As one drives into Camp Mitchell, they now may find it difficult to find an easy parking spot. Soccer seems to have become a highlight for many kids in Craig. Kids regularly have their soccer balls cuddled under their arms and are ready to go.
“I started a youth Recreational Soccer program 10 years ago,” Robin Nobles shared. “Last year we were delighted to become affiliated with CCRCA, Craig County Recreation and Conservation Association.”
Nobles had the field divided into four parts with each corner set up different, so the kids would learn the many soccer moves to play well. She had calendars with the season schedule for the teams as well as a sign up sheet for parents to bring water and snacks for at least one game.
She also noted that on the last game, October 26, that it will be the night they hand out trophies, eat ice cream and the kids will get to have fun in the bouncy house she has set up inside the Camp Mitchell building.
Nobles shared a wealth of information about soccer to the parents, adding with a grin, “The first game is the best…they cry and you will see them do things that by the last game, you will see a huge difference.” The kids also have an extra benefit, as Nobles is a certified nurse, so there is someone there if attention is needed.
Rocket Soccer stresses the importance of fair and equal play, building self-confidence and sportsmanship. “This is the goal of our program,” Nobles said. “Winning has just been a bonus for several of the teams,” Nobles added with a smile.
Last year, Rocket Soccer had about seventy children participating. “This year we have grown to just over eighty,” she said. “But we always welcome more players who may sign up until the middle of September.”
The Recreation Soccer Program is only a fall program that has two divisions: The Tiny Rockets and The Big Rockets.
“Our ‘Tiny Rockets’ are for ages three to seven and they practice on Mondays and have games on Thursdays,” Nobles shared. They play on very small fields, are not assigned to teams, do not have coaches and there are no goalies but they do have a referee. “Every child plays the whole game,” Nobles added. “Watch soccer on TV and you can learn a little about what is going on.”
During the mini games, the referees, who are usually middle and high school soccer players, help direct the games. Also, parents are encouraged to be on the field during games to assist their child if needed. The goal is for the child to enjoy the game and get comfortable as they learn.
The mini games are divided into four eight to 10 minutes quarters and this division practices and plays in New Castle.
The second division is the ‘Big Rockets’ that includes kids ages seven to 19. “They practice here but play mostly in Covington,” Nobles said. “Kids who are at least seven may choose between the two divisions, depending on what the parent wants.”
‘Big Rockets’ are divided into two teams, U-10 and U-15, based on player’s birthdays, however, players can play ‘up’ if approved.
U-10 plays nine against nine. The U-15 older teams play the standard eleven per team. The ‘Big Rockets’ have goalies and there are two coaches assigned to each team. They also have home games in New Castle. All the teams follow the Youth Soccer Association’s recommendation for modified soccer based on age.
“Our U-15 team has been undefeated for the past two years!” Nobles exclaimed. Dedication to their players has all of their coaches in the process of obtaining, if not having already, the ‘National F-license’.
Tiny Rockets have their first game September 7. They will play about eight games, and will finish the first week in November. ‘Big Rockets’ have their first game in the next week.
Nobles works diligently in keeping costs as low as possible for parents. She presented them with a huge box of cleats and also some shin guards. She only asked that as their child outgrows them, to donate them back.
Registration fee is $35.00 for Tiny Rockets and includes a jersey. Big Rockets is also $35 but does not include a jersey. Players who do not have a blue jersey from past years may purchase a new one for $10.
For more information or to sign up a child, contact Robin Nobles at (540) 765-7805. Nobles concluded; “All kids are welcome and we hope to implement some fun and good things into them while they play.”