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Soccer program should receive funds

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By The Staff

Editor:

I have a son who will be going into the fifth grade  at Cartmell Elementary next year. He currently enjoys playing for the school basketball, and for parks and rec. soccer and he also ran for the middle school track team. Although he has also played baseball in the past and enjoyed that as well. He has always been an excellent student. This was the first year for grades and he made honor roll all year. I am a very supportive parent who believes school and education comes first and sports later. My son has always been able to handle both.

This year he was given the opportunity to play soccer in the spring, therefore decided with track and the chance to play soccer he would much rather do that then to play baseball. Now mind you, I enjoy watching baseball and understand baseball better. However, I do believe that the children should be given the chance to play the sport they want to play, not what their parents want them to play. The team he played on consisted of children from both fourth and fifth grade levels. This team had, on most days, 10 students show for the games. We never had to forfeit due to not enough players. This meant we always had at least eight kids show. Out of the 10 kids on this team none had played baseball prior except my son and one other boy. To these children soccer is what they want to do and soccer would be their life if needed. If there wasn’t a team this year these kids would not be playing any other sport.

I have heard a great deal of talk about middle school soccer, and I know my son would be the first to sign up if there were a team. Now some of the talk I heard was great. That Greg Dameron is willing to coach is great. He is great with the kids and knows a great deal about soccer.

However, some talk I have heard is not so great. The lack of funding greatly concerns me. As a parent with two children in the Carroll County School System, I am here to tell you my kids have done just about everything the school has offered — basketball, baseball, soccer, cheerleading, clubs. I have never turned down an activity due to paying for it. I know that even through school, with basketball we had to pay a $25 sign-up fee and I just paid over $150 for two soccer camps this summer. With cheerleading for my kindergartener, I paid $105 for uniforms and extras. I know there are other parents who will be more then happy to help with fees and/ or help do fundraisers for fees if needed. Through out my years being in Carroll County, I have noticed the parents here are willing to shell out the money if it means their child can play a sport they want or if it helps keep kids in sports.

I have also heard talk that there won’t be a team due to the fact that it will take away from other sports. I think this is the most shameful excuse ever. So what if a child would prefer soccer over baseball or football? If the child excels in it and keeps them out of trouble does it really matter? There have been studies that show children in sports tend to do better academically. No where in these studies does it say which sport helps them the most. It keeps our children’s minds active and their bodies active. Isn’t that the most important thing for our children? Also as I stated previously, most of the children in my son’s soccer team this past spring did not play any other sport during this time. Therefore, that team did not take from any other sport. My son and another child gave up baseball. My son played for parks and recreation, and the other child played for a traveling team. I know that both teams went on to play with out these children and did fine.

The last excuse I heard as to why there might not be a soccer team for the middle school was there was not enough interest. The first example of there being enough interest is we had a team this year. Yes it was fourth and fifth graders but these students are now fifth and sixth graders who are still interested in playing. Second, I know of other kids who went to other counties to play. Third, how do you know there is no interest if you are not willing to have a tryout to see who would be interested. If you hold a tryout and not enough students tryout then, fine you can’t have a team. But if you just say there is not enough interest with out giving these students a chance to prove they are interested, then how do you truly know.

All I am saying is give these students a chance — a real chance — to prove that they want to play soccer for their school and that we have the parents who will be involved enough to make sure they will have the funds. My son will have one more year that he will be playing for parks and rec. After that, they usually don’t have a team because the middle school’s students start practicing with the high school. This would be enough if they were able to play. But the school league states they must be in high school to play games. If this happens, my child will be going to a different county to play soccer. He wants to play, and if that means going somewhere else, then that is what I will do to make sure he continues to play. Please keep this in mind that there are other parents that feel this way and as a county, I think we need to stick together. Our money needs to go to our schools and our children. But I will do what is best for my child. Please take in to consideration these children who want to play and the fact that they have supporting parents to make a team happen.

Stephanie Marshall