Laurel soccer club demands co-op from board

Rebecca Cheeseman, left, and Katie Geiwitz, right, speak in front of the the board and over 40 members of the public about the soccer co-op they’d like to start with Wilmington Area School District.

More than 45 soccer players and parents came together to show their interest in creating a co-op with Wilmington Area School District at Tuesday night’s Laurel school board meeting.

“Laurel currently hosts a co-op with Wilmington in wrestling and we would like to see the opportunity of a co-op extended to soccer players,” said Katie Geiwitz, coaching coordinator for Laurel Soccer Club Inc.

The co-op, as Katie Geiwitz explains, would be for both girls and boys and at the junior varsity and varsity levels. The school would also be charged a specific amount of money for each student who participated.

“These players would like to have the opportunity to earn a letter in soccer as well as be looked at by colleges for scholarships,” said Geiwitz.

Both Geiwitz and Rebecca Cheeseman, treasurer for the soccer club, proposed the steps the board would have to take to pursue negotiations with Dr. Jeffery Matty, the superintendent of Wilmington Area School District.

“In communication with Dr. Matty, we’ve been instructed that the school board at Laurel needs to contact the school board at Wilmington in order to discuss specific details of the co-op,” said Katie Geiwitz. “Including evaluating the change in classification involved, the cost to Laurel students to participate and any additional requirements to proceed forward with this opportunity for our children.”

Superintendent Leonard Rich said he had contacted Matty about the possibility of forming a co-op in the past.

“Can you prove the documents that you reached out?” asked Josh Geiwitz, president of the soccer club. “Can I see a copy of an email?”

“I didn’t say I emailed,” said Rich. “I called him on my cell phone, and, no I’m not going to produce a record. I mean take that or leave that.”

As a part of the presentation, Cheeseman provided the number of players that are currently playing and those who would potentially participate in the co-op.

“We are growing as a club,” said Katie Geiwitz. “We have been for over the last several years. Two falls ago we only had one travel team. Now we have five.”

Lance Nimmo, a school board member, voiced his concerns about the overall decline in enrollment within the district.

“We’re going from in sixth grade there’s 88 kids, and by the time you get to kindergarten and first grade, it’s in the sixties,” said Nimmo.

Nimmo also mentioned how when he joined the board, he learned around 80 percent to 85 percent of their constituents do not have children within the system.

Multiple hirings were approved during the meeting including the hiring of Gene DiGennaro as the new head baseball coach. He was hired by a unanimous vote. (CLICK HERE for the story on DiGennaro's hiring.)

DiGennaro’s hiring follows the departure of four-season coach Todd Fennick in July.

Soon after the job was advertised in July, neither Fennick, Rich nor athletic director Mike Krol would comment specifically on whether he was fired or resigned.

Brian Cooper was hired as the head boys track coach by an 8-1 vote. Kevin Patterson, who was dialed into the meeting, voted no.

In other news:

•Michael Ruperto was hired as the assistant softball coach. Jesse Garner as the assistant wrestling coach. Allyssa Hunt and Sarah Lorensen were hired as co-assistant cheerleading coaches.

•Robert Lee was hired as the director of administrative services for a prorated rate of $75,000.

•Jaclyn Kobialka, Jenna Hill and Alyssa Pauletich were hired as instructional/personal care aides.

•The retirement/resignation of Michelle Benton was approved.

•The treasurer’s report of a cash balance of $1,222,155.85 and $2,234,637.34 in expenditures was approved.

•Funds for 12 seminars or conferences to be attended by district staff totaling $7,789.52 was approved.

•A contract with Direct Image Copy Systems Inc. for the lease of 5 copiers in the amount of $2,595 per month for 60 months was approved.

•The renewal of a service contract with Johnson Controls for $5,808 for this school year was approved.


Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.