By Jesse Cosens
BLACKFOOT – AYSO in Blackfoot is one of the largest youth soccer organizations in Bingham County. They are predominant at the soccer fields by the State Hospital, Tuesday through Thursday, everywhere you look is the signature green and yellow team jerseys. Embolden on the front of the jersey is the time honored AYSO logo. Little tikes running about trying to get a score for their team is endearing to say the least. Only the most hardened heart doesn't melt watching the future little Pele's running up and down the field in a totally disorganized manner. Score means little, the rules are followed for structure and everyone plays. From the biggest itty bitty to the littlest everyone gets to play. The only true objective is having fun. Even the parents have a blast watching the madness, "It is so much fun, they don't care about the score they are here to meet good friends and have a good time." Said Mark Walsh, one of the parents watching the game. Mary Stuart said, "Its more for the exercise than anything else they are so tired when we get home, it is the best ever. The only days bedtime isn't a fight are soccer days." Beneficial for the kids teaching fair-play, hard work, and social skills only learned through teamwork, but also for the parents giving them the relief that only comes from exhausted children. Parental involvement is unsurpassed when it comes to kids in sports. The games and practices alone can dominate a social calendar. The dedication these parents have is amazing, and should be applauded.
Tuesday was the little one's, the U6 division at the fields. This is division is designed to give them the fundamentals of the game, while scores aren't kept the spirit of the game is the true lesson.
Wednesday night is the U8 and U10 divisions, little bigger being seven and eight year-olds' in the U8 and bigger still with the U10 for the nine to ten year-olds' but the lessons are the same fair-play with more of an emphasis on basic game fundamentals and as always everyone plays. These divisions are a little more competitive.
Thursday nights the bigger kids come out to play in the U12 to U14 divisions, with players from eleven to fourteen year-olds'. Much more competitive and faster paced. Still with the mantra everyone plays, just at a more advanced level of gameplay. There is an emphasis on advanced techniques and fundamental training to suit the older kids mentalities.
Come out to the fields at the State Hospital show your support and cheer these rising stars on, it doesn't matter what age group or division you end up watching it is sure to entertain.