Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Serious about their soccer

New group proves community is crazy for its kicks

July 3, 2007

There is new evidence of the soccer epidemic in Basehor-Linwood.

The Basehor-Linwood Soccer Association was started this year in an effort to continue the growth of the sport in the community.

The group's mission statement reads:

"To promote the game of soccer, to be an information resource for parents and to provide opportunities for soccer skills development to all ages of youth throughout the Basehor-Linwood community."

The group formed in January after several months of planning. They are currently applying for nonprofit status.

"We decided if we wanted to get the community behind soccer, we needed to do something about it," Vice President Elly Seaman said.

The group has no association with the high school. They do have the blessing of BLHS athletic director Joe Keeler as well as soccer coach Kevin Vincent.

The success of Vincent's programs, spurred by breakthrough seasons by the boys and girls team, played a roll in the association's formation.

"I think our association is really going to grow, and a major reason is because they are doing well," Seaman said. "Hopefully one thing will feed off of another."

Seaman said it was important to start the organization because of BLHS's smaller stature in the soccer community.

"My son has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old and he loves the game," Seaman said. "Being at a 4A school, we don't have the communication or the opportunity that people 10 miles from us have because the schools they go to let them know what it takes to be a competitive soccer player early on.

"Our boys wanted to be more competitive, but it cost a lot of money and time. We have so few players on our high school team that have played premier ball. When we play Mill Valley, almost all of their kids have played soccer for several years. We want the opportunity for the people that want to play to have the knowledge of what it takes to get there. Getting kids started playing younger and keeping them playing will improve the competitive position of the high school teams."

The organization has big aspirations. Seaman said long-term goals are to set up a Web site and provide scholarships for high school athletes that want to continue soccer careers into college.

Several high school soccer parents including Seaman formed the idea for BLSA with Susan Murrell last summer. Murrell is now the group's president. Cindy Harvey and Laura Smith act as treasurers.

Individual group membership costs $10. A family membership is $15. The group also accepts donations. BLSA's address is: PO Box 310, Basehor, KS66007.

The group conducted their first soccer camp from June 18-22. 42 campers practiced for three hours a day under the supervision of Kansas Rush Soccer Coaches.

"It was a huge success," Seaman said. "The coolest thing was all the high schoolers that came to help. They donated their entire weeks. Some of them took off of work."

BLHS athletes helping included Sam Seaman, Alex Ziegler, Ryan Sirridge, Matt Murrell, Kyle Allen, Jessica Smith, Stephen Millison, Justin Gripka, Nick Stevens and Melissa Seaman.

Vincent also visited with campers on two separate occasions.

"We love seeing kids play soccer," Seaman said. "It is such a good sport, because you have at least 18 kids that can play on the team. It isn't exclusionary. You just need a pair of cleats and a ball. It's a cool game."

BLSA is hoping Vincent is about to get a big upgrade in facilities. A $39.9 million October mail-in referendum includes the construction of a soccer complex in proximity of the high school.

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