In 1973, Bill Kinder, of the newly formed Sting Soccer Club, collaborated with other area youth sports organizations and formed the 13-team High School Girls Soccer League for players under 19. That league evolved into today’s Lake Highlands Girls Classic League. By the late 1990s, the league had expanded into age groups with two divisions each. A qualification tournament was held each summer with additional challenge matches mid-season from the top teams in the Arlington and Plano competitive leagues. In keeping with the “classic league” format, the bottom two teams from each age group are relegated from the league, opening spots to be filled in the QT. As the interest in competitive soccer increased, the number of divisions was expanded to three in each age group. Today, the LHGCL is comprised of 259 teams across the nine age groups. With an average team roster of 18 players, over 4600 young ladies take the field each week in the Girls Classic League.
The league is administered by a primarily volunteer board of directors and an executive committee. Each of these “commissioners” is responsible for an age group or division. The league is sanctioned by the North Texas State Soccer Association and plays under the US Youth Soccer organization banner. The league bylaws, policies, and rules are all published on their website, http://www.GirlsClassicLeague.org. The LHGCL operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is dedicated to providing the best environment for competitive girls’ soccer in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The league currently maintains a long-term partnership with the University of Texas, Dallas where the majority of matches are played on their nine full-size pitches. League matches are also played in Lewisville at Lone Star Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park and the Chinn Chapel Soccer Complex in Flower Mound.
The success of the Girls Classic League can only be measured by the accomplishments of the players that have experienced the program. The league has produced some of the nation’s top players including, Carla Overbeck (Former Captain, U.S. Women’s National Team) and Tracey Bates-Leon (1991 World Champion U.S. Women’s National Team). In addition, many college players, scholarship athletes, collegiate all-Americans, and U.S. National Team players participated in the Girls Classic League. As part of the commitment to Women’s soccer, the league annually awards five scholarships to college-bound athletes who participated during their senior year. This year’s recipients were awarded $4000, $3000, and three $1500 for first, second, and third through fifth place based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work. A panel of three distinguished community leaders made the final decisions based on a written essay and individual interviews with the five finalists.
Most recently the league has expanded offering a Junior Academy for under 10 players as well as a special division of the classic league; The Junior Development League. The Junior Girls Classic Academy League operates under the North Texas State Soccer Association “academy” structure. The rosters are flexible allowing coaches to draw from their clubs’ players each week to improve the girl’s skills and expose them to different levels of play. There are three divisions with the Junior Academy named after some of the nation’s top female players; Hamm, Lloyd, and Morgan. The prize for finishing first in each of these divisions is an automatic bye into Division I of the Girls Classic League for the under 11 season. The Junior Development League is a special division of the Girls Classic League where clubs may choose players from any of their NTSSA registered teams. This allows the coaches to combine players from across their entire club exposing them to new challenges aiding their development. Neither scores or standings are kept for this developmental division and entry is by invitation only.
For more information about the Girls Classic League, Junior Development League, or Junior Academy League, please visit the Lake Highlands Girls Classic League website at http://www.girlsclassicleague.org.