Colorado Mountain College soccer director resigns
Steve White – the only soccer director the Roaring Fork Campus of Colorado Mountain College has ever known – stepped down from the post this week, leaving a void in the CMC club program.
“It was very difficult to walk away,” said White of his resignation, which took affect Monday. “The difficulty especially came when I walked away from the players the last day.”
White informed his players of his decision late last week.
“He was pretty apologetic to me and Geoff (Grassau) because he knew that we based quite a bit of our decision on playing soccer with him,” said first-year CMC student Tom Otto, who was first exposed to the Gates Soccer Park while attending a soccer tournament his junior year of high school at Alameda.
“It’s still all up in the air,” Otto said of his future at CMC. “I’d like to stay and play, but if it deeps going the way it is I can’t say I want to play here. It seems like there’s too much politics involved.”
White declined to speak directly to what precipitated his resignation, but, as with most small colleges, budget concerns were a factor.
“I had a dual role – one was the facilities director and one was the coach,” White said. “They were intertwined and, because of that, it was incredibly difficult to do the job and reach the full potential of the program, mostly because of budget concerns.
“I was getting some revenue sources in place – we had one soccer camp three years ago and four this summer – and there’s a lot of revenue that could support this program,” White continued. “But those moneys are in high demand for other things.”
White’s departure is a blow to the fledgling club program, which is slated to begin its third season this weekend.
His history with CMC soccer goes back virtually to the birth of soccer at the Spring Valley Campus.
White directed the development of the Gates Soccer Park when it was constructed six years ago, and was the head coach of both the men’s and women’s soccer teams since the program’s inception. He was also responsible for running tournaments and coordinating soccer camps at the five-field Gates Park.
The fate of the men’s and women’s squad this season is essentially in the hands of the players.
The men’s team has a full roster and is scheduled to play this weekend in its opening tournament, but the travel schedule could be pared down according to Lisa Doak, assistant campus dean for student services. The women’s season is in limbo until enough players are on the roster for the squad to commit to a full schedule.
“The status of the men’s team is they are going to continue at this point to play its season, and we have been in the process of talking with several different people in terms of coaching,” said Doak, who will take over White’s administrative duties until a replacement is found. “(CMC) plans to support the students who made a commitment to play on the club team.”
And the foundation is there for the program’s future, although currently on somewhat shaky ground. The Gates Soccer Park – with its well-kept fields, a view of the Roaring Fork Valley and high altitude location – is widely considered one of the top campus soccer venues in the state.
“Steve has been a wonderful asset for both the soccer program at CMC and also with the Glenwood Soccer Club,” dean of the Roaring Fork Campus Nancy Genova said. “He was really instrumental in getting us the Gates Soccer Grant. He was key.”
The key for the future of soccer at CMC will be balancing the needs of the soccer program with the needs of the rest of the Roaring Fork campus.
“We tried to put as much (of the budget) into the soccer program as feasible, without hurting our other programs,” Genova said. “We’re committed to continuing soccer, but also have to financially responsible for all the programs we have.”
CMC administrators plan to meet with area soccer groups in the near future to outline a plan for the future of soccer at Gates.
“We’re going to go back and look at what is the best direction to go now,” Genova said. “We just sort of need to regroup and come up with a new plan.”
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