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Posted: October 4, 2011 5:09 p.m.

Covington YMCA adds lights to outdoor center

The Covington YMCA has seen its share of growing pains over the past decade. But over that time, slowly, its built up its sports programs, especially soccer. The YMCA has grown its youth soccer program to 418 total participants. In addition to soccer, the YMCA offers flag football in five age groups. Registration began Oct. 1 and runs through the 18th.

Most recently, the YMCA added lights to its outdoor center in Oxford. The outdoor center, built on land donated by the Arnold Fund in 2006, houses four regulation-sized soccer field that are consequently divided into smaller field to accommodate the younger leagues. As a result, the first night games were played Saturday and more teams can play during the fall when daylight becomes less and less as the seasons change.

The growth of the YMCA soccer program includes its Galaxy program. Jason Williams, a former volunteer who has been instrumental in the development and maturation of the Galaxy program, was recently appointed the new recreation coordinator.

"Galaxy is our competitive soccer program," Williams said. "I was a part of the group of coaches that formed Galaxy and it's been great to see where it's come so far. A lot of things have grown including the facility."

Williams' appointment makes sense. He's been involved with the Galaxy since its inception and has overseen it grow from one team (10 and under) to 10 teams total, spanning ages 9-16 and including both boys and girls.

"He's been a volunteer and parent involved with soccer here for 10 years and that's why it was a natural match for this position," director Louly Hay-Kapp said. "He's pretty much led the program as it is and has a lot of experience working with the coaches and parents and has a lot of strengths when it comes to teaching players how to coach and the player development."

Hay-Kapp has been engrossed in building the Covington YMCA to what it is today. Along with the football and soccer programs, the YMCA has 982 members who have access to the athletic facility on Newton Drive and it peaked at 1,031 in August. The soccer program has gone from teams playing at different sites to all playing at the outdoor center.

"We would play on any piece of grass we could get," Hay-Kapp said.

The plans for the outdoor center call for a concession stand, a permanent restroom and administration building and the hope is to turn it into a full-service facility.

"We would also like to put a classroom out there where we could offer training on the fields and have that space be used for more that just playing games," Williams said.

The YMCA offers several fitness classes including yoga, circuit bike training and aerobics. In addition, the after-school facility works with 49 children from East Newton, Fairview, Flint Hill and Ficquett Theme School.

On Nov. 17, the YMCA has a ceremony planned to thank all of the local donors in helping with the recent facility growth. The YMCA depends heavily on private donations to fund its projects.

"We have four field and a playground out there but the overall goal is for it to become a community park — more than what we have now," Hay-Kapp said. "We are very excited about the project."

All information including football registration forms can be found online at www.cvy.ymcaatlanta.org.

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