Soccer returns

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Connor Wilkins practises his technique at a soccer practice last Thursday.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Connor Wilkins practises his technique at a soccer practice last Thursday.

After a season off, kids are back on the soccer field – some of them anyway.

While there are more age-groups in the works, as of last week, only one team of players aged seven through nine were taking the field for practices twice a week under the banner of Elks Soccer.

“There’s going to be a group for 10 and 11-year-olds, and a 12 and under girls team as well,” said Michelle Staszuk who stepped forward as an organizer this year. “And we’re looking for anyone who wants to take over the five and six-year-olds … once the coaches start, we can figure it out.”

Elks soccer has been popular in the past, but as a result of too few volunteers, did not run at all last summer. This year, Staszuk said the organization is looking for coaches and a few helpers for each team to get the season off the ground.

“We have the kids,” she said, gesturing toward the nearly 30 children who showed up for the first practice last Thursday evening. “There’s always lots of interest amongst the kids. We just need the coaches and organizers to step forward.”

It was an easy decision for coach Joel Hubert to take up the whistle. He said his son is now at an age where he can play and soccer has always been a part of his own life.

“There wasn’t anything for them last year, and this year I decided to do it myself,” he told The Hub. “But we’re always looking for more parents to help out.”

Hubert was quick to point out he has not been alone in his efforts corralling several dozen children, as high school student Daniel DaRosa stepped forward to help as well.

“I’m liking it good so far,” said Joshua Barnes at his first ever practice June 12. “I like passing with the team.”

Barnes was one of more than 25 kids who came out in various states of soccer attire for the evening. While many have kicked a ball around the yard behind Harry Camsell School, not everyone has had the benefit of sport-specific instruction.

“It’s like a renaissance of Elks soccer,” said Staszuk, laughing. “It’s great to see parents coming out to help.”

For Hubert, though, it just made sense.

“Soccer is cheap. It only takes a pair of shoes and some shinpads. It’s a great sport at any age,” he said. “As for coaches, I would say that their technique level doesn’t have to be great to be a great help.”

-Sarah Ladik