Athletics at Coaldale, Alberta’s Kate Andrews High School, will have a much different feel in 2015.
“Our football program is on a one-year leave of absence,” said Kate Andrews athletic director Kevin Holland.
The Kate Andrews Pride is not fielding a football team this year. After a dismal turnout to the team’s spring camp, the school was forced to make a difficult decision.
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“We met with our parents in April and said, ‘hey let’s get 25 kids out for spring camp’ and it didn’t happen,” said Holland. “We were in the mid-teens and half those kids had never played football before. They were honest with me and they said, ‘I’ll try it, but I’m not sure.’ So we just felt at that time, we just couldn’t go forward.”
The move comes as a shock to many, but a shortage of players is something the school has been dealing with for years.
“A year ago we probably didn’t have enough kids to field a team,” said Holland. “We were in the low twenties, but we had such a talented group of Grade 12 [students] we persevered and got through the year.”
It’s tough news to hear, for the few dedicated students that love the game, including Kate Andrews Grade 12 student Blake Thompson.
“It was heartbreaking, because my senior year I wasn’t going to be able to play football, and it’s one of the sports that I love,” said Thompson.
But the school is letting some of its lions step outside the pride.
“We put the word out to the schools in Lethbridge and it allowed our kids to go play at an existing program,” said Holland.
Four players have changed uniforms this season, including Thompson, who has joined the program at Winston Churchill High School.
“I was super pumped, because I was actually going to play volleyball just to do something over the break, but I heard I could play football, so I was super jacked.”
Kate Andrews plans to revisit its football program’s future later this year.