CNCC Craig campus aims to add soccer teams this fall | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC Craig campus aims to add soccer teams this fall

Men’s, women’s squads to join other Spartan sports

Colorado Northwestern Community College Board of Control members and other community participants look on as CNCC President Russell George, Athletic Director Jeff Devere and Vice President Janell Oberlander hold up the ceremonial soccer ball, commemorating the start of CNCC's men's and women's soccer teams on the school's Craig campus. Teams are expected to be assembled this summer and begin games in September.

A new era is beginning at the Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeColorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus. Craig campus.

Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus.

CNCC personnel announced Friday that the school will add men's and women's soccer teams to the Spartan athletics program, making this the first sports team within the educational institution's Craig campus.

Each team is expected to field about 25 to 30 players starting this fall. The college will partner with Moffat County and the city of Craig to utilize local facilities such as Loudy-Simpson Park and Woodbury Sports Complex, as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, if indoor space is needed.

"This is an opportunity for us not only in athletics but also to expand education to more students," said Janell Oberlander, Craig campus vice president during the Friday ceremony.

Among the school's current teams, all operating on the Rangely campus, are baseball, softball, rodeo, volleyball and men's and women's basketball. Bringing athletics to Craig was "a long time coming," CNCC President Russell George said.

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Athletic director Jeff Devere said the plan is for soccer teams to join the Scenic West Athletic Conference, otherwise known as Region 18, which features Salt Lake Community College, College of Southern Idaho, Western Nevada College and other regional junior colleges.

"Junior college is not just a little bit above high school," Devere noted. "We're starting a collegiate athletic program that could easily have participants who become world-class players."

CNCC is currently working on hiring coaches for both the men's and women's teams and will host tryouts this summer, with games tentatively starting in September. Though there will be two separate squads, teams will likely travel together often to increase efficiency and maximize time on the field.

A number of school and community members were in attendance for the announcment, among them Mayor Ray Beck. Beck said he graduated from CNCC's Rangely campus and wrestled for the school.

"To watch this evolve, it's all come full circle, and I think it's great," he said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.