Red Cloud High School adds soccer to athletic offerings

Acceptance into South Dakota Soccer Association is a first for a reservation school

posted on April 01, 2011

Red Cloud High School has two more teams to cheer on this season with the addition of girls and boys soccer teams to the athletic calendar. The addition of the sport makes Red Cloud Indian School the first reservation school in South Dakota to be accepted into the South Dakota Soccer Association.

At a meeting in Spearfish, South Dakota, last week, the school was granted acceptance into the association, which will enable the school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to schedule a full season of games against other teams across western South Dakota.

David Rooks, new spiritual formation teacher at Red Cloud High School, says the idea of soccer at Red Cloud came up simply because he thought the students would enjoy it. Rooks will be the head coach for both teams.

“Native Americans have always proven to be natural athletes because they enjoy being active,” he says. “I thought that by introducing soccer as an option for fun and athleticism, the students may take an interest in the sport…and they did!”

Rooks says 45 Red Cloud students have made their way down to the fields for practice so far.

“It made me so excited to hear that the school was establishing a soccer team because I had previous experience playing soccer and I loved it,” says Erin Miller, a junior. “A majority of my teammates don’t have any experience in soccer but they are good at it and really, my teammates and I just love the idea of a new competitive sport that we can all enjoy. It’s something new and fun.”

As Rooks begins the new program, he has sought the assistance of Tim Sullivan and Carla Jasso, both volunteers at Red Cloud, and Physical Education Teacher Tyler Bruns. All three assistants played soccer at the collegiate level.

“A part of making this program work is the fact that we have this nucleus of staff that know the sport, love the sport, can play the sport and are willing to teach the students everything they can while encouraging them to just have fun,” Rooks says.

Funding for the soccer program has been made available thanks to the after-school program at Red Cloud Indian School. The first games of the season were on April 2, 2011.