Black Hills State University will field its first-ever women's soccer program, beginning in the fall of 2016.

This is from the “everything happens on my days off” department. Plus I was and still am dealing with a little walking pneumonia.

I just noticed that the story didn;t get in last week while I was gone. It’s a week or so late, but as they say, better late than never.

As Paul Harvey loved to say, here's the rest of the story.

The Yellow Jackets compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference that currently has 11 institutions that sponsor women’s soccer. Westminister College, which is currently in the application phase of NCAA Division II, will play an RMAC schedule beginning in 2015 giving the RMAC 13 women’s soccer teams during the Yellow Jackets inaugural campaign in 2016.

“We are extremely excited to be adding women’s soccer to our University and Yellow Jackets athletic department,” BHSU athletics director Jhett Albers said in a release. “To continue to address our gender equity plan and compliance with Title IX, we feel that women’s soccer is a viable sport with much support in our community, in our conference, and throughout the region.

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“This will provide the opportunity for females with the interest and ability in the sport of soccer to attend Black Hills State and earn their degree while providing the opportunity and experience to compete at the NCAA DII level.”

Plans are to have a head coach named prior to the start of the 2015-16 academic year to begin recruiting efforts in the high school ranks, junior colleges, and those currently on campus that have the ability and interest to play.

Women’s soccer will be the 14th sport offered by Black Hills State, including rodeo which competes in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. It is the first sport added at Black Hills State since the inception of softball, which played its first game in March of 2007.

“Adding a women’s soccer team is good for Black Hills State University and good for the entire region,” BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., added. “Since arriving in Spearfish, I’ve noticed that soccer is a popular sport for youth throughout the state and region. Providing an opportunity for intercollegiate soccer competition will bring additional students to BHSU and create opportunities for some of the exceptional female soccer players in this region to compete with the Yellow Jackets.”

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.