Young people from around Emery County are learning the game of soccer.
It's the spring soccer season and games started in Emery County the week of April 19. Troy Winter is the organizer for the soccer league which runs under the direction of the Emery County Recreation District. Winter said, "This year the signups have doubled. We have 243 players in four age groups. There are second-third graders, fourth-sixth grade, junior high age and pre-kindergarten through first grade. The soccer players will have the opportunity to attend the REAL Salt Lake soccer game on May 7. We have many local soccer players who have purchased the discount tickets to attend the game."
The soccer fields in the county are at the Aquatic Center park in Castle Dale, Cleveland and Ferron elementaries, Orangeville church, Lion's Park in Huntington, and the Welcome Park in Orangeville.
Coaches for the league include: Carey Archibald, Troy Winter, Kason Merrell and Amber Pittman for the fourth-sixth grades. The junior high age group coaches include Natalie Gardner, Jim Greenan, Tim Lacock and Brian Dawes. Pre-kindergarten -first grade include Marie Rogers, Jennifer Parkin, Tammy Funk, Errol Durrant, Lucile Robinson, Jim Rushton and Steven Stoker. The second-third grade coaches are Tina Service, Jenni Jensen and Tasha Wagoner.
Soccer has grown in popularity over the years in Emery County. The sport has bounced around between fall and spring, but now it will be played in the spring. It is the goal of the soccer program to eventually have a high school soccer team.
In soccer the goalee is the only one who can touch the ball with his hands as the goalee can grab the ball once it enters the goalee box and the ball is kicked away either by placing it on the corner of the goalee box or a drop kick.
These Emery County players are learning the rules along the way as they have fun running up and down the field kicking and passing the soccer ball. Their ultimate achievement is in kicking a goal. Soccer games are usually low scoring events where tough defense by a team and goalee keeps the ball out of the goal.
Soccer has been played since ancient times and is especially popular in Europe and South American countries. Soccer is gaining popularity in the United States and in Utah with the professional soccer team REAL Salt Lake locating here has really increased interest and REAL Salt Lake won the championship two seasons ago. The soccer team traveled the state with their trophy as they brought recognition to their sport. The team even stopped in Castle Dale to show-off their trophy and they presented programs at Castle Dale Elementary and Emery High.