Craig’s youth soccer program provides a kick for summer | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig’s youth soccer program provides a kick for summer

Kevin Snyder, green, and Gage Kawcak, orange, vie for possession of the ball during a Tuesday game of the Craig Parks & Recreation Youth Soccer's 13U league at Woodbury Sports Complex.

The fields of Woodbury Sports Complex aren't quite the size of a World Cup level venue, but give Craig families enough action, and they'll do their best to make as much noise.

The Youth Soccer program through Craig Parks & RecreationCraig Parks & Recreation wound down this week after about a month of games on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids from ages 5 to 13. wound down this week after about a month of games on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids from ages 5 to 13.

Craig Parks & Recreation wound down this week after about a month of games on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids from ages 5 to 13.

"All the kids have improved from day one," said Kristina Weston a coach for the 6 and under bracket. "Every little bit's an improvement, whether it's a pass or two kicks instead of one. I think they've all improved."

For the youngest players especially, some fundamentals are more natural than others. Beginners tend to stay in one big group on the field rather than spread out like the pros do.

"They like to herd the ball," Weston laughed. "I don't think they realize who's who, they're just all focused on the ball, so we try to get them un-clumped and look out and communicate and say their names."

Recommended Stories For You

In addition to the basic rules and gameplay that are taught at a formative age, the program emphasizes players learning how to hustle and how to hold their heads high even after a loss.

Mark Gannon is in his second year coaching for Parks & Rec, his granddaughter, Kyla, one of his squad in the 8U division this year. Gannon said he played college-level soccer on a scholarship and was involved in the sport on the field into his 40s.

"I'm very sentimental for the sport," he said. "It's always been fun for me, it's great to see the kids involved, and plus it gives them a little exercise."

Parents and grandparents make up the majority of the coaching personnel, as do past and present players of the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School varsity teams and the forthcoming varsity teams and the forthcoming Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeColorado Northwestern Community College teams. teams.

Moffat County High School varsity teams and the forthcoming Colorado Northwestern Community College teams.

Ulises Silva and Sydni Tripp, both of whom will return to Bulldog soccer in the coming school year, head a team together at the 10U grouping. Passing on their knowledge of what they've learned, they hope to see their players on the field for MCHS one day.

"They're only 10 years old, but they're off to a really good start," Tripp said. "I'm sure if they stick with it, they'll get even better when they're older."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.