Unless a handful of community members step up to help lead Osceola’s youth soccer program, the offering may fade away.
Paul Dodge, leader of the local American Youth Soccer Organization, reported that nearly 100 families have expressed interest in their children joining the program this year. However, he needs five to 10 more volunteers to fill coaching and referee positions, and others to sit on the organization’s board.
“There has been organized soccer in Osceola for more than 30 years,” Dodge said. “I’ve had the opportunity to organize the local program for four years. I’d be pleased to help continue the tradition of soccer in Osceola but I can’t do it without help.”
After telling parents at a Feb. 18 meeting that the program could be at risk of ending he reported that a few expressed interest in helping out.
“This isn’t just a problem in Osceola,” he said. “It’s throughout the area. Some communities have discontinued soccer because they couldn’t find the volunteers.”
While Dodge waits for more people to come forward, he is taking names of interested enrollees. However, he’s not promising a program this spring.
“I’m going to group the kids, look at how many volunteers I have and see if we can cover it with the volunteers we have,” he said. “I can’t put teams together until I have volunteers lined up.”
According to Dodge, knowledge of the game is essential if a volunteer is willing to learn.
“I got a text from parent,” he said. “It said, ‘I would be willing to help out at most practices, but I don’t know much about soccer.’
“That’s not really a requirement,” he explained. “We offer training for parents who know nothing about soccer.”
The program usually runs from the last week of April to second week of June. Those interested in volunteering should email Dodge at firstname.lastname@example.org.