As the fall sports season comes into focus at Northridge High School, soccer seems to be the only fall sport in jeopardy of not fielding a team. But athletics director Wayne Howard is still optimistic the Vikings will be playing in late August.

As the fall sports season comes into focus at Northridge High School, soccer seems to be the only fall sport in jeopardy of not fielding a team. But athletics director Wayne Howard is still optimistic the Vikings will be playing in late August.

Howard had a meeting with parents of athletes interested in soccer on July 28 in the high school media center. Nine prospective players showed up to discuss what needed to be done and also meet coach Debbie Chapman, who was hired earlier in the week.

Howard is supposed to give figures to the Board of Education on Monday, Aug. 1, to support having fall programs. All have met those numbers except for soccer, which needs more than 20 athletes. Other than soccer, the fall sports include cheerleading, cross country, football, golf and girls volleyball.

"We're going to give soccer a week and see what happens," Howard said. "We just hired the coach, so the kids weren't sure we were even going to have a team. Once the kids see the team out there conditioning, I think you'll see more coming out for the team."

Members of the soccer team are scheduled to participate in conditioning drills from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, Wednesday, Aug. 3, and Friday, Aug. 5. Chapman is excited to be leading the program.

"I was commissioner for (Northridge Youth Association) soccer and just loved it," Chapman said. "I missed the boat at becoming a teacher, so I make up for that by being a coach. I have coached kids grades (kindergarten) to (sixth) for six years."

The soccer team is scheduled to open Aug. 23 at Tree of Life.

"Soccer is a good starter sport and a good finishing sport," Chapman said. "I just really like to work with kids and this gives me a chance to do that."

Howard said he and the athletic programs are going through uncharted waters. "We've never done this before, so it's not an exact science," he said. "We'll have a better handle on it as the season goes along and we head into the winter sports."

•Football coach Tom Roberts hopes to see more players when practice opens Monday, Aug. 1.

"We have 42 now, but I'd love to have 50 or more," he said. "I might spend the next couple of days (July 29-31) going around and talking to some kids ... doing some recruiting, I guess you would call it. Maybe more will come out when we begin two-a-day (practices)."

The Vikings are scheduled to open on Aug. 27 at home against Newbury.

•The golf team has a new coach in Tony Bilderback, a 1990 Gahanna graduate.

Bilderback played four years with the Lions and was the team's top golfer in his final three seasons. He also played one season at Columbus State.

"I have zero coaching experience, but I have played golf since I was 6," Bilderback said. "When I found out Northridge probably wouldn't have a coach, I wanted to give kids a chance to play golf, so I said I would coach."

The Vikings will have tryouts at noon on Monday, Aug. 1, through Wednesday, Aug. 3, at St. Albans. They will open Aug. 10 at Willow Run against Licking Heights.

•The cheerleading squads have not been affected by the play-to-participate fees, as there are eight girls on both the varsity and junior varsity squads.

"We have a combined football and basketball cheerleading squad, so we have always had eight on (both varsity and j.v.) because (eight) is all that's allowed on a basketball sideline," cheerleading adviser Jody Van Fossen said. "It took us a long time to get tryouts, but we still had to have cuts."

"We are a little behind," assistant Molly Laughlin added. "This is our first week of practice and we should be about three months in by now."