SoccerMadison sees leap in players

On May 20, 2016, in News, by admin

GROUP LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Article courtesy of the Madison Daily Leader
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor

SoccerMadison broke all of its registration records this spring, growing more than 21 percent from last fall and more than 17 percent from last spring’s record number of players. One hundred sixty-six players registered for spring soccer.

That doesn’t take into account that Flandreau’s Under-8 (U8) team registered with Madison last fall but with Flandreau this spring, or that four teams from Flandreau and five from Dell Rapids played in SoccerMadison’s leagues.

In all, more than 200 youth played soccer in Madison this spring.

“We are in our fifth year and really starting to see things take off,” said SoccerMadison founder and president Jeff Boldt. “It’s exciting to see communities around us getting started and being able to help them out.”

According to Boldt, the spring season has averaged about 20 percent more players than the fall season, but the gap has closed in recent years.

“I’m not sure why the big jump this spring,” he said. “Hopefully it’s because more parents are becoming aware of what we offer and hear good things about the program.”

SoccerMadison offers several opportunities for children to get involved with soccer. There are Under-6 (U6) teams for four- and five-year-olds and U8 for six- and seven-year-olds. Although the association offers play up to U18, the oldest age group right now is U12 (10- and 11-year-olds).

“We are at the point now where we need to start thinking about soccer as a high school sport,” said Boldt. “About half the U12s will move up to U14 in the fall, and we need a path to keep them playing.”

Adding Flandreau and Dell Rapids teams pushed Saturday morning games into three time slots this spring. More teams will mean playing in the afternoon or putting up more fields.

“We can work with what we have for the younger age groups for a little while,” Boldt said. “It would be nice to have at least one more U6 and U8 field.”
According to Boldt, the biggest short-term need is additional U10 and U12 fields. There is one of each at present.

“If we’re going to have teams come here to play or host tournaments, we need at least two of each field size,” he said. “And we don’t have a regulation, full-size field that a U14 or future high school team would play on.”

This spring, one U10 girls’ team, two U10 boys’ and one U12 boys team participated in both Champions League and Prairie League games in Sioux Falls, Tea, Mitchell and Huron. The U12 boys’ team will wrap up the season in the Prairie Cup tourney June 4-5 in Mitchell.

A new development was the “kit” the association purchased this year. Instead of mismatched shorts and their SoccerMadison T-shirts, the teams got maroon UnderArmour uniforms.

Challenger Sports will be back with British Soccer Camps July 11-16. Those who register by May 27 get a free jersey. For more information or to register, visit http://tinyurl.com/1261gm3.

This fall, the association plans to make one major change in hopes of increasing the number of female players. SoccerMadison will move from co-ed to same-sex teams in the U8 age group. Registration begins in early June. Watch for more information on www.soccermadison.org or email [email protected] to be added to the association’s email list.

 

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