Other brand of football is also strong in town

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 2, 2002

The Demopolis youth soccer league had another good season, said Stephen Gutshall, league director.

However, the number of teams this year were reduced. "Last year we had a whole bunch of little teams in some younger groups," he said. Those teams were consolidated into bigger teams.

Unfortunately, the league had a lot more rainouts this year. "It seemed like every Thursday it rained," he said. The league played on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Next year, there will be some set makeup times for rainouts.

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The league is run by a board of approximately 12 volunteers who set the calendar, work under the rules of the American Youth Soccer organization and try "to give the kids the best soccer experience they can have," Gutshall said.

They always need volunteers of coaches and officiating. "That’s where we struggle," he said. "We’re willing to teach anybody anything they want to know about the game.

There are usually 11 players to a team. Teams in the younger age groups (under age eight) can have as few five on a team.

The league recently hosted the area tournament where teams from Montgomery to play with Demopolis teams for the chance to advance to the state tournament.

Three teams from Demopolis advanced to Huntsville, however, the teams did not place.

The results from the area tournament were:

U12 division

Hill (Demopolis) beat Stockman (Montgomery);

U14 division

Bourke (Mtg) beat Daniels (Dem); Rorie (Dem) over Daniels (Dem); Bourke (Mtg) over Rorie (Dem);

U16/19 division

Simpson (Mtg) over Rivas (Dem); Lawrence (Mtg) over Meador (Dem); Lawrence (Mtg) over Rivas (Dem); Simpson (Mtg) over Meador (Dem).

The Demopolis league has been running only several years, and it is still in its infancy, Gutshall said. "We’ve (now) got the first groups who have seen their brothers and sisters play."

Although Demopolis High School has a soccer team, for local teams to be competitive, you have to start them in the middle school. Gutshall is hopeful a team will emerge at the middle school.

The Demopolis SportsPlex offers six soccer fields, five of them with lighting. The city Park and Recreation department has made the commitment to the sport, he said.

When Demopolis hosted the state tournament last year there were games that up to 8 and 8:30 p.m. In contrast, games in Huntsville had to be called by 5:30 p.m. because most of their fields are not lit.

Two years from now, the state tournament will return to Demopolis.

Gutshall said there will be a spring soccer league with registration in late February or early March. This is truncated season they put in before baseball.