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AYSA soccer camp ends, but registration now open

After three days filled with plenty of practice, plenty of fun, and one unmistakable Irish accent, the Alabama Youth Soccer Association Summer Soccer Camp ended Wednesday at the SportPlex. But the fall season for Demopolis’s youth soccer players is just getting started.

Registration for the 2005 season officially began last Monday and is open to all interested players ranging in age from 5 to 18. It will end Saturday, August 27, with the annual “Soccerfest” 3-v-3 tournament at the SportPlex. Applications can be picked up at Omni Sports.

Demopolis youth soccer board member Dr. Peter Keen, who says that all of this week’s soccer campers would be involved in the fall league, “no question,” is optimistic that the league will continue its recent growth after several years of declining participation.

“10 years ago we had 500 kids,” he said, before league enrollment started to dwindle. “Now the numbers are climbing up again. We have a good board and they’re doing a good job. The league is getting back up to where it was. 250 to 300 would be good numbers for us this year. We thought we’d have 150 last year and we had 200, so we’ll see.”

Keen says that he hopes to have three or four full teams in all seven of Demopolis’s age divisions, which range from U-18 (17-and-18-year-olds) down through U-16, U-14, and all the way to U-6. To have the kind of leaguewide success Keen is hoping for, he says the soccer board will need all the volunteer help it can get.

“Hopefully everyone will come out and get involved,” he says. “We need people to step up and help. People last year told me ‘I didn’t know about it’…we’ll, now here’s a chance to find out and get involved.”

The 2005 season is already off to a solid start with the AYSA’s second annual Demopolis camp. Keen said the camp was a big hit with Demopolis’s young players, thanks in large part to coaches John Andrews (an Ireland native whose accent helped make him a camp favorite) and AYSA Assistant Director of Coaching Mark Prizant.

“It was fantastic,” Keen said. “With Andrews and Mark, the kids got a great couple of coaches. Andrews, they loved him. They really enjoyed themselves.”