The Havre Youth Soccer Association gives children a chance to get outside and play soccer for fun.
Youth Soccer is broken up into four categories, based on grade levels: Kindergarten to first grade, second to third grade, fourth to fifth grade and sixth to eighth grade.
Pam Olson, a coach and director for the association, said there are roughly 16 to 20 teams in the K-1 category, 12 in the second-third category, six in the fourth-fifth category and four in the middle school category. with a total of 375 kids signed up.
Olson said the association does not have tournaments, and they do not keep score, though the players may keep the score for themselves.
“There’s no team ranking,” Olson said. “They just play for the experience.”
One of the benefits of a soccer association in a town of Havre’s size is kids of all skill levels and backgrounds can play. No one is cut from the teams and, because of this, kids are able to practice with a team they might not normally not be let into, Olson said.
“Basically, if you’re interested, you get to play,” Olson said.
One of the biggest problems with the program is lack of volunteers.
“We just get a handful of volunteers every year,” Olson said. “If we had more coaches, we could make the teams smaller and kids would get more play time.”
Before next year’s season, the Youth Soccer Association will be hosting coaches clinics for those interested in coaching teams, but who have a limited knowledge of the game. The association is also looking for volunteers for other needs, such as field maintenance and other things needed to keep the games running.
Olson added that if there were more volunteers, they could give the kids the best possible experience in the program and this would maybe get them to be interested in continuing playing soccer with a competitive team.
The season began Sept. 3 and the last day of games is Oct. 17. Registration was $25, which included a team shirt and socks. The teams play Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The program is funded largely by local sponsors in addition to the registration fees.
“We have had some fantastic sponsorship over the years,” Olson said. “It really helps keeps the costs down.
Olson has been coaching Havre soccer teams for four years and also works at the Northern Montana Medical Group. Other coordinators for the program include Shane Ford, Tina Thomas and Katie Valdez.