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New Butte girls soccer coach looking to boost participation

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 21:31:20-04

BUTTE — Perhaps Steve Shahan is a fan of the movie "Rudy" but he knows that, in the real world, the game of football tends to favor height and weight.

"Football is awesome, but then you try telling a 5-foot-5 kid that the odds are great if he works hard," Shahan said at East Middle School where he is a PE teacher and also coaches discus for the Butte High track and field team. "But the odds aren't great."

After coaching football at East for the past six seasons, Shahan decided it was time to try something different and he leaned toward sports that were more inclusive.

When he learned last fall that the Butte High girls soccer coaching position would be opening up, he decided to pursue that opportunity.

"I kind of wanted to go toward something that was a little more inclusive to everybody," Shahan said. "Big kids, small kids, everybody can play soccer."

Shahan, a Colstrip High School graduate, accepted the job earlier this year and will replace Jacob Steilman who coached the Bulldogs in 2019 and 2020.

Along with being a track and field assistant for Butte High, Shahan has also served as a football and basketball assistant for the Bulldogs.

Before he can begin drawing up plays, Shahan is focused on getting kids interested in soccer.

With participation in high school soccer generally waning, not just in Butte but across the country, Shahan knows he'll need to begin thinking outside the box to generate interest in the sport.

"We're going to implement some social media things and some sort of community soccer meetings," Shahan said. "We'll go stop by a park in a local neighborhood or one of the elementary schools. Send a shoutout to everybody and say, 'Hey, come on over at noon and play a little soccer. Get moving, work on your coordination and fitness and have some fun.'"