Kate Korrow doesn’t know what to expect in Kodiak High School’s inaugural soccer season.
“I have no idea, to be perfectly honest,” the girls coach said. “My biggest thing is to get our girls in the best shape and able to play the game as well as they possible can.”
What is for certain is varsity matches will be played for the first time ever in Kodiak. The girls begin their seven-match regular season at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Nikiski at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
The Bears will also host Kenai and travel to Seward, Soldotna and Homer.
“There is a lot of energy going into the season from the girls,” Korrow said. “They are quite excited and certainly a little nervous, I would expect.”
Kodiak will play in the South Division of the Northern Lights Conference with Nikiski, Kenai, Seward, Soldotna and Homer. The North Division is made up of Colony, Grace Christian, Houston Palmer and Wasilla.
The top four teams in each division qualify for the NLC Championships and will play for three state berths.
Kodiak joins the NLC after spending last season as a club team. The Bears played two away matches last season and lost both, to Seward and Homer.
During the offseason, Bryan Ferris, KHS activities director, introduced the idea of Kodiak joining the NLC at a region meeting. It was approved and then later approved by the Alaska School Activities Association in a December meeting.
Soccer, just like football and tennis, is a self-funded program.
“I’m quite excited that the sport is taking more of a hold here in Kodiak,” Korrow said. “It is a great thing for the older girls to have that option in terms of team sports.”
Korrow jumped on board last season after spending a year coaching in the city of Kodiak Parks and Recreation league. She was an offensive player in high school and college and hopes that trait carries over to her squad.
“I like putting points on the board, for sure, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t value defense, by any means,” Karrow said. “We are certainly are certainly going to work to score goals.”
Kodiak has a roster of 23, which was the turnout Karrow was hoping for for a first-year varsity program. She said the girls came in with different talent levels, which has led to teaching the fundamentals of soccer. The team has only seven upperclassmen.
“We are a young team, which I am quite excited about. It is good to grow a program, that is for sure,” said Korrow, who pointed to Jai Canete, Emily Smith, Shana Lechner and Emily Riviera as players to watch.
Korrow is looking forward to seeing her squad compete and gain experience playing the game.
“With coaching soccer the coach really isn’t involved as much as in baseball or basketball,” she said. “It is a huge field and the coach isn’t directly involved in the play. I’m excited to see them independently handle situations.”
While the players have the goal of making it to the state tournament, Korrow is just glad Kodiak has a varsity program.
“I want them to compete and represent Kodiak well,” she said. “I would like to win some, but I really just want the girls go learn the game and have fun.”
Derek Clarkston is a staff writer at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact him at (907) 486-3227, ext. 625.