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DES MOINES, Iowa — While girls soccer teams across Iowa battle for a state title, across the nation a new battle has begun to allow transgender athletes a spot on the field and Iowa is already one step ahead of the game.

Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Executive Director Mike Dick said, “Each local school knows their situation and their athlete. They know their background and it’s up to them to determine which gender they are. Once they have identified a male becoming a female, they would now be allowed to participate in girls athletics.”

Controversy arose two weeks ago in Alaska when a girl, born a boy, took fifth place in the 100 meter dash and third place in the 200 meter dash at the Alaska girls state track meet.

Nevada girls soccer coach and Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Randy Davis is familiar with the topic. “I have a transgendered student in class right now and you just try and do what’s best for that individual.”

A recommendation policy by both the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union was set in the spring of 2015 opening the gates for athletes to play sports with the gender they identify with.

Mike Dick said, “It has to be total. It can’t be a partial just to play volleyball or softball and play a boys sport, they would play totally as a female.”

According to transathlete.com, 31 states fall in line with Iowa.

“We tried to be proactive with it rather than reactive. Trying to get ahead of the game before we had it and said now what do we do?” said Dick.

While the IGHSAU hopes schools use integrity when allowing transgender athletes to play varsity sports, current state athletes have their reservations.

“There’s a huge difference between a girl’s body and a boy’s body especially when it comes to sports. Just physical abilities and I definitely can see where that can be an issue.”

It’s an issue Mike Dick believes Iowa is ready for.

“It’s a thing of the future. It’s going to be here. It’s something we all are going to have to deal with professionally and appropriately in the future.”

The IGHSAU is not aware of any transgender athletes currently competing in Iowa at the varsity level but schools are not required to inform them or the IAHSAA when a student changes their gender identity.

It’s left up to the school to make that decision.