Just a game

'This is the best age to play because it's all about fun'

Referee Maggie Blackstun remembers her favorite time to play soccer was when she was young.

"This is the best age to play because it's all about fun," she said after refereeing a game of athletes 6 and younger.

Blackstun, who plays high school soccer, said she enjoys contributing to the Parks and Recreation Youth Soccer League because it hopefully will spur an interest for the children to keep participating.

"I think it is cool to start young and get a love for the game," she said.

One player who enjoyed the season was Zachary Soron.

Soron, who plays for the 6 and younger red team, said he plays every sport, and he especially likes soccer.

"I like running because it's good work for your legs," he said.

The youth soccer program includes children ages 6 to 14 years old.

Angie Worster, a coach for a 6 and younger team, said she originally didn't plan on coaching but was asked to so there would be enough coaches for all the children who wanted to play.

"I wasn't looking forward to it, but I really enjoyed it," she said.

The best part for Worster was seeing the development of the players.

"We went from not knowing where to stand to winning the last two games," she said.

Charles Kelty, whose son plays in the league, said he could see the improvement in his son, Nathan, all year long.

"The best part was watching the kids have fun," he said. "It was nice to see the kids develop as a team."

Kelty also said the league teaches the younger children values off the field.

"It helps them interact with other kids," he said.

For mom Martha Laliberte, the youth league will help build a strong soccer program in the future.

"This really teaches the kids how to do it," she said.

She said the basics of soccer are learned at a young age, and if the players can master these skills by the time they are older, it will help the high school team and coach Jeff Hammond.

"We want to keep the level of soccer going so it will feed (Hammond's) level of play."

Although the summer youth soccer season ended Thursday night, children will have plenty more chances in the future. The Craig Youth Soccer Association will have fall and spring leagues for children ages 6 to 14. For more information about dates and registration, interested parents should call LaShanna Cox at 826-2827.

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