Tough questioning from her daughter, prompted mother Debbie Strid, to start a grassroots youth soccer program in Hettinger.
By JENNIFER GARREAU
“My daughter asked to play soccer this summer, but there wasn’t anything offered in Hettinger,” said Strid. “She asked ‘why not?’ and I didn’t have an answer for her other than, exactly why not have soccer in Hettinger.”
A survey was sent to the school to see if there were other interested students and it came back with nearly 60 interested youth.
“The school let us use the football field to hold our practices and play in, as it wasn’t in use during the months of June and July,” said Strid. She also contacted the City Park Board, who could not add the program to their summer recreation program, as it was too late in the year to find coaches.
With the help of generous free will donations from Alliance Ag, Gate City Bank, Poss Plumbing and several parents with youth interested in the program, the program was off and running. Monies donated were used to purchase soccer balls, two nets, a rebounder net and other equipment.
Strid said, 30 children, who were split into two groups of 15, played this season. Strid who had never before coached soccer, started with the basics before letting the two teams scrimmage or play one another.
“It was amazing to see how much they learned from the first day to the end of the season, they all came so far,” said Strid.
Next year, if the program does not become part of the City’s summer recreation program Strid said, she would like to schedule it around baseball, “so kids don’t have to pick and choose, we can make both schedules work together.”
Other changes for next year would include allowing children entering Kindergarten the opportunity to play, as there “was a huge amount of interest in the program from younger kids,” she said. Strid added that she greatly appreciated all of her volunteers but would like to see even more volunteer support in coaching next year.
“We need to keep soccer going in our community. The kids absolutely love soccer! Many of them don’t play baseball and were looking for another organized sport they could be a part of. I truly believe it is important to keep those kids that were part of this first season playing soccer,” said Strid.