In an effort to keep kids active and introduce some to the game of soccer, the Covington Family YMCA started its first summer soccer league this year, which is held at their outdoor facility on Stone Road.
The facility opened seven years ago, and this is the first year a summer league has been played in the area.
For four weeks from mid-June to mid-July, 75 kids participate in games every Tuesday and Thursday. There are eight teams in three different leagues that are divided by age group: 8-years-old and under, 10 and under and 14 and under.
The unique aspects of the league are its affordability and its relaxed nature.
“It’s not competitive,” said sport coordinator Brady Shirah. “It’s very laid back and a lot of fun. That’s the main thing: the kids are having a good time and coming away with the experience. I see kids building friendships and just having a good time.”
The entry fee for the kids to participate was $50, which was just enough to cover the costs rather than to raise profits for the Y itself.
“We made it affordable so for kids who have never tried soccer, this would be an easy, relaxed way to see if they are going to like it,” said youth sports director Janette Scharf. “I think we’ve had a lot in the lower age group that this is their first time. Hopefully they’ll come back in the fall after having had fun in the summer.”
Every year, the Y hosts fall and spring soccer leagues for the kids. While the summer league teams are randomized, the fall teams are organized based on skill. The coordinators hope that the summer league will soon become a complement to the leagues during the school year.
“The league is also used to help the kids keep up the soccer skills they learned in fall and spring rather than losing it all,” Scharf said. “That should improve our program in the fall drastically, which is what we’re hoping for.”
In addition to the kids’ league, the Y has also been hosting a summer soccer league for adults, which has games on Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m.
“I think the biggest thing is they’re just having a good time out here,” Shirah said. “We’re getting everyone out here exercising and out of the house.”
Registration for fall soccer at the YMCA is open, and those interested can sign up at the Y or through www.covingtonysports.com.