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New AYSO season sees growth

 

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AYSO defender attempts to steal the ball. | Joy Haynes

Hartselle’s AYSO program is gaining participation with the upcoming season.

The group hit landmarks last year with their first AYSO Area Tournament and the Morgan County Soccer Tournament for local high school teams last soccer season.

They are making more strides this year by hosting the AYSO State Tournament Nov. 21 and 22 for the first time.

Assistant Regional Commissioner Jack Phillips said the community and volunteers have played a large role in the league’s growth.

“What has helped our league grow is that our community is growing larger, and parents are looking for a fun, safe family environment type activity,” Phillips said. “Soccer is a fast-paced type of game with little standing around time for the kids. The other thing that helps is that we have volunteer who are out there for the kids and for the love of the game.”

The league has about 285 players signed up in their U6, U8, U10, U12, U14 and U19 divisions this fall. The spring season and previous fall season saw about 250 players each, so the program is continuing to grow.

Field updates throughout the years have helped bring in more families. Within the last few years, the Groover Road Soccer Complex has added lights, fencing and other amenities, allowing them to host more events.

The league also has other new additions to this season.

“We have enough boys and girls in the U8 division to divide the boys and girls up, whereas in the past, it has been a co-ed age division,” Phillips said. “Girls teams will play against each other, and boys teams will play against each other also. We are also looking into doing some additional coach training, having additional referee classes and extra player training in the future.”

Phillips said the league is excited to see this growth in youth soccer in the area. He said local families are greatly benefitting from the program.

“Kids get to have fun, get exercise and be part of a team,” Phillips said. “We ensure this with the AYSO philosophies, which are everybody plays, balanced teams, open registration, positive coaching, good sportsmanship and player development. Parents benefit by getting to watch their kids have fun, learn new skills and by spending good quality time with their kids by practicing with them at home.”

The Hartselle AYSO program is getting practices for their fall season underway, and games will start Sept. 12.

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AYSO players fight for the ball. | Joy Haynes
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