In a surprising move that is set to change the competitive stage for student athletes, AISB has joined the Sports Council of International Schools, also known as SCIS.
This change will provide heightened athletic experience and international camaraderie for participants as AISB embarks on this exhilarating journey. From now on, high school (and some middle school) student athletes will compete against a new group of international schools.
What is SCIS?
SCIS was founded in the 1980’s by six international schools: AIS Vienna, VIS Vienna, BUD Budapest, MIS Muich, ZIS Zurich, and ISP Prague. These schools founded SCIS with the aim of providing a tournament structure with minimum housing requirements and a low budget.
SCIS organizes eight different sports throughout three seasons. During the fall, SCIS offers football, volleyball, cross country and tennis. In the winter season, students have the option to participate in basketball and swimming. The spring season will consist of track & field, tennis, softball and volleyball.
It is an athletic league for international schools, geared mainly towards Central and Western Europe— Alex Sota
Alex Sota, Athletics & Activities Director, states that while there were many reasons for AISB to join SCIS, the main one was the level of competition. “Due to geopolitical forces impacting our region, 2 out of the 7 CEESA schools have seen major operational changes and another has seen a significant enrolment decrease leaving only 4 viable schools to compete, which really isn’t enough for a tournament. You need between 6 and 8 schools for a good tournament.”
If AISB were to continue participating in CEESA high school athletics tournaments, students would have been competing with smaller schools that have 400-500 students. Because AISB is a 900+ student school this would have created an unfair advantage due to the larger pool of athletes and the ability to send two teams to every tournament.
While this would have made for good results, it would be bad for the development of student athletes says Sota. “SCIS gives us schools that are aligned in philosophy, schedule, student numbers and the same vision that both a varsity and a junior varsity team is important.”
Joining SCIS will also allow for home stay to return, which according to Sota, many students revealed was the best part of traveling for tournaments.
Home stay is when student athletes participating in the tournament stay at a students house from the hosting school. This leads to great opportunities to build connections with other students from around the world who share the same passion.
What about CEESA?
AISB did not leave CEESA. While AISB is no longer participating in CEESA high school athletic tournaments, it is still a member of the organization and students will participate in many of its other offerings. Secondary students of all ages will still compete in activities (Speech and Debate, Robotics, Choir, Band, Math Counts etc) and some middle school teams will still compete in select CEESA athletics tournaments.
Additionally, CEESA provides many opportunities for faculty and staff professional learning and annually hosts a conference for teachers and school staff; many AISB staff not only attend but present workshops.
Goals for the Future
There are always challenges and goals when making a move of this magnitude. To begin, Sota has his eyes set on two specific goals.
One of the goals is to add an eighth school to SCIS before next year which will make for even better competition due to greater diversity and hosting options such as tournament formats and locations. The other goal is for homestay to be successful in its first year back since the pandemic.
Future Tournaments at AISB
In the autumn season, AISB will be hosting its first SCIS tournaments.
Middle school boys and girls cross country will take place on the first weekend of November. In the second weekend of November, AISB is hosting high school boys varsity football and will have two teams participating in the tournament.
Follow @aisbvampiresathletics on Instagram to keep up with scores during tournaments.