WALLER — When Waller High School Head Girls Soccer Coach Jerren Oredson joined the WHS family he knew he wanted to find a way to invite younger students to participate in the program. So he, along with Girls Athletic Coordinator Nekisha Durham, decided to create a league for the younger girls in Waller ISD (WISD). The “Little Lady Bulldogs” league, open to girls in 1st-8th grade who attend any WISD school, was born with the help of WHS girls soccer student athletes and WHS Assistant Coaches Marie Lomax and Courtney Rogers.
“Soccer is a sport that is enjoyed by cultures all around the world,” Oredson said. “It brings together countries, communities, and helps create moments of togetherness in even the most diverse of areas.”
In developing the league, it was important to provide the unique opportunity to as many students as possible so participation is free thanks to volunteer coaches and student athletes who donate their time to organize and teach. After planning and advertising the program, Oredson was amazed at the large number of participants who registered. In its inaugural season nearly 300 students signed up to participate! This fall’s season was set for six weeks with students meeting every Wednesday for 30 minutes of practice and 30 minutes of gameplay.
“This is an idea I’ve wanted to be able to do for a very long time. I think sports can teach a lot about hard work, teamwork, and give children an opportunity to build confidence,” Oredson said. “I know for myself, soccer was something that helped guide me down a path of good decisions because I always feared losing it.”
While the WHS coaches organized details of the league, Oredson says one of the most special things about it is the high school players who volunteer to coach the younger generation. Knowing the WHS students have responsibilities outside of school, participation is not mandatory, but many have chosen to participate. Each team is assigned a WHS student to serve as head coach and assistant coaches. These ladies teach basic soccer skills and knowledge to the 1st-8th graders under the guidance of Coach Oredson.
“I personally think this is one of the best parts of the program,” Oredson said. “I really want to teach my athletes how to become effective leaders and to think about what it really means to lead. I love the fact that it puts them into the position of a coach as well so they can truly see what all has to go into training a skill, and preparing the people under your care.”
WHS players were thrilled to be a part of the league and have been greatly invested in their teams. After such an overwhelming amount of support from the district, students, and community, Oredson plans to continue holding the league in future years.
“I believe as long as the community shows my high school girls love and support and make the situation overall a great one for them, they will continue to volunteer their precious time,” Oredson said. “I may be the one with the idea and the setup, but without my students, it wouldn’t be possible.”