Area soccer fans enjoy playing game

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2000

When Jean-Claude Coullerez moved to Natchez about 10 years ago, the soccer enthusiast found few people to share his passion for the sport. &uot;When&160;I first got here, there wasn’t much of a league that I&160;could play in,&uot; said Coullerez, who was born in France and spent most of his life in Quebec. &uot;So me and a couple of other guys just started playing around, and all of a sudden the numbers started building up, and we were playing in a league.&uot;

Coullerez is now part of an adult soccer league which plays every Sunday in Natchez.

&uot;We’re not the only two who’ve been playing since the beginning,&uot; Coullerez said of himself and friend Dennis Hogue. &uot;There are others like Peter Rinaldi, Roy Price, and Pete Cantu that have also been playing since the very beginning.&uot;

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Hogue said Cantu originally came up with the idea to form a team.

&uot;Pete was out there playing with us, and one day he brought up the idea of forming a team, so everybody took him up on it,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;To start out with we only had about eight guys, and it’s hard to play real soccer with only eight guys. But over time we started building up the numbers, and now we’re up to almost 20 guys.&uot;

Coullerez said he has several reasons for playing the game. &uot;I love to play. It’s as simple as that, I&160;just love to play the game,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;Also, I&160;like to try to keep in shape, and the friends that I’ve made are a good reason why I keep coming back.&uot;

Hogue said sometimes it’s hard to get many people out to the field because of the other things that some people have going on.

&uot;We’ve been down as low as four players, and even though it’s fun, at the same time, it’s very tiring,&uot; he said.

Hogue and Coullerez both agreed that the comraderie between players is a big part of why they participate.

&uot;We don’t play with a referee, everyone calls their own fouls, and everyone just tries to have a good time,&uot; Hogue said.

Another participant in the weekly soccer game is Glenn Bolner, who said he the best part about playing is &uot;being able to stay in touch with the young people who come out and play sometimes, and since we have a diverse group of people out, it’s also fun being able to learn about different people and their cultures and languages.&uot;

Bolner joined the group &uot;about five years ago,&uot; when he approached the group after a game he was coaching.

&uot;They always welcome new players to the game,&uot; he said.

The weekly match is played every Sunday at 4 p.m. at McLaurin Elementary School.

&uot;Sometimes we get people out there who have never played soccer before and we encourage that type of thing,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;We just give them a little extra room to work.&uot;