By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
As football teams take to the Spring practice field at local and area high schools, Atmore Soccer teams are preparing to kick goals.
“We are now in full swing,” said Atmore Soccer Inc. President Alex Alvarez. “We have kicked off our season strong at the Atmore YMCA fields.”
Atmore Soccer, part of the Alabama Youth Soccer Organization, operates in conjunction with USA Soccer. The league features five different competition levels organized according to age groups, including under 6, under 8, under 10, under 12 and U17.
“We have around 100 kids who sign up to play each year and we are growing,” said Alvarez.
Atmore Soccer kicked off it’s first season in the fall of 2015. Now, in just its fourth year, the program continues to grow in numbers and interest each year.
“Our goals are to create a recreation soccer program that is of the highest quality as possible,” Alvarez said. “We encourage the kids to have fun, while at the same time building the fundamentals of respect, teamwork and everyday traits that will help push the players in life. Soccer is a great way to help build confidence and help create building blocks for the future.”
The league’s teams play each other during the season, with each team playing a total of 7 games.
Teams play on Saturday mornings at the Atmore YMCA fields and are split according to skill level to help balance out teams using the small-sided soccer concept.
Members of the league’s teams are also eligible for tournament play and can be recruited onto USA Soccer teams. USA Soccer is an Olympics-based program that helps develop players for the next level of play.
The organization also holds special tournaments and camps that allow youth players the opportunity to travel all across the world. It also hosts U.S. amateur tournaments and international soccer tournaments.
“It is very exciting to be a part of a program that offers so many opportunities to young kids within the game,” Alvarez said.
Atmore Soccer’s main goal is to help create a fun environment and provide an opportunity to play soccer in Atmore. The local youth soccer league is presently the only such organization in the area and is hoping to build to an even bigger level in the future.