The Marco Island Charter Middle School appears headed to having a football team.
A simple lunch-time survey last week showed that more than 40 boys and some girls would be interested in playing should the school form a team.
The Optimist Club of Marco Island, whose football program is led by Ed Webb, said the Optimists are not against the team formation.
Charter Athletic Director Roger Raymond said there are teams in a 45-minute radius that would be interested in playing the Eagles.
“There has been a lot of talk at the school and around Marco about us having a football team,” Raymond said. “The talks seem positive. I think we will make a decision in the next 10 to 12 days.”
Mike Vanderjagt, the Marco Island Academy football coach, took part in the survey, but would not comment.
Raymond said the First Baptist Church has offered its school bus for away games.
Charter School athletes pay $150 per sport and Raymond doesn’t see that fee being any higher for football.
Average cost to the school per player is estimated at $150 to $200, based on uniforms and officiating costs.
Should the school move forward it will consider whether to have a ticket charge for the games. It will earn revenue through its concession stand.
Greg West, former Optimist board member and former head of its football program, is involved with the Naples Gators youth football program. He said the ticket charge is $5 a person for their games.
Webb said, “We (Optimists) are in support of the program should the school do it,” said Webb.
“My understanding is that there will be 26 to 28 kids on the football team. Those who do not make the team can still play in the Optimist program.”
Webb said the Optimist programs, in all sports, is meant to be recreational.
“We provide children the opportunity to play sports as a recreation,” he said. “We don’t travel and we don’t get involved in tournaments.”
Last year the Optimist Eagles fielded three football teams.
“We struggled with the senior (middle school) team, with 18 kids,” he said.
The Optimist Club has already experienced having kids playing sports that Charter School also provides, such as soccer and basketball. The soccer program has been a huge success, with 150 to 200 kids participating.
“Not all kids choose to play at Charter School,” he said. “We are an alternative if a family, or athlete chooses not to play for the school. I wish them good luck, I hope it (football) takes off.”