U.S. National Team,” Currie said in a written statement. “We are excited for our fans and the residents of Kansas to bring women’s soccer to K-State and the Manhattan community.”

The athletic department, along with the Student Governing Association, is currently deciding where host home games. Possible sites include Memorial Stadium or constructing a facility in an already existing location.

In the same press release, the department announced its decision to drop the women’s equestrian program in order to sponsor the new soccer team.

K-State is the final women’s soccer team to enter the Big 12 conference.

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The new team should add excitement to Manhattan, according to Jill Shields, senior associate athletics director.

“K-State women’s soccer will be completing universal sponsorship of the world’s most popular sport in one (sic) the very best women’s leagues in the country,” Shields said in a written statement. “It will be exciting for our student-athletes and fans to participate in the annual Big 12 tournament right here in our home territory.”