History of Girls Soccer


History of Girls’ High School Soccer in Minnesota

From 1977 through 1979, girls' soccer was being played as an informally organized spring activity. It involved about 15 to 20 teams. Many of these teams are now recognized as member of the Lake, St. Paul Suburban, Minneapolis and Twin Cities Suburban Conference.

In 1980, the Minnesota State High School League adopted soccer as an official League-sponsored activity with a total of 21 schools participating in the fall season. Only four teams competed for the state title in 1980 and 1981, with favored Bloomington Jefferson compiling and 18-0-1 final record, defeating Edina West 1-0 for the first state championship.

By 1981, the number of participating schools had nearly doubled to 41 as more schools added soccer to their programs. By 1982, more than 50 schools were competing for eight section championships. Previously, only four schools earned state tourney berths. Total paid attendance at this new eight-team format was a record-setting 2,881.

The number of players participating at the high school level stabilized during the mid '80's, with a few schools such as Minneapolis Washburn, Coon Rapids and Bloomington Jefferson having made three to four state tournaments already. The boys and girls tournament was held together for the first time in 1984 and these doubleheader games attracted 6,300 spectators.

The High School League and the Soccer Advisory Board continued to look for ways in which to improve the promotion of the game of soccer. The combined efforts of many coaches and League personnel were able to secure the Metrodome as an indoor facility for the finals for the state tournament in 1986. This pushed attendance figures close to 11,000 for the boys and girls games combined. By 1988, the semifinal games were also played in the Metrodome. This continued to improve the numbers as more spectators enjoyed the indoor facility, including bands, cheerleaders, school officials and, of course the fans!

By the late 1980s and early 1990s the continued growth of soccer was expanding beyond the metro area and schools were sponsoring new programs all over the state. They extended south to Northfield, Rochester and Winona, as well as north to St. Cloud, Duluth, Moorhead and Bemidji. The girls' teams in Minnesota by that time numbered 118 participating schools.

From 1997 thru 2000, soccer was being played in two classes: Class A qualifying 4 teams to state, and Class AA qualifying 8 teams to state. There were 71 girls' teams competing in Class A and 70 girls' teams competing in Class AA in 2000. Beginning in 2001, Class A expanded to and 8-team tournament as well with 82 teams registered in Class A and 76 teams registered in Class AA. In 2012, 224 schools from Two Harbors to Crookston in the north to Winona and Worthington in the south, are registered to participate, and there are 122 Class A teams and 64 Class AA teams.