Summerville Soccer Club is a hub of fall activity

  • Friday, August 29, 2014

Roger Lee/Journal Scene Youth teams practice at the Summerville Soccer Club Wednesday afternoon.

Editor’s note: This is the first of two stories featuring the Summervillle Soccer Club.

Roger Lee

rlee@journalscene.com

This fall more than 1,300 kids are participating in Summerville Soccer Club programs.

Founded in 1981 by a group of local parents wanting to grow the sport of soccer in the area, the club strives to provide youth a safe place to develop their soccer skills and enjoy the game.

It has grown into a non-profit organization with a facility in Oakbrook that includes six full-size fields (300x210 feet) plus three smaller fields located on 20 acres of land. Four fields are lighted.

The club offers programs for youth of nearly all ages as well as adults.

“You can introduce the structure on what to do and what not to do with kids as young as 3,” Bob Hasenstab, president of the Summerville Soccer Club Board of Directors, said. “Now don’t tell a 4-year-old what position he is playing; just tell him to whack at the ball. You can come up with games so that you can teach them but they have no idea they are practicing. To them it’s just play and before you know it they are falling in love with it.”

The club has 12 Select (13U to 18U) teams and 14 Academy (9U-12U) teams that have approximately 14 players each. Many of them are year-round teams. Other than the ages involved, the biggest difference is the Select teams play 11-man soccer and typically travel further for competition while the Academy teams play six-man or eight-man soccer and play closer to home.

In addition, the club has a developmental (recreational) program that typically includes 1,000 kids on U4 to U12 teams.

Tryouts for the various teams are typically held in the spring and the season for most teams begins in August or September.

Over the years there has been some misunderstanding about the club’s mission, but the club offers programs for youth of all skill levels, not just those who play at an advanced level.

“We absolutely want all kids to come and play here,” Hasenstab said. “If we have enough interest I would gladly organize a U18 developmental team for kids who just want to kick the ball around. Kids of any level are welcomed here.”

The club fields some very competitive teams and club officials place an emphasis on coaching quality, which may have contributed to the misconception that the club is for advanced players.

“We make sure all our coaches are licensed and trained,” Hasenstab said. “We don’t compromise on that; our coaches have to be trained and have a background check and all that. Maybe that is where the misconception comes from that we are more elite.”

Each year the club hosts several regional tournaments that attract teams from surrounding states. On Aug. 30-31, Summerville Soccer Club will host its annual Labor Day Academy Cup. The U9-U12 tournament is expected to include 15 teams from out of the area plus some 50 local teams. Visit www.summervillesoccerclub.com.

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