Kids, parents find joy in recreation soccer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

Every athlete’s love for a sport begins somewhere at sometime.

In this instance, Troy’s recreation fields are the place where children of all ages can get their first taste of a game loved around the world – soccer.

Chad Copeland, head coach for the Chargers, a 5-years-old and under boys and girls team, has been coaching recreation soccer for the past three seasons.

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“I like coaching this age group,” Copeland said.

“These kids don’t care about who wins or loses, they just want to have fun on the field.

Copeland said that he and his coaches teach the kids the simple rules of the game, everything from throw-ins to running with the ball.

“We try not to get too in depth with how the game is played,” Copeland said.

“We teach the kids sportsmanship and how to pay attention.

“It’s a lot of fun for me because I can be a big kid and run around on the field with the team.”

The coaches aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves during the games, however.

The sidelines are filled with the players’ most adoring fans – their parents.

“It’s exciting to watch the games,” Paula Rushing said.

Rushing is the mother of Ally Rushing, who is playing her first year of recreation soccer.

“She loves it and looks forward to playing every day. She loves being active – it really is a lot of fun to be a part of,” she said.

It is sometimes hard to keep the kids active though.

“The biggest challenge is keeping their attention during the game,” Jacque Chirico, mother of Kase Chirico, said with a laugh during the Chargers’ Thursday night game.

“He has been playing since last year and has already made big improvements,” Chirico said. “He really loves playing soccer.”

While soccer may not be the most popular sport in Troy right now, the kids who participate in these recreation games are developing a strong love for the game, according to their parents.

Julianne West, mother of Jackson West, said even though her son plays other sports there is one clear-cut favorite.

“He loves the idea of scoring goals,” West said.

“He plays baseball, too, but between the two, he loves soccer more.”

One aspect of coaching Copeland says makes the job worth it is the kids’ attitudes all throughout the game.

“At the end of the game, what’s more important than the final outcome of the game is what the kids will be getting for their snack – and that’s what makes this so much fun,” Copeland said.