It was a while in coming.
But opening up jamborees to all fall sports is a big hit with Rolla High School boys' soccer head coach Mike Howard.
The Bulldog soccer squad participated in their first jamboree on Thursday, joining Washington and host Waynesville in the Waynesville Jamboree at the Tigers' Anderson Field.
A 'jamboree' is a glorified scrimmage against other schools. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) have sanctioned prep football jamborees for a number of years.
They were opened up to all fall sports this year.
"I like it," Howard said. "With football doing it, I think it was just a matter of time before all sports do it. It really gives you a better idea of where you are than just practicing against each other. For example, our first 35 minutes against Washington (on Thursday) we looked pretty rough. It gives us an opportunity to see other players and get those first-game jitters out of the way."
Also the RHS girls' soccer coach, Howard hopes jamborees eventually come to the spring sports as well.
"Why not?" he said. "If you do it for boys' soccer, you've got to do it for girls' soccer, too, right?"
On Thursday the three teams played 35-minute, one-half games against each of the other two teams.
After the host Tigers shut out Washington 4-0 in the first session, Washington came back to shut out Rolla 1-0. And in the final session two old rivals (in the Ozark Conference, Mid-MO Conference, Mid-State Conference, ect.) met, with Rolla holding on to beat Waynesville 2-1.
The Bulldogs may have been shut out in their first session, but they just missed scoring several times. In particular, all-stater senior sniper Aaron Froehlich was just inches wide on about three shots and hit the crossbar on another, while senior forward Hunter Short was just wide on a couple of solid chances.
Against Waynesville both Froehlich and Short broke through for goals.
"I think we just calmed down (against Waynesville)," Howard said. "In that first game we made some bad decisions and gave up a soft goal. It's all fixable. I think we've got a core of strong kids all around, including two all-staters."
Rolla has a large group of starters back from last season's 24-5 squad, which advanced to the Missouri Class 2 State Tournament Quarterfinals and was ranked as high as No. 4 in the 2012 state poll.
In all, Howard said preseason practice has been a matter of getting some youngsters accustomed to the speed and physical play of the game at the varsity level.
"It's been rough in the sense we've had a lot of kids who played jayvee still trying to adjust to the intensity of varsity practices," Howard said. "But they're coming on. And (junior transfer student) Theron Weeks showing up has been a good addition; defensively he shores up the back line.
Page 2 of 2 - "Basically we need to come up with an outside back and an outside midfielder. Other than that we're throwing out about the same team as we had last year."
BULLDOG NOTES: The Bulldogs will hold a scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 24) at the RHS Bray Sports Complex.
And following that on Saturday, starting around noon, the annual RHS Alumni Game will be held. Howard and former RHS assistant coach and current Waynesville High School Athletic Director Josh Scott are slated to again serve as coaches for the alumni game.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to open the season on Tuesday, Sept. 3 by hosting Columbia Rock Bridge (5 p.m. at Kiwanis Field).
Logan MacCash will again serve as Howard's assistant coach this fall.