Children of Copperview Rec Center’s Summer Soccer Program Scoring Summer FunAug 01, 2016 10:23AM ● By Sarah Almond
One of the Summer Outdoor Soccer Program’s few girls runs the ball toward the goal. Copperview Program Coordinator Jennifer Carpenter hopes to have more girls join the outdoor soccer league starting in September 2016.
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Midvale, Utah - For nearly a decade, Copperview Recreation Center’s Summer Outdoor Soccer program has been a popular annual activity in the Midvale community. This year, the six-week-long seasons saw 125 participants, with ages from three-years-old through those entering sixth grade.
“The summer season typically stretches from the middle of June through the end of July,” said Jennifer Carpenter, Program Coordinator for Copperview. “The Fall Outdoor Soccer Season begins the second week in September.”
Carpenter believes the children’s soccer program is so popular because of the lessons it provides participants. With games held every Tuesday and practices scheduled on a per-coach basis, the sizable group of kids has ample opportunity to learn the skills and values offered by the sport of soccer.
“Having these weekly games gives the kids a lot,” Carpenter said. “They learn basic skills while having fun. They’re learning sportsmanship and teamwork.”
The coaching staff Copperview’s soccer program is all volunteer-based and Carpenter reaches out to players at Hillcrest High School to recruit referees for the summer season.
“Parents are amazing,” Carpenter said. “They put in their time and all their effort to make sure that the kids have a great time.”
Nick Brown has been a volunteer coach for the program for several years and a parent of seven-year-old Darren, who’s been participating in the program for the past few years.
“My son loves playing soccer because it gives him something to do and it’s given him people to get to know,” Brown said. “It’s opened up new things for him, plus it’s pushed his boundaries a little bit to not be so shy.”
As coach of one of Copperview’s First-and-Second-Grade teams, Brown finds gratification in being able to help teach children the fundamentals of soccer and instill in them an early passion for one of the most popular sports in the world.
“My favorite thing about coaching these kids is helping them with teamwork and team building,” Brown said. “The other thing is that soccer builds a lot of confidence in them. Because these kids are so young, a lot of them have never played before and they just need that positive reinforcement in coaching.”
The Spring, Fall, and Summer Outdoor Soccer programs are divided into four different playing levels: Pre-k, Kindergarten, First and Second Grade, and Third Through Fifth Grade. Though Carpenter says that more boys tend to sign up than girls, she tries hard to ensure there are at least two girls on each team.
“I love seeing girls sign up for the program, especially during the summer,” Carpenter said.
While many might consider 125 children to be substantial attendance for a Rec program, the summer is actually a small group when compared to the more than 200 kids who sign up for Copperview’s Fall and Spring Outdoor Soccer programs.
Because of the smaller roster, teams only play one game per-week in the summer. In the fall and spring seasons, however, teams play at least two games each week - one during the week and one on Saturdays. Along with weekly Tuesday games, each team spends times during the week practicing under coached guidance.
“My team practices for an hour every thursday here at Copperview Rec,” Brown said. “We work on everything from passing to simply spreading out across the field for passing. But the first thing I always do is make sure that they all know each other’s names.”
With an average of 10 kids per team, Brown says that making sure they learn their teammates names helps to quickly build teamwork amongst the young players.
“They are a little shy at first, but then they break it,” Brown said. “And you know, they’ll have some bickering but that’s a good thing because that’s something they can build on and they can see their own improvement.”
Though the Summer Outdoor Soccer Season has concluded, young children interested in playing soccer in September’s Fall Season are encouraged to enroll at the Copperview Rec Center.