In their own little way, the members of the Ellet girls soccer program will be considered pioneers.
This fall, Ellet will field a varsity girls soccer program for the first time. They don't want any preferential treatment, just equality.
That's all. Plain and simple.
''I thought it would happen,'' sophomore Carly Hughes said about having the sport added as a varsity program. ''I actually tried getting a (varsity) team started last year, but it didn't happen.''
Coach Jack Madden said because the number of girls who came out for the team was so low, it didn't warrant adding a varsity program. As a result, the girls who did go out for the team, about 14 last year, had to play on the boys junior varsity team and play a junior varsity schedule against other boys teams.
''This is great for the girls because they deserve to have their own team,'' Madden said. ''Because they played with boys, many of the girls didn't get a chance to play that much. Now, that will be different.''
Sophomore Brittany Guenther, along with Hughes, will be expected to be one of the leaders next season. She said she's ready for that role.
Both Guenther and Hughes have been playing soccer for more than a decade, including indoor seasons during the winter.
Guenther said all that her teammates wanted was a chance to play against other girls.
''It was challenging playing with the boys because a lot of them were a lot faster than us, but we were always competitive with them and we always kept our focus and played as hard and as best we could,'' she said.
''Now that we're going to be playing against other girls, I think we'll be more competitive,'' Guenther said.
Madden said he'll have a full varsity roster but won't field a girls junior varsity team.
''I'm hoping that through the youth programs, we'll start to get more interest to where we can start a junior varsity program,'' he said.
One of the challenges for Madden for the upcoming season is trying to schedule games.
''We didn't get the OK for the [varsity] program until mid-February, so I started calling coaches and it has been impossible to get games,'' Madden said. ''We only have eight games and three scrimmages. There has to be some teams out there with some openings. We really need it because this is a great bunch of kids.''
When the players run onto the field at the Orange Bowl for their first home match, they indeed will be making history.
''I feel really good about it because it was something we really wanted to happen,'' Hughes said. ''It was something we fought for and we made it happen.''
Jennifer Turley has a daughter, Madison, who is an eighth-grader at Hyre Middle School. Madison will be playing for Ellet next season.
During an offseason voluntary workout Monday afternoon at the high school, Jennifer Turley watched the girls go through a few drills. When asked how she felt about the school adding the soccer program, her response was short and to the point.
''It's about time,'' she said. ''My daughter was floored when she found out Ellet never had a girls team. She was brought up believing that both girls and boys would have the same opportunity to play soccer.''
Sarah Yakubik can't wait for the season to start because she'll have two cousins with her on the team: sisters Melissa Yakubik, who is a freshman, and Mary Yakubik, who currently is an eighth-grader at Goodyear and will play for Ellet next season.
''That will be fun, having all three of us on the team together,'' Sarah said. ''Plus, it will be fun to run out on the field for our first (home) game in front of our fans.''
Melissa then blurted, ''Fun and scary.''
One of the younger members of the team, freshman Chryssie Rodgers, put it best: ''No matter what happens, we'll have a varsity team,'' she said. ''And we'll feel good knowing we made a difference in the school.''