SDHSAA follows recommendation to keep soccer a fall sport

Mitchell's Dillon Robinson (10) races past Aberdeen Central's Brayden Hansen (20) and Aberdeen Central's Ei Gawku Poe (17) with the ball during a game last season at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The South Dakota High School Activities Association voted to keep soccer a fall sport on Tuesday, rather than move it to the spring starting in the 2021-2022 school year.

It lined up with the recommendation from the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, which held a 25-7 vote against moving it to the spring. The Class AA athletic directors had a 17-1 vote against the switch, while the Class A athletic directors saw an 8-6 vote against.

The soccer advisory committee had originally voted 4-1 in favor of sending the proposal to the SDIAAA.

“The vote ended up pretty much what I expected,” said Mitchell High School activities director Cory Aadland, who voted against the proposal. “I expected the AA schools to vote against it.”

While it would have potentially added a larger player pool with soccer no longer competing with football and volleyball, Aadland felt there were too many negatives for Mitchell.


It would cause a potential scheduling conflict having to share Joe Quintal Field with the track and field team. He also pointed to South Dakota’s unpredictable spring weather and the clash with the club soccer schedule.

“The conflicts we’d have for that would be a challenge. The weather would be a challenge. Springs tend to be pretty tough at times,” Aadland said. “It also doesn’t fit in real well with the soccer calendar as far as club sports and club soccer. There’s already club soccer being played in the spring. It doesn’t fit into the calendar that well from a soccer standpoint.”
Still, the possibility of a larger player pool enticed schools, and potentially could have seen Class A add a few more.

“There was never any firm poll taken,” Aadland said. “but I know there was interest from a handful of other schools in that Class A schools that would highly consider adding soccer if it was moved to spring to be able to get it away from the fall sports they would compete with.”

Even though soccer is set to stay a fall sport, there could be changes in the future. The addition of Sioux Falls Jefferson in the fall of 2021 and growth of Tea Area could force a reclassification. If both schools joined Class AA, there would be 20 teams compared to an eight-team Class A.

At this time, Aadland said reclassification has been, “a point of discussion, but no formal action, no formal in-depth conversation has been had on it yet.” The soccer advisory committee meets after the conclusion of the prep season, which was held in early December 2019.

“If there’s real interest in it, that would be the time discussions would start,” Aadland said.

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