Youth soccer league keeps children active

Published 11:55 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kids usually have a lot of energy to expend during the course of a day, so setting them off to run around a field after a soccer ball could be a way to put that energy to good use.

There is an organized way to do that, enroll them in the Pearl River Futbol Club. Pearl River Futbol is a local soccer league that caters to children ages four to 18. Upon registration, each child is presented with a certificate from a local business, Delta World Tire. Owner Kent Dunn said when soccer season starts, each child is enrolling in the league is provided with the certificate, which can be redeemed for a free soccer ball.

Pearl River Futbol Club president Bridget Johnston said the Uniroyal Program, which funds the free soccer balls at Delta World Tire, also provides the league with a check when money is left over in the program. The program has donated about $1,600 in balls and funds since its inception in 2000, according to a press release from Uniroyal.

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Johnston said that if a check is presented to the organization, the money is put into the general fund and used to purchase goals or to take the teams to tournaments.

Children in the program are put into two age groups — ages 4 to 7 and 8 to 18. The younger children usually play two separate seasons a year. The first is from August to Thanksgiving and the second is from February to April. Older children usually participate in a longer season that lasts from August to May, Johnston said. There are about 370 kids in all age groups participating in Pearl River Futbol.

Johnston said she is attempting to form an adult league for people 18 and older. There was discussion about getting the current adult organization, the United Latin Soccer League, involved with the one she is attempting to form. However since her current youth league requires kids to have insurance any potential adult league would also require participants to be insured. That fact ended considerations of merging the two leagues.

Under the youth league children play 90-minute games with a 15-minute break in between. For the proposed adult league, Johnston is considering establishing 60-minute games with a 15-minute break at half-time. Games would be held every other Saturday.

The youth league also offers a British Summer Camp, where British soccer coaches come to Picayune and help the children hone their skills. While they are here, the British visitors also enjoy some things they don’t get overseas, such as Lucky Charms, Mountain Dew and the chance to shoot a gun, Johnston said.

To increase awareness about the league and to give all children in the community some fun on the field, Johnston said she is setting up an event where a family movie would be shown on the field at Friendship Park using a projector and projection screen. Concessions will be offered at the event. Once dates have been set, Johnston said she will announce the event in the Item.

Registration for the children’s league will be held at Friendship park on Jan. 16, 23 and 30. More information about the league, along with costs, can be found at