There’s much interest in soccer this month with the World Cup in full force, but the sport still has not taken off in Western Illinois. There are 438 IHSA member schools that field a boys soccer team, but not a single Lincoln Trail Conference school has one, and in the expanded 14-team Three Rivers Conference, the only schools to offer a boys soccer team are Amboy, Riverdale, Princeton, and the Orion-Sherrard co-op, which is coached by Rick Cline. And Kewanee just approved adding soccer next school year. Cline says limited school district finances is one of the reasons there aren’t more soccer programs in the area, but he says there are other factors at play.
To the south, in the West Central Conference, Quincy Notre Dame, Monmouth-Roseville, Macomb, and IVC offer boys soccer. In the 12-team Prairieland Conference, only Beardstown offers soccer. The IHSA began offering a state tournament series in soccer in 1972, two years before the IHSA state football finals were implemented.