The Cougars are in the heart of the Community of Rogers.
By: Carlos Chicas
Photos: William De Leon
In 1996 upon my arrival in Arkansas, it never crossed my mind to live in Rogers. My first soccer match was on First Street at the PLP soccer fields; just two blocks away, was Kirksey school.
Kirksey Middle School has seen growth in all aspects of the Latino community, and now much more. With the growth of the Hispanic population in Rogers, many children of Latino immigrants have started playing football, especially with the new addition of football in the seventh grade. We sat down and talk to KMS Head Coach Jason Oller, about his new odyssey, and said “I think it will be a good challenge, we have a lot of children who will be participating, and as coaches we have to find a way to involve them and teach them how to play football. We have had practice during the summer, but since they are 7th grade boys and still do not drive, we did not have all the players. ”
Diversity is a topic that is often heard in the City of Rogers and in the school district and the coach Oller knows and appreciates that coaches in the past have done what is necessary to integrate the community into this “new” sport. “We have a lot of Latinos in our school, coach Anderson did a great job involving them. We know it will be a very good opportunity for kids who have not played football to learn, we know that our coaches must be patient to teach them. This is a good group of players. We know how important it is to motivate Latino players, especially because is what Rogers is today, a community with a large Latino population. “Jason Oller commented.
Although the football project with the seventh grade team is for a long term, Oller is happy with the the talent he inherited from the eighth grade. “When we compare our program with other schools, we know we do a great job recruiting students to participate in our sports programs, we are happy with the participation, we know it is very early, but the eighth grade group is very talented.” Oller added. The football team has the absolute support of the school Principal Mrs. Mel Ahart, and for Oller this is very important for success on and off the field. “Mrs. Ahart has been very supportive since my arrival. She always asks us what we need and when we express the needs of our coaching staff and the team, she provides. Ahart always stays involved and aware of what we are doing and that is very important for us to be successful. ”
This is a historic moment for Kirksey Middle School football not only for the integration of seventh grade football season but also because for the first time in the history of the sport, players and parents will have the opportunity to listen and see home football games for both 7th and 8th graders live streaming. Something that will help to strengthen the Kirksey school community. “Obviously anything we can do to involve our community we will do, and now with this initiative to live stream and with a play-by-play announcing the Kirksey games, this will be very important especially for the 7th grade students. Sometimes, you have to wait until you play in high school to listen to a game on the radio or on TV and this will be very big for us. “Jason Oller concluded. The Clougars play their first game of the season away against Lincoln starting with the seventh-grade team at 4:45 pm, followed immediately by the eighth grade game. The Cougars matches will be broadcast live on Facebook page of the KHEL973 station and link to the the Kirksey School page.