Alexander City’s spring soccer season is back for youth athletes once again and, on the heels of the lowest lows last season, some highs followed.
Signups for the spring soccer season start Feb. 12 and 13 for youths in the birth years of 2008-2017. Youth soccer is looking to getting back on the right track following a shortened 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring season will be a definitive turn of the page, but the fall season kicked off the action for this upcoming year.
During the fall, Alexander City Youth Soccer came away with a few state titles.
“It’s the first time that I know of and I’ve been in eight years, and (Alex City Youth Soccer President) Joey (Ward) has been here seven years and it’s the first time both teams, a 12U and 10U teams, came home first in the state,” Vice president and coach Adam Young said. “Our 8U came second. That was in Dothan, the second weekend in November. We had a real successful season compared to having the virus, lower numbers so we were very successful and hoping for a big spring.”
Spring signups are just $65. Young says they had 175 kids participate in the fall term but hope to get the numbers up higher in the spring.
“We’re hoping to get back to that 250 mark this spring because I think most people are just ready to get out and do something,” Young said. “From what we’ve seen in the fall it’s been a great opportunity to get outside, spread out, kids get some exercise and you’re not inside a building so you’re not getting close.”
Ward hopes the same in numbers.
“We’re hoping that they’re high. I’ve had a lot of emails, texts and calls about when is sign-ups. It’s sort of harder to get it out there cause we’re not able to mass it out there to the school system. But with COVID, they don’t want a lot of stuff going back and forth so now it’s social media and signs on the side of the road.”
The decision last year to stop play when the pandemic started was not easy. Unlike everyone else, the youth soccer program shut down, which crushed the hearts of very young kids.
“A lot of kids that come out and play this – this is the only sport that they do,” Young said. “We do it fall and spring. When that was shut down, we had a lot of kids coming out here on their own just during the summer to play by themselves. It was tough handling refunds and hoping there was a fall season. We had no trouble once we said we were starting back fall season and people were glad to come back.”
Ward recalls that time where the program’s board had to make that call.
“It was hard,” Ward said. “At the end of the day, we are dads. It’s hard to tell my son we ain’t gonna play because it’s raining. Now I gotta tell my son we ain’t gonna play at all. It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day because of the unknowns, I think it was the right thing to do.”
The youth soccer team plays based on AHSAA sanctions. When the high schools returned to play in the fall, so too did Alex City’s youth soccer program. Ward says that when the high school is cleared to play, they’re cleared to play.