Bright sunshine and a gentle breeze greeted the Rohnert Park Soccer Club as they stepped onto the grounds of Rancho Cotate High School last Sat., May 11 to kick off their annual U8 to U14 competitive tryouts for the fall season.
The Rohnert Park Soccer Club (RPSC) isn’t as large or well known as the clubs in bigger cities like Santa Rosa or Petaluma, but their tryouts brought in enough to fill the Rancho Cotate football stadium. Kids aged eight to fourteen sprinted across the field, wove between cones and kicked the ball for everything they were worth—all for the honor of placing on a competitive team.
Yet why choose competitive soccer at all? Some might feel eight is a little young to introduce the kids to a tournament sport. And besides, the RPSC hosts its own recreational league and most of its age groups can at least a field a couple teams in each division.
Well, as RPSC’s U7 and U8 Age Coordinator, Bill Feeny, put it, a competitive league is all about finding new opponents.
“Me personally? I’m done playing Rohnert Park teams,” Feeny said. “Every year the kids play each other and then they all move up. They’re playing the same opponents year, after year, after year. I’d like to take my daughter’s team and start playing other towns.”
And that diversity can be hard to find—in both the opponents and the sport.
These days travel baseball, basketball and even soccer all have their own year round leagues. This can be good thing. It lets kids focus on what they like and avoid they don’t like, but cross training, especially in a child’s younger years, can be an important. It helps avoid wear and tear on the body and teaches them new skills, which they can apply to their main sport once they’re ready to return.
That, among other reasons, was why parent and RPSC volunteer, Dylan Mcreynolds, urged his son, Dylan Mcreynolds Jr., to try out for the RPSC’s competitive league. Mcreynolds is a huge proponent of youth sports. He’s spent his time volunteering with baseball, basketball, and, of course, soccer, and has followed his son all through Dylan’s athletic career.
“I grew up playing sports. I was influenced by a lot of coaches here and I love giving back what I learned from those guys. Generation to generations,” Mcreynolds said. “It creates a better athlete to cross train them in different sports. Basketball gives them lateral movement, soccer is good for footwork and then going back to baseball they’re a more complete player.”
Parents interested in enrolling their sons or daughters in the RPSC who missed the competitive tryouts need not fear. The RPSC will be hosting a makeup day for the U8 to U15 divisions, along with tryouts for their U16 through U19 divisions, at Eagle Park Fri., May 17.