For budding Beckhams, and the whole community, SoccerFest 2007 is coming to town this weekend.
The South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club is staging its first ever All-Island SoccerFest from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District fields on Langley Road. Organizers hope it evolves into an annual affair.
SoccerFest will feature tournaments for three age groups and include teams from South Whidbey and Coupeville.
The fest will include carnival-type, soccer-themed games such as timing the speed of a kicked soccer ball, shot accuracy and juggling with feet only.
“Kick a ball and have your speed measured by radar, try your hand (foot?) at accurate goal-shooting, dribbling and lots of other games to win a prize,” club president Terry Swanson said.
From 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. there’ll be a tournament of games; all the players who are participating in the traveling league this spring (U-10 and up) are eligible to participate.
Starting at noon, they’ll be serving food hot off the grill — hot dogs and hamburgers — and all costs will be nominal.
Soccer club board members, coaches and volunteers will be on hand to talk about youth soccer and register kids for fall, 2007 play.
“Each year at the end of the season, individual teams have their own little party,” Swanson said. “We wanted to celebrate all the coaches, volunteers and referees. It’s the board’s hope to make it an annual event.”
The South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club is now 26 years old and has grown from a club that served less than 100 children in its inception in the 1980s to more than 500 kids in the 2006-2007 season.
There are also 60 to 70 adults who play in friendly pick-up games, and the club is looking for more adults who want to have fun and get in shape.
“Soccer is a sport that you can play your entire life,” Swanson said. “The South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club is about having fun, building self-esteem and playing a game that is truly global.”
Coaches come from the high and middle schools, but many are parent volunteers helping out even after their children leave the program.
There are two seasons for the sport; fall and spring.
In the fall, club teams are divided into two basic groups: those for players 9 and below, and those for players 10 and above. The latter play full-field soccer against other teams in the district, travelling to the mainland for half their games.
The younger kids play other SWYSC Club teams in their division in reduced-size teams on smaller fields. In the spring, U-11 and higher are grouped into multi-age teams which play against each other.
The club encourages beginners of all ages to join — coaching is oriented toward new players at all levels, not just the youngest.
The only equipment required is a set of shin guards. Boots with cleats are optional, but on the local fields they’re highly recommended. A ball (size 3 for U-6, size 4 for U-8 and U-10, size 5 for older kids) is useful, although the club provides them for practices and games. For more information regarding soccer registration and about the South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club, visit www.swysc.com.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or email@example.com.