If you go
What: American Youth Soccer Organization meeting
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 9
Where: Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. U.S. Highway 40
• For more information, call organizer Bill Sawer at 824-0116.
For Craig resident Bill Sawer, soccer has been a way of life.
Growing up in the 1950s in Michigan, Sawer never had the opportunity to play the game he later grew to love.
When he was 27 and living in Steamboat Springs, he started playing the game to keep in shape for skiing. He hasn’t stopped playing since then.
“Soccer has taken me from England to Jamaica to being the only white guy playing in the Fiji Islands,” he said. “I can talk about soccer all day if I was given the opportunity.”
Now 67, Sawer wants to help Craig youth enjoy the sport he does by starting an American Youth Soccer Organization.
The soccer program would run for 12 weeks from June through the end of August.
Sawer said he has two main reasons for wanting to start AYSO in Craig — another summer activity for youth and to prepare youth for high school soccer.
“Kids can never have enough choices in the summer,” he said. “Plus, my hope is to be able to send more skilled players into the high school level.”
When players head to high school, Sawer said he hopes he has instilled enough passion for the game that they will continue playing.
Boys and girls 5 to 14 will be able to play AYSO.
Sawer said more groups may be added if there’s enough interest.
A big draw for Craig families, Sawer said, is AYSO is inexpensive.
“This new program should not be a financial burden on anyone,” he said. “The kids get to play the whole summer for minimal cost to the family.”
The cost will be $30 for each youth — $15 will go to AYSO for insurance and registration. Another $10 will go toward uniforms and the last $5 will be used for team equipment.
While in Steamboat, Sawer started an AYSO program before he moved to Craig. Sawer also has numerous years of experience coaching.
In 1985, Sawer traveled back to Michigan to coach the Fenton High School girls team.
When he returned to Steamboat, he coached the Colorado Mountain College team until he retired in 2003.
In 2010, Sawer taught a soccer class at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig.
Sawer said a main focus for the program would be full participation.
“Some people are so worried about winning and points scored that they won’t play every kid,” he said. “The kids will never learn the sport sitting on the bench, so win or lose, every kid will get to play.”
Sawer will host an informational meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. U.S. Highway 40.
Anyone interested should attend the meeting, Sawer said, in which time he will discuss costs, rules, the organization and answer questions.
Sawer said he is also looking for five parents to be board members for the Craig AYSO program as well as anyone interested in coaching and refereeing games.