Adult soccer night provides low cost exercise for Craig

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College interns from ColoWyo Coal Company dueled with 10-year-old youth soccer players, and a local minister matched up with a soccer mom who was actually playing soccer.

Wednesday night at Woodbury Park, eight people split into two-teams of four, a soccer ball was dropped and the second week of adult soccer night officially began.

Though the title 'adult night' is somewhat misleading, since the soccer players were composed of various ages groups, that is what organizer Bill Sawer likes to see.

"There are no age requirements, no skill requirements and no cost," he said. "It's basically a night where different people can get together, meet each other and get some exercise."

The night of socialization and athleticism is the result of what was a long-fought battle to get public soccer introduced in Craig. Sawer has been successful in starting other soccer leagues in other places that are not very distant.

Sawer helped build the bustling, public soccer league in Steamboat Springs, which in its early days, saw almost as small of a turnout as Craig has in its first year.

"We started out with three teams in the beginning, and it has now grown to around 18 teams," Sawer said. "They now play under the lights at night, because there are so many games."

Craig's version of soccer is still not as refined as its neighbors to the east, but the spirit of competition and teamwork aren't lessened because of it.

The testament to the already-growing popularity of the sport is the dedicated following that it has already drawn. The eight players, a number that usually turns into about 10 by the end of the evening, were the return customers from the season opener.

Some of those joining the Wednesday night games are doing so for the first time in their lives.

"I hadn't really played soccer since middle school," said Kelli Kelsch, a ColoWyo-intern from Montana Technical University. "Now that I've played a little bit, it's starting to come back."

The games begin at 7 p.m. every Wednesday night, and they usually go for about an hour.

When there is a lack of players, the field is shortened and the out-of-bounds rules are negated.

Sawer hopes to keep the numbers of players increasing, while making soccer another popular summer sport in Craig.

"We want anyone who is interested to come out. It helps to expend some low-cost energy," he said. "And after an hour of soccer, I guarantee that whoever comes out will sleep well."

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