by Lorie Lewis Ham
Summer is nearly upon us and many of us have kids looking for something worthwhile to do with their summer vacation. Why not try soccer? Recently we sat down with Diego Mendoza, who is currently the webmaster and social media manager for the Reedley Kings Canyon Youth Soccer League, to learn more about their league and how to get involved.
KRL: How long have you been involved with this group?
Diego: I’ve been involved as a board member since 2016.
KRL: Is everyone involved a volunteer?
Diego: Yes, every position is a volunteer position.
KRL: How long have you been involved with soccer? (playing, coaching, etc)
Diego: I’ve been involved with Reedley soccer since the mid ‘80s as a player when our league was still in its infancy and again as a coach and volunteer since 2016.
KRL: What ages can play in your league?
KRL: Are there multiple teams?
Diego: Yes, for the 2018 season we had 46 teams.
KRL: Do they try out or just register?
KRL: What are the requirements for a kid to play in your league?
Diego: The only requirement is that our kids meet the age requirements. (mentioned above)
KRL: What is the cost?
Diego: Our costs are the following.
Early registrations from May 1 to June 1 was $70.00
Regular registrations from June 2 tom July 4 is $85.00
Late Registration fee $100.00
KRL: How often do you practice and where?
Diego: Practice days are usually determined by our volunteer coaches. Typically, a coach will discuss with parents what days work best.
Prior to season startup most older age division teams practice twice a week and once the season officially starts, the practice schedule goes to once a week.
All practices are held on fields we have received permission to practice at. These fields include schools in the Kings Canyon Unified School District, Camacho Park, Citizens Park, and Reedley Sports Park.
KRL: How many games do they play and from when to when is the season?
KRL: Who do you play against?
Diego: Since we are a co-ed recreation league, we play interleague. For a few years now, we have invited Parlier Youth Soccer to join our league. They are a smaller league and together with us, we make for a more diverse and complete league.
KRL: How many kids are on a team?
Diego: It depends on our age groups and how many registrations we have. Our main focus is to make sure our kids get as much playing time as possible.
KRL: Have your teams won any awards or championships?
Diego: No, we are a noncompetitive league. Our focus is for our kids to have fun, promote physical activity, make friends, all while learning basic soccer fundamentals
KRL: Why do you feel this is important/How does playing on a soccer team benefit kids?
Diego: There are so many benefits of playing soccer.
• Playing soccer is great exercise that improves cardiovascular health, increases coordination, improves strength, and enhances flexibility.
• Soccer players have to work together as a team in order to be successful. Teamwork is a skill needed to be successful in school, work, family and other real-life situations. Developing Teamwork at an early age gives them a jump start at life!
• Improves motor skills is especially important for kids that are weak in this area. It helps strengthen core muscles, which allows kids to be more physically active.
• Playing a sport, such as soccer, helps kids gain confidence in themselves. They become more comfortable learning new things and performing in front of a crowd.
• Playing soccer helps kids enhance their visual awareness as well as problem solving skills. The fast pace world of soccer makes kids think and react quickly. This improves cognitive flexibility.
• Enhances social connections and interactions. Many kids have become best friends in school after meeting on the soccer field. It’s truly amazing to see this! We have seen shy kids make a full 180.
KRL: What do you like best about what you do?
Diego: Without a doubt, being part of the community and meeting new people every year. It’s wonderful to see the community come together for our kids.
KRL: What is usually the hardest?
Diego: We are all volunteers here with full time jobs. The hardest part would involve setting up every Friday evening and putting everything away Saturday afternoon. But regardless we get it done and seeing the smiles on our kids and the laughter of parents when something funny happens on the field makes it all go away. So, I would say it isn’t necessarily the hardest but we appreciate all the volunteers we can get.
KRL: If someone wants to get involved, what can they do?
Diego: They could contact us directly via our social media page or by contacting a board member. A link to our FB and board member contact information is listed @ reedleysoccer.com
KRL: If a kid wants to register what do they need to do and what is the deadline?
Diego: For new players, we will need a copy of their birth certificate to verify age. If they are returning players, they simply register as a returning player. Deadline is July 15. We will not accept players after the deadline.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Diego: We are in desperate need of sponsors. We need to replace old, damaged equipment and provide new soccer balls for teams to practice with.
Also, we have applications available online and at the Reedley community center. Online link is available on our webpage and on our Facebook page by clicking on the sign-up button.
Our fireworks booth with be in front of the Payless ShoeSource store located at 1359 E Manning Ave, Reedley, CA 93654
We will be accepting applications on site. Our booth will be open July 1 to the 4.