Canterbury School plans to add football, swim teams

Published February 16, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG - The Canterbury School of Florida will field its first football and swim teams at the start of the 2005-2006 academic year.

Work already has begun on a new athletic complex at the school's Knowlton campus, 901 58th Ave. NE. It will have fields for baseball, softball, soccer and football and should be completed in July.

"We feel that Canterbury has really excelled in the past from an academic standpoint," said Bill McQueen, who is president of Canterbury's board of directors.

The school also emphasizes spirituality, arts and physical fitness, he said.

Because it did not previously have an athletic complex, it was unable to offer football, and parents have speculated it may have lost students to schools that did.

The football team will begin spring practice in May; the swim team, in early August. Swimmers likely will practice in one of the city's public pools.

Canterbury's relatively small class size presents some challenges in recruiting a football team, which needs 11 players on the field. McQueen said 18 boys have committed to play, and the hope is to have at least 22 by spring. Their football experience will vary widely.

The football team will play as an independent group for the first two years.

"We're setting our schedule up in a manner in which our boys can be competitive," McQueen said. The expectation is that they will play against a number of smaller independent and Christian schools from throughout Central Florida.

Canterbury already offers baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

Alissa McBee and Vanessa Shover will coach the swim team. A search is under way for a football coach.