Eric Andrews | Echo
The Taylor athletic department and men's soccer program announced a junior varsity (J.V.) team will be added for the 2017 season.
The team will mainly be comprised of incoming freshmen but will also feature current Taylor students, selected via a tryout.
By adding a J.V. team to the mix, the soccer program will be able to bring in more players than they would be otherwise. Doing so will allow for a deeper talent pool for the varsity team in future years. The J.V. team will serve as a way to develop additional players to play on the varsity team when they are ready.
"(The J.V. team) gives us that environment to say, 'there's these bubble players, there's some guys who might not have been quite as good-give them some time to develop and see what happens,'" men's varsity soccer head coach Gary Ross said.
The J.V. team will also provide a chance for players on the varsity team who do not receive a lot of playing time at the varsity level to be double-rostered. This will also generate motivation for varsity and J.V. players alike to earn playing time at the varsity level.
The athletic department and men's soccer program decided to add the J.V. team due to the success of the split-squad baseball and softball teams, the pilot programs for the idea.
The J.V. team will be beneficial not only to the men's varsity team but also to the school. With decreasing enrollment proving to be an issue for higher education institutions, schools have begun to come up with different ways to increase attendance. By having a second team, more students will have the opportunity to play at Taylor.
"It's a way to provide additional opportunities within the soccer program," athletic director Kyle Gould said.
With the addition of the J.V. team, Taylor's student body will grow and the men's soccer roster will increase by roughly 15 men for next year.
While the J.V. time commitment will not be as intense as the varsity team, both will be structured similarly. The J.V. team will have spring training sessions four times per week during the spring semester and will also play a few club games, in addition to having eight games lined up for the fall season.
An open tryout for current Taylor students interested in playing on the J.V. team will be held on March 4 at 10 a.m. at the program's annual Spring ID Camp. Any interested students should contact men's soccer assistant coach Steve Bushre by March 1 to reserve their spot at the tryout.
"Photograph provided by Fayth Glock"