New adult soccer league "fills huge niche’
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summer used to be slow times for soccer players who didn’t want to travel for games.
Beyond a local men’s competitive team and an on-and-off women’s team, county players were limited to pick-up games and kick-arounds for a soccer fix.
The proliferation of the High Country Soccer Association has changed that. The newly formed organization has attracted 10 teams – about 200 players – for a first-year adult league playing Wednesday evenings in Silverthorne and Breckenridge. The league just completed its third week of play.
“I’ve been waiting for something like this for a while,” said third-year Breckenridge resident Jacob Schneider. “Getting out last week (for the first time) felt good.”
Schneider hasn’t played organized ball since college. He also, like many of the players, has high school soccer experience. There are two divisions: the four-team coed and the six-team open, which is more competitive.
“I know this is low-level soccer,” said Frisco’s Jeff Preston, one of the more inexperienced in the league, “but these guys are good.”
League organizer Amy Machin-Ward had to play things by ear in March, when she began recruiting players. There was no way to tell how many would come out or how many could serve as team captains. At the initial gatherings, 70 players showed up as “free agents,” just looking to get on a team.
Eventually, a few players stepped into captain roles and began picking teams from players whom they mostly didn’t know.
“We kind of just divvied up people,” said team captain Sandy Nigro, who recently moved to the county from Atlanta. “Obviously, friends of friends stayed on teams (together).”
The teams are still growing. High Country Soccer is still getting inquiries about the league and placing late-comers on teams.
“To have that many people come out of the woodwork and want to play soccer, it’s really cool,” Machin-Ward said.
The league strikes a balance between competitiveness and fun and seems to accommodate almost all ability levels. It’s a definite improvement over the options of year’s past.
“I think it’s filling a huge niche,” said Breckenridge recreation coordinator Diane McBride. “Obviously, the demand has been there, and it’s able to accommodate a lot of people.”
Call High Country Soccer at (970) 513-9668 for more information.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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