GALLIA COUNTY — O.O. McIntyre Park District has opened registration for their spring soccer league, an annual event dating back more than 30 years.
The district has operated the recreational league as a way to promote being physically active and the park district’s resources that are open to the public.
“It’s mostly activity, that’s why we promote it as a recreational league. We don’t take travel teams anywhere or do any all star teams, we want kids to get out there and be active and have something they can do,” said Mark Danner, recreational coordinator with the park district. “You don’t have to be a star player to come play soccer, if you just want to go out and have fun playing soccer you are more than welcome to come play soccer.”
Forms are available at the park district office in the Gallia County Courthouse currently and must be turned in my Feb. 26, although late forms will be accepted with a $10 late fee. This season will costs $30 for the first child and $25 for each child after that.
The league is focused on teaching youth the game of soccer and the fundamentals of teamwork.
“We don’t play any other leagues, it’s more designed to get as many kids to play as we can. That’s why we try to keep the cost as low as we can so we get as many kids as possible out,” said Danner. “All the games are always at (Racoon Creek County Park) because we want to get them out there and exposed to the park so they can see the other things they can do at the park.”
According to Danner, the soccer league has existed continuously since he began with the district 30 years ago. In that time participation numbers have changed, peaking around 400 students at one time. While current numbers aren’t quite that high, they still have enough participation to operate a spring and fall league.
“In the fall we have more kids in the younger grades and less older because of the different fall sports, and in the spring it seems like it goes the opposite way,” said Danner.
The biggest difficulty to running the league is getting volunteers to coach the teams.
“With the younger ones, anybody can coach. A successful kindergarten soccer season is; they’re kicking the ball, not picking the ball up, and going in the right direction. If you’ve done that, you’ve been a successful kindergarten soccer coach,” said Danner. “You have to have patience, it is the number one qualification for any kind of kids sport coach.”
Coaches are provided some guidance for the grade they would coach from the league, and anyone who wants to volunteer can be a coach. Each grade going up from kindergarten has slightly more rules enforced, until fifth and sixth grade which largely works just like junior high soccer would. However, no age group is allowed to slide tackle.
If you are interested in coaching, refereeing, or signing up your children for the recreational soccer league, stop by the Gallia County Courthouse and see the park district office for more information.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.