TC Bulldogs Uniting Homeschool Athletes
TRAVERSE CITY – Since its founding six years ago, the Traverse City Bulldog Athletic Association has been affording homeschool students in the Traverse City area the opportunity to participate in team sports.
Sponsoring boys and girls basketball and soccer as well as volleyball, the TCBAA has found plenty of success this season on the pitch.
Although based in Traverse City, the girls soccer program is comprised of students from a dozen communities, with some traveling from as far away as Boyne City and Bellaire.
"I’m absolutely impressed with my whole team, especially for the younger folks, who have come up to play with us,” junior Kennedy Eichstadt said. “It’s been a great joy to have them on our varsity team.
"A lot of people think that home schooling is ‘Ah, do you have any friends?’ And it’s like, ‘No, we actually get together all the time.’ We have soccer practice three days a week, which gives us a great opportunity to come together and grow closer as a team."
Despite calling different parts of northern Michigan home, this is a tight-knit group.
"Since we’re a smaller, smaller group, we have girls that start when they’re 11, 12, and they’re with us until they graduate,” assistant coach Rachel Depper said. “It’s just really fun to see the growth in their skills, and how they grow as a team, and a family."
Representing Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim and Charlevoix counties, the Bulldogs have put a winning product on the field this spring.
"I know for me, it was a huge just to have that opportunity,” Depper said. “Some schools let home-schoolers play, but it’s just a lot different for a home-schooled student to go into a school to play. So, just to be with other home-schoolers, they sometimes have the same beliefs as you. And just to know that you’ve got that team there, that you can have that opportunity, because it wouldn’t always be available."
Although the Bulldogs are not eligible to participate in the MHSAA postseason, they will compete alongside other homeschool teams in a state tournament in Lansing in early June.