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Take a trip to the soccer field PDF Print E-mail
By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
I can’t remember spending too much time at a soccer match. Other than job commitments to snap a team picture here and there, I hadn’t spent much time actually watching the game, other than an occasional minute or two on TV.
    But, Saturday featured the opening matches for Imperial soccer teams here, and I thought I’d jaunt down to Schroeder Park to watch the younger teams play, and take a few pictures.
    What a joy it was!
    Watching youngsters six and younger try to maneuver the ball around the makeshift fields made me smile—a lot. I found myself hanging around a lot longer than I had planned.
    Over on the next field, the match was a little more competitive, as the U8 (eight and younger) teams, one from Imperial and one from Perkins County, battled it out.
    Parents lined the fields on both locations, cheering on their youngsters.
    I grew up in a family of baseball players, so soccer wasn’t even talked about in our family much.
    But, one of my brothers, who was an All-American baseball player at Kearney State in the 1970s, became a big proponent of soccer as he raised three daughters in Rapid City.                    
    There, he coached his daughters’ soccer teams, and became a big fan of the sport. He said it’s a great activity for kids—a great game. One that’s right up there with baseball.
    A pretty good testimony from a die-hard ball player.
    Parents here evidently realized that, too. More than 150 youngsters from this area are involved in the soccer program this season.
    The soccer season here is a short one, only lasting about six weeks.
    Games are played on Saturdays at Schroeder Park for the younger teams. The older teams play on various other nights at the Wellington St. football field.
    Watch this newspaper’s sports section each week. We plan to run the weekly schedules, so residents who may not have children playing can follow the teams, too.
    As you may know, the city added soccer to its recreation program several years ago, and helps fund some of the equipment costs and field preparation. The school allows use of the football field for some of the matches. And, parents and other young adults are contributing their time to coach.
    When several people and entities work together toward a common goal, it usually means good things.