park district

Photo by ZACK WATERS/sports@intranix.com

Greg Barrett’s team, the “Kicker Instinct”, do a shooting drill at practice on Thursday night.

On Aug. 3, the Watseka Park District kicked off it’s soccer season.

The season comes on the heals of a youth camp hosted a week prior, with members of the Hoopeston and Watseka high school programs offering up their assistance.

“This year during our camp, there were stations set up and the kids do little drills and learn the ins and outs of soccer. For the older kids its a bit more in depth,” said Watseka Park District Executive Director Sherry Johnson.

The event was a way for kids to come out and familiarize themselves with the sport and train themselves for the upcoming season.

Coaching two teams herself, Johnson is eager to for a successful season of soccer.

“It’s going very well so far. The kids are interested in being there and are having a lot of fun. The weather has also been great, so that’s a huge plus.”

This year will mark the 21st season of the Watseka Park District Soccer League. One hundred and twenty nine kids are participating this year which is enough to make up 12 teams total. That number is up from recent years and Johnson credits the success of the program to the growing popularity of the sport.

“I think soccer is getting more popular and it really helps that we have so many area high schools with their own soccer programs. I think its an affordable way for kids to burn energy and I think it is a great program,” she said.

After the final games of the season wrap up on Sep. 21, the Elks Lodge will then sponsor the annual soccer shootout.

For the younger kids, the competition will consist of five specific goals with each contestant earning points for certain goals. The older age group’s competition will require the players to shoot the ball at a grid set up on the goal. Depending on where the player kicks into the grid will determine the amount of points received.

This will be the eighth year for the Elks Lodge Soccer Shootout.