KISSIMMEE – Johnson University Florida’s athletic department will re-launch the women’s soccer team next fall.
After the final season for women’s soccer in 2016, students and faculty requested that the sport return. In response, Eliot Hernandez, Athletic Director at Johnson University Florida, announced that the program would restart this fall.
The athletic department worked diligently before announcing the news.
“There were a few things [that needed to be done],” Hernandez said. “The main one would be budgeting…Another thing would be enrollment. We wanted to make sure we increase the enrollment of female athletes so we could get an equal environment where we [had] men’s soccer [and] women’s soccer.”
By relaunching the sport, Hernandez expects that JUFL will gain recognition from its surrounding community for its diverse athletic program offerings.
Responding to the athletic department’s announcement, students are illustrating their eagerness for the sport.
“I think we have four students already asking for the first practice,” Hernandez said. “They’re engaging with me as the athletic director which is great. That means they really want to do it; they’re passionate about it.”
Since the season will not begin until mid-September, female athletes are still being recruited. Hernandez expressed that the department is looking for specific characteristics in prospective athletes.
“We want to make sure that these student athletes are Christian individuals that are willing to represent Johnson the right way,” Hernandez said. “They [should] have a good GPA, be committed to the programs, and have great behavior… [that will help them] become efficient as an athlete, as a student and…as a visitor because when we play away, we’re visiting other schools.”
Although a coach has not been selected for the team yet, Hernandez relayed what one would need to do to prepare the team for a successful season.
“Every head-coach has different philosophies…I know for sure that the conditioning is going to be there…so we can go up and down [the field] for 90 minutes against good teams,” Hernandez said.
Off-the-field chemistry will also be an important factor for a successful season. Hernandez hopes that the chemistry will manifest in many ways.
“They can start studying during study halls, doing projects together, and doing team bonding events,” Hernandez said.
The athletic director also gave his expectations for the soccer team’s first year back on campus.
“It’s going to be tough for the first year, but it’s nothing impossible.”
Johnson University is excited to be able to have a women’s soccer team again and is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that the season will bring.