By Ashley Ferraro
Parkland Soccer gears up for its 35th season, eager to welcome kids and their families back to Pine Trails Park. The recreational league invites boys and girls ages 5-18 to join the community, develop their skills, and make new friends.
Beyond teaching kids the ins and outs of the game, Parkland Soccer works to develop personal qualities. The program focuses on building self-esteem, physical fitness, respect, and achievement.
Another goal of the league is to streamline communication with parents throughout the season. To tackle this, Parkland Soccer has partnered with a mobile application that’s used to communicate important updates directly to parents. This app served as a lifeline during the worst parts of the pandemic and continues to do so. In addition to disclosing health and safety alerts to parents, the app provides things like weather updates, cancellations, and even which parent’s turn it is to provide snacks that week.
Player evaluations are conducted for U9/G9 divisions and up to promote skill equality among the various teams. Once evaluations are complete, the board and coaches organize a draft to ensure an even distribution of player skillsets. This way, the competition throughout the season remains fair and fun.
That’s really the foundation of Parkland Soccer, according to Doug Cole, Parkland Soccer President. “Our goal is always creating parity and a safe environment for the kids to play. It’s a rec league; it’s all about the kids having fun,” he says.
Speaking of fun, Parkland Soccer boasts the return of its annual end-of-season picnic at Pine Trails. What once was a small celebration with bounce houses and trophies has transformed into the biggest city event of its kind. Although trophies are still awarded, players and their families can expect a DJ, a photo booth, Carvel ice cream, games, rides, face painters, and more.
Parents can get involved with Parkland Soccer by volunteering as coaches. The organization hosts coach’s clinics at the beginning of each season to prep volunteers without coaching or soccer experience. By enlisting professional coaches, the clinics teach volunteers age-appropriate drills and other key skills to prepare them for games.
State Certified referees are also required to participate with Parkland Soccer this season, as in past seasons. Referees have the opportunity to get paid while expressing their love for soccer, developing their own skills, and making new friends. The minimum age to referee Parkland Soccer is fourteen years old.
Finally, local businesses are invited to get involved with the organization as a sponsor. In return, sponsors get their name or logo on the jerseys of the particular team they’re sponsoring for the season. Sponsoring a team is an excellent way to bridge the gap between business and community.
Registration for Parkland Soccer is open now through September 1st. Evaluations will be held in mid-September, and the first preseason practice will take place on October 23rd. Details forthcoming via e-mail to all registered participants.
Mark your calendars because opening night will be held on November 12th. Register your child now or apply to be a coach, referee, or sponsor at www.parklandsoccer.net.