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The York High soccer players have a special reason to be excited about the upcoming season.

The Bearcats' boys' and girls' teams, after playing nonleague matches last year, are joining the York-Adams  League this fall. Both teams will compete in Division III.

York High will play its home matches at Small Athletic Field.

"I'm happy we're finally in Division III," Bearcats' sophomore Yair Rodriguez said during York-Adams League Fall Sports Media Day on Friday. "I'm just starting to get know people on the team who I didn't know when I was younger."

Rodriguez first started kicking a soccer ball when he was 3 years old.

"When I was 5 or 6, I joined a team. I remember watching my dad and my dad's friends play soccer down there at Small Field," he said.

Rodriguez and his teammates will be under the direction of head coach Chris Jones.

Jones was a goalkeeper at Century (Maryland) High School. He also played college soccer at the University of Delaware and Central Connecticut State.

He said coaching the Bearcats is a challenge, but it's exciting.

"We're bringing players together who haven't played together before and forming a team," Jones said. "We're also getting the word out that we have a team that will be playing a full (21-game) schedule. We only played a handful of games in the past."

Girls' team: While Jones prepares the boys' team, Katie Hoffman-Reed is getting the York High girls' team ready for a Division III season.

"We're building (the program) from the bottom up," said Hoffman-Reed, who played high school soccer at Kutztown and college soccer at Alvernia.

"It's going to be a learning experience for all of us and a challenge bringing all the girls together."

Michelle Ildefonso, a junior, is midfielder for the 2018 Bearcats.

"It's exciting having an official season," Ildefonso said. "I like the motivation and determination the girls have. We have nice uniforms and I can't wait for our first game."

The York High boys open their Division III season at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Small Field vs. Littlestown. That same day, the York High girls travel to Littlestown for a 6:30 p.m. contest in their Division III debut.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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