Playing some soccer for the kids

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011

Adult soccer: The adult soccer league at Suffolk Youth Athletic Association is looking for new players, with soccer skill and experience or not, for its season starting on May 14 and going until the end of June. The player registration fees are going to fund new equipment for the youth leagues at SYAA.

Duane Fuller and Suffolk Youth Athletic Association want adults to play soccer, too.

SYAA has hosted an adult soccer league during the past few summers. But Fuller is trying to bring new players and teams in for this upcoming season, and he’s trying to help the youth playing at Suffolk Youth along the way.

“I’ve been coaching SYAA teams for about five years now. I coach a 13-U and a 9-U team right now, so I see the equipment year by year,” Fuller said.

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So the registration fees from players entering the adult league, which will run from May 14 to the end of June with games on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, will go to funding new equipment for the younger leagues at SYAA.

“Most of the kids who play play two seasons a year. I know the league needs new balls, gloves, nets, you name it,” Fuller said.

In the past about four or five teams, playing 7-on-7 soccer, made up the adult league. Fuller’s shooting for eight teams this season and making the games 8-on-8.

No skill is needed, and Fuller emphasizes that trait about the league.

“We’re asking for players basically 21 or older. Anyone younger than that might run us into the ground,” Fuller said.

“We’ll keep score, but that’s sort of just because it makes it more fun, and we play on a smaller field. Running is sort of optional,” Fuller said.

The lack of a skill requirement and the fun atmosphere lead to another way Fuller hopes the league helps the younger soccer players.

“We’re going to be out there showing good sportsmanship. As adults and coaches, we’re supposedly showing the kids how to do this and this is a great opportunity to do just that,” he said.

There one more unique aspect to promoting sportsmanship and positive play through the adult league. Kids will referee the adult matches.

In a program founded and taught by Geoff Payne, a current board member for SYAA and longtime volunteer, teenagers are trained and put on the field for league matches as referees. The kids make a little bit of money while learning responsibility and discipline. Some of Payne’s students have advanced to higher levels as officials.

Anyone interested in playing, but without a team, is invited to come to a league meeting at the SYAA Soccer Complex on King’s Fork Road on Monday, May 9 at 6 p.m. The registration fee is $25. Anyone with questions, or who can’t come to Monday’s meeting, can call or e-mail Fuller at 435-4550 or