BY SANDY WELCH THOMPSON
Have you been out to the Lake Country Soccer fields lately?
I am there quite a bit actually because I run the concession for the soccer club. That particular duty has given me the opportunity to really see what this complex has become.
Many of you have been at those fields off and off for many years either as a coach, a parent cheering on your kiddos or even as a volunteer. Together many of us have seen the transition of the landscape and I gotta tell ya, it’s impressive.
In the last several seasons, under the leadership of the Mannford Soccer Club, this complex has evolved into quite an extraordinary asset to the town of Mannford.
Go check it out. It’s located smack in the middle of the Keystone Loop and is truly a gift to the families that utilize it. Not only can your kids be assured of a safe environment in which to practice, many parents also utilize the newly improved road around the complex to walk, while their kids are learning the finer points of the game.
Currently, there are more than 130 kids that are registered to play this season. That’s a huge number for a small town
There are teams ranging in age from U6 to U19, so clearly the interest in the game of soccer crosses many age groups locally.
The complex has nine fields that accommodate the needs of all those teams. That is a feat within itself.
“Sometimes it takes some creative scheduling, but we make it work,” said JD McNatt, MSC Vice President. “The goal is to accommodate each of our teams, even when changes occur because of weather, cancellations, etc.”
Almost completely self-funded on what most sports clubs would consider a shoe-string budget, the club provides a facility where families can come out to enjoy their kids’ games, grab a cheap cup of coffee or a hot dog, and build relationships that will last a lifetime.
The board and coaching staffs are filled on a volunteer basis. This handful of people, led by Club President Joe Sears, ensures this club and the complex are ready for action every week of the season.
“We have been fortunate to have such committed people in our club,” said Joe. “These are dedicated people that give their personal time to register our athletes, maintain the fields and provide a tremendous level of service to our community and our club.”
On any give Field Work Day, you will see volunteer crews out mowing, picking up trash, painting, laying sod or performing general maintenance on the facility. Joe said what makes this group special is that they are donating their time and efforts on top of working full-time jobs, coaching and any other commitments they have.
Along with a tremendous facility to enjoy, athletes may also take advantage of the small used equipment room, where they can exchange shin guards or cleats for a different style or size as necessary. And realizing there are some families that simply cannot afford the sport, though restricted in dollars – the club still manages to offer a limited number of scholarships for area families who need registration and uniform assistance.
Joe said the club is constantly working on improvements to the complex.
“Field lights are the next item of focus,” he said. “The project is about $15,000 but well worth the investment.”
Lights would allow for extending game play into the evening hours and YES, the club does take donations toward the cause if you are interested. Just contact Joe at MSC, www.mannfordsoccerclub.com.
Check out the facility changes on the MSC Facebook page as well. The transformation over the years has been amazing. Better yet, if you haven’t been out there in a long time, come on a Saturday and take in a few games. Like I said, I run the concession. Come early, the first cup of coffee is free!
Soccer Interest Is Achieving Its Goal
BY SANDY WELCH THOMPSON