Youth soccer needs players

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The full fields at Woodbury Park during soccer practice Thursday didn't show it, but the numbers for Craig Youth Soccer are down this year.

"We're down from last year, but last year was a record for kids out," said Craig Parks and Recreation director Pam Brethauer.

The 8-and-under as well as the 6-and-under divisions have the same amount of teams as last year (six and four respectively). But the 6-and-under group has teams that are short one or two players.

"We are still accepting any 5- and 6-year-olds who want to play soccer," Brethauer said.

The 10-and-under age group is down one team from four last year. Brethauer said she expected that because the 10-year-old age group has low participation in all recreation sports.

The lowest number of teams is in the 14-and-under age division with two Craig teams and one Hayden team. The league was up to four Craig teams last year, but the previous year it had two.

That means that the two Craig teams will match up at least four times in the eight scheduled games.

"I don't think it matters who we play as long as we play," 14-and-under coach Ray DuBois said.

Looking at the numbers in a different way, as the president of Craig Youth Soccer, DuBois had a different response.

"I only have two 14-year-olds so that means that not very many will be moving up to high school soccer," he said. "I would definitely like to see higher numbers looking at it that way."

Brethauer and DuBois didn't think the numbers were a sign of lack of interest but reflected a natural fluctuation from year to year.

"Overall, soccer has been growing," Brethauer said. "It is still the highest numbers of any sport we have at the recreation department."

The season starts for teams with games at 5:45, 6:45 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Woodbury.

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