Fall gets kickin’

Published 12:37 am Friday, July 13, 2007

VIDALIA— Football, American style , won’t be the only sport kicking off this September when the Vidalia Recreation Board starts its first soccer league.

“People always have asked me to start one but I’ve never had the time,” Recreation Director Mike Bowlin said. “This was the first thing I wanted to do when I became director.”

The league will consist of four age groups and play according to the U.S. Youth Soccer Handbook. The cost is $50 per player.

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“For your $50 we will provide a shirt, shorts, socks and shin guards,” Bowlin said. “It’s a pretty good deal.”

The youngest group will consist of boys and girls six years and under. Their games will be three on three with no goalkeeper and are played on a smaller field, 30 yards by 25 yards.

The U.S. Youth League Handbook describes this age group as “developmental players.” The rules are set up to teach players the rules of the game and develop control.

The next group will be 7- and 8-year-old children. They will play four on four with no goalkeeper on a slightly larger field, 35 by 30 yards. The rules expand to use corner kicks.

The last two groups are the 10-year-olds and under and the 12-year-olds and under. Goalkeepers and penalty kicks are introduced in these groups.

“I’m hoping we have enough players to make a girls and boys league, Bowlin said, but if I don’t, we will go co-ed all the way.”

The 10- and under group plays six on six on a 60 by 45 yard field and the 12 and under group plays with eight players on each team. Their field is 80 by 55 yards.

“Eventually we hope to have older age groups once this catches on,” Bowlin said.

Bowlin has already made plans with soccer teams in Ferriday and Monterey to participate in the league.

The fields will be located behind the new parish courthouse on police jury land.

“Randy Temple and Whest Shirley were very helpful in getting the land for us,” Bowlin said.

The soccer season will start in the first week of September and go through the first of October.

Anyone interested in participating can either call Hometown Sports in Vidalia at 318-336-9008 or Mike Bowlin at 601-431-9783.