Dexter Regional High School will not be raising a boys varsity soccer team this fall because attendance levels are low.
Roy Pelotte, the school’s sports administrator and assistant principal, said no more than three players showed up for training in the first week of pre-season training, which led to the decision to cancel the Tigers’ 2021 schedule.
Under Maine Principals’ Association rules, a team is eligible to resume varsity competition the following year if it cancels its schedule in a sport before the start of the regular season. If a team is forced to cancel the remainder of the season after starting regular season games, it would be subject to a two-year ban from college competition.
“We don’t have enough participants, so we’re done with boys’ football for this year,” said Pelotte.
Pelotte added that attendance for the boys’ soccer program at the school has been low in recent years, including last fall when Dexter and other teams across the state played regionalized schedules with no MPA postseason games due to COVID-19.
“I think that would be likely if we [tackle] Football last year we wouldn’t have had football last year, ”he said. “Last year we had three or four soccer players who switched to soccer after we didn’t have tackle football.”
The Dexter boys struggled for the past decade of college competition on the soccer field, setting a record of 35-103-6 between 2010 and 2019.
The Tigers reached the quarter-finals of Class C North three times during this period, most recently in 2018, when they finished 6-8 in the regular season and then won a preliminary round competition before being ousted in the regional quarter-finals.
Football teams across the state are slated to resume a traditional regular season schedule this year, followed by regional and state championship post-season tournaments.
The regular season for schools in Aroostook County taking a harvest break in September has already begun and is slated to begin elsewhere in the state on September 2.
Dexter players could try participating in another school’s football program as cooperative individuals, but Pelotte said his school hopes to offer these players some non-college options.
“We’re trying to get enough players to have modified JV games with other schools, and I’d love to try and incorporate some sort of at least one day-long indoor program a week,” he said.
Pelotte said the future of football is better in middle school, with around 20 boys currently attending pre-season training at Ridge View Community School in Dexter.