Youngsters get their first kicks

September 04, 2005|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


Saturday was a day to celebrate soccer in Waynesboro.

More than 400 youngsters played soccer on several fields surrounding Waynesboro Area Senior High School at Saturday's 13th annual Soccerfest.

Several games went on simultaneously as players wearing brightly colored uniforms dashed up and down the fields. Parents called encouragement from the sidelines and spectators sat on the hills surrounding the fields enjoying the games, the blue skies and the low humidity. Dozens of coaches participated.

Beside the school, teams lined up for photos and waited their turn to play.

The annual celebratory kickoff to the fall soccer season in Waynesboro, Soccerfest is organized by the Waynesboro Youth Soccer Association. Referees donated their services for the day.

Chad Atkinson, director of coaching, watched 51 5-year-olds enthusiastically kicking the ball, aiming at small, portable goals.

"This is the first time they've ever played," Atkinson said. "They've had a week and a half of practice."


John Leggett of Waynesboro stood on the sidelines and called encouragement to his daughter, Kimberly, 5. She kicked the ball out of bounds, chased it and kicked it right back in.

"It's really fun. I really like it," Kimberly said, noting she already had scored one goal.

Two Robbie's team players sat on the bench taking a breather. Both Jessica Carpenter, 15, and Nicole Dingle, 13, have been playing for six years.

"I think it's great, getting everyone together," Jessica said.

Nicole agreed, adding she expects her team to do well.

Sixteen 11- and 12-year-old girls in red-and-white uniforms are the Boro United team.

"They'll do fine," said coach Bryan Flickinger, girls varsity soccer coach at the high school, as he sent the recently formed team on a warm-up jog around the field.

Bryce Kohler, 6, said his Pictures Plus team won its first game of the day, 3 to 4. In his second year of playing soccer, Bryce attended with his parents, Brad and Dawn Kohler of Waynesboro.

Dawn Kohler said she likes that the players learn sportsmanship and how to play as a team.

"The coaches are involved and are positive reinforcement," she said. "Soccer was a secondary sport when I was in high school. Now, it's wonderful. The parents are involved. It's nice to see it growing in this area."

Asked what he liked best about soccer, Bryce replied, "Winning."

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