By Stacy Case
One of the most popular international sports still has quite a heavy following in this community. It may come as no surprise that a pair of area recreational soccer leagues have record participation season after season.
Coral Springs Youth Soccer continues to attract more than 2,000 area youths to both Mullins Park and Cypress Park for its league play while Parkland Youth Soccer has more than 1,000 recreational players of its own. The leagues’ foundations may explain such longevity for both.
That being said, CSYS’s president just may have figured out why nearly 90 percent of the players return season after season, this year included.
“We try to make soccer available for as many children as possible,” says first-year CSYS President David Browne, who has been on the league’s Board of Directors for six years already. “In our league, kids always come first; we just want them to have fun.”
This year, Browne, whose own children will have gone through CSYS, is assisted by about 30 other board members, who volunteer their time to make the league what it is.
Just past the Coral Springs city limits, Parkland’s league, playing out of Pine Trails Park, mimics the same success story.
“Our goal is to make it a fun, safe environment for the kids, parents and coaches,” says Doug Cole, who has been Parkland Soccer’s president for about a decade. “We do what we can do to make sure all of the teams have a chance to do well, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say they didn’t have a good time when they play(ed) Parkland Soccer.” That could be why nearly 90 percent return as well.
This season, Coral Springs’ divisions (boys: U6, U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, U19 and girls: U6, U8, U10, U12, U14, U15, U19) were able to get about 400 coaches to dedicate their time to the youngsters.
Practices began in mid November, with regular season games that started in early December, which will be followed by double elimination playoffs to conclude the games in early March.
Parkland’s division stats are pretty impressive too (boys: U9, U11, U13, U16; girls: U9, U11, U13, U16 and co-ed U5, U6, U7) with about 250 coaches and 20 board members. They began practicing in mid October, with games having started in mid November going through February once their playoffs finish.
But regardless of which city our local soccer players reside, they are fortunate to have such strong programs in which to participate.
“We all put in a lot of hard volunteer work for the kids and I sure couldn’t do it alone,” adds Doug, whose own two kids previously played in Parkland, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
And the CS program has offered its program for several decades as well.
“Soccer is a great outlet for kids to play a sport, and we continue to do our part to help them have fun while they’re developing how to play,” says Doug.