Kids Inc. Director Mike Medill has been involved with the organization for the past 20 years and says soccer was around before he was around.

“They did things a little different back then, but we have made some changes to the rules that go right along with regular soccer,” Medill said.

The Kids Inc. soccer program has five separate age divisions - U6, U8, U10, U12 and U14.

“We have about 400 kids out this year. We had a lot of kids come out to play the game,” Medill said. “A lot has to do with the fact that we brought the U6 division back to the spring league. In the past they only competed in the fall league.”

Medill said there are seven teams in the U14, U12, U10 and U6 divisions and five teams in the U8 division. Teams will begin practice on Monday and the games will start after spring break. “We will have four fields going each night from 5:30 to 8 p.m.,” Medill said.

All the leagues will compete in a regular season that will be followed by a postseason tournament.

“We should wrap things up in the first week of May, just in time for the track meet,” Medill said. “We do have coaches for every team this year and we are always looking for volunteers as far as referees are concerned. Currently, we have a group of five who do call our games, but we could still use a lot more.”

Anyone interested in being a soccer official should contact Medill at 256-6011 or stop by the office at 509 Plank Blvd.

Medill said soccer is not a difficult sport to officiate.

“There are not a lot of rules like in football, baseball and basketball,” he said.

Medill said he could teach someone how to call the game in about 15 minutes.

The goal of Kids Inc. soccer is to retain the kids who come out to play, according to Medill.

“We want the kids to learn the game and have fun with it,” he said. “We will teach them the fundamentals of the game as well as the rules as they move up in age divisions.”

Medill hopes that by the time kids reach the U14 division, they are starting to understand the strategy of the game. He said that knowledge will help prepare them for high school competition.

“I think the Kids Inc. soccer program is a beneficial tool for the high school program,” Medill said. “Many of our kids have gone onto play at that level and have done quite well.”

Medill said he would like for these kids to go out and compete in the game under good sportsmanship guidelines.

“It all begins with the coaches and how they coach. If they teach good sportsmanship it trickles down to the kids and their parents,” he said. “We want these kids to strive to be the best they can be and I believe we have the coaches for them to do just that.”

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