Youth soccer players in the area have either concluded or are in process of concluding their spring season and postseason tournament play. Kids being kids – they immediately start asking, “When does the next season start?”
All too often soccer moms and dads don’t understand the various levels and opportunities to enjoy the beautiful game in Andover and the surrounding communities.
Most area residents are familiar with the tremendous breadth of sports programs offered by the Andover YMCA – including small-sided soccer. These recreational teams play their outdoor soccer seasons in the fall and spring and are typically coached by parent volunteers. Games are played at 13th Street Park. Player fees are economical and only slightly higher for non-YMCA members. Clearly, the Andover Y provides a gate of entry to the wonderful world of soccer.
East Wichita based AYSO Region 49 is a recreational soccer alternative for boys and girls. AYSO 49 forms teams in the late summer which remain together for the year competing in the fall and spring seasons. Region 49 is the oldest AYSO region in Kansas. The American Youth Soccer Organization is a national soccer association with its headquarters in California and is based on the philosophical points of: Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development. A key strength of the local AYSO 49 program is the national infrastructure providing effective training for administrative, officiating and coaching roles with the organization. Kids tend to really like the uniforms also. AYSO player fees are economical. Its local website is www.ayso49.org.
A third soccer option for youth players in Andover and surrounding communities is the Sedgwick County Soccer Association. SCSA is a rapidly growing soccer organization in the Wichita area covering age groups of U-5 through U-19. All games are played at South Lakes Sports Complex.
SCSA was created when a group of Wichita soccer enthusiasts merged existing programs in June 1991. As their goal, the founders sought “to build a unified soccer league incorporating Wichita and the surrounding area.” SCSA is affiliated with the United States Youth Soccer through its membership in the Kansas Youth Soccer. SCSA offers recreational and competitive soccer programs based on the following definitions:
Competitive Team – Responsibility for player selection lies entirely with the team officials. There are no restrictions as to geographic area in the formation of a team, provided the rules and regulations are followed, including those concerning transferred and newly registered players.
Recreational Team – The team must accept assigned players from the league if the team has openings on its roster. The league will also assist players who sign up to play in forming teams and appointing team officials.
Many parents of budding soccer stars have questions regarding the competitive part of the SCSA offering. Without doubt, the obvious difference in team formation via tryouts is significant.
Page 2 of 2 - The SCSA board recently announced tryout dates, times and locations for the various teams participating in the league. The tryout period extends from June 15 to July 15 with the vast majority of the tryouts occurring during the first two weeks. The tryout schedule can be located at www.scsasoccer.com and navigating to the"Players" section of the "Documents" tab. There are two files, one for boys’ teams and one for girls’ teams.
At this point, it helps to remember the phrase “caveat emptor” or “let the buyer beware.” There are all shapes and sizes of clubs and independent teams based in both Wichita and Andover represented in the tryout form. These teams vary in so many ways including quality of coaching, cost, travel and philosophy.
Before rushing off to tryouts, make sure you have your cleats, shin guards, ball, water … and a solid understanding of what parents and players expect from their competitive soccer experience. When you arrive at a tryout, ask questions. Above all else, enjoy the beautiful game that is soccer.