Watching a group of youngsters chasing after a soccer ball is one of those sights that give you the feeling that all is indeed well with the world. For the young players, coaches, referees and families, of course, it's much more than an afternoon's fun. It's preparation for the serious business of life. The Morrisville Soccer Club (MSC) began in 1983 for residents and grew to include the surrounding towns like Stowe, Cambridge, Johnson, Hyde Park and Eden. There are now about two hundred players from ages pre-K to high school.
MSC President Tom Stames says that it is important to encourage children to participate in sports with other children: "We encourage our area youth to be active and promote good sportsmanship. Our players learn teamwork and get started in an active lifestyle at an early age." The Mission of the Club is "to instill in the youth of our local area, principles of good citizenship, good sportsmanship, and teamwork, through knowledge of and association with the competitive sport of soccer, achieved through the active support and teaching of soccer within the town at all age levels."
Stames says that players start as young as three years old and stay with the MSC all the way through high school. The neighboring towns now have their own programs and all participate in a fall league. The program has expanded to create "more competitive travel teams that compete in a spring league that plays throughout Vermont in the Vermont Soccer League," says Stames. The travel teams have been very successful and MSC is recognized as a club that consistently produces good players.
High school age players can look forward to a European soccer trip, says Stames: "One of the highlights of our program is our annual EuroTrip. We send a team of high school age players to Europe every year summer to compete in a tournament. We alternate each year sending a boys team and girls team. They spend a week touring and competing in a soccer tournament. It is a great experience for all."
Summer soccer camps are offered in conjunction with the Peoples Academy High School, for players ages four to fifteen. Separate groups for different ages and levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced players - along with a 9:1 player-coach ratio give players four days of quality training.
Older players are encouraged to go for referee certification. MSC relies on volunteers to organize, coach, referee and facilitates program. Stames says "Our volunteers meet year round to plan and carry out the necessary functions of our organization." Their participation keeps the organization and the game vibrant, and helps players to learn soccer skills, strategy, teamwork and sportsmanship.
MSC has grown to become the largest youth sports organization in Lamoille County. The Club is also highly regarded as a feeder program for the local middle and high school soccer teams. Many players have moved on to the Peoples Academy High School soccer team and several have made it to the All State High School soccer team.