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Kickin’ it around

Soccer instructor Seth Gary shows participants in this year’s soccer league some vital skills needed to be successful. The Evangeline Soccer Association will hold their opening ceremonies on August 26 at the EPRD Complex to kick off their eight week season. (Gazette photo by Elizabeth West)

The international game of soccer comes to VP

Sports Editor

Well it is official.
The world wide phenomenon of futbol, known to us Americans as soccer, has found its way to Cajun Country.
As of August 26, soccer will be a recognized sport in Evangeline Parish. On that day, the first annual Evangeline Soccer Association opening ceremonies will be held at the Evangeline Parish Recreational District Complex.
Bringing this international game to this rural Louisiana parish was not something that happened overnight. The concept has actually been in the planning stages for about two years.
“About two years ago we (the rec district) were looking to add another sport for the area,” stated ESA President and Recreational Complex Director Thomas Scully. “That is when the sport of soccer came up. I found out that Stephanie Ware at KVPI had been involved in the sport as a coach in Lafayette. So, we got together and talked about what it would take to make it a reality here. She was very helpful and in fact did a lot of the ground work to make sure we did it the right way.”
When approached about having soccer here in the parish, Ware, who will serve as Vice-President of the league, was tickled to death to help get the ball rolling.
“I had coached soccer in Lafayette when my daughter was young,” said Ware. “I really love it. I love the community feeling it brings and I truly believe the people around here are going to going to enjoy it.”
Even with the enthusiasm that both Scully and Ware brought to the table, there was some trepidation as to how it would be received.
“I was very surprised at the number of kids that signed up,” commented Scully. “I think it is because a number of the kids, especially the younger kids do not have anything to do in the fall. So, this gave them a sport to enjoy.”
“Last year I decided to make a Facebook page to see what type of interest there would be,” stated Ware. “And it has just been overwhelming. I think we have over 650 on our Facebook page now.”
That response has netted some amazing participation numbers. After four separate registrations, the league has right at 175 kids ready to begin play on the last Saturday of August.
The league will be divided into four age groups and will participate in a modified version of the game. During each contest only four players from each team will be on the field at one time, a field that is smaller than a regulation field, and there will be no goalie. So why the scaled down version? It’s all about learning the game.
“We wanted to focus on the fundamentals of the game to begin,” said Scully. “Just kicking the ball is a skill that needs to be learned. So, by scaling the field down the field and having no goalie, the kids can focus on the important fundamentals of the game.
The league will play on every Saturday beginning August 26, with a mid-season break on September 30. They will then resume play the following weekend and continue play until October 28.

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