SILER CITY — Few sports organizations in Chatham have been busier than Siler City Futbol Club this summer.
But that was just the calm before the storm.
After months of tryouts, practices and pickup games, the club’s two travel soccer teams — in the Boys U11 and U13 age groups — are set to play their first-ever games at the Labor Day Shootout in Greensboro.
Both teams are slated to play two games on Saturday (Sept. 4) and at least one on Sunday (Sept. 5), with the chance they could play more if they continue to win.
“The teams have been practicing together regularly in preparation for these first games,” Keith Shea, Siler City FC’s travel team director, wrote in an email to the News + Record. “In addition to the games, in my experience, weekend tournaments like this can be a great way for the players and their families to develop stronger bonds with one another. So I’m hoping our teams will find success at this tournament both on and off the field and represent the club and community in a way everyone can be proud of.”
In May, the club announced that it would offer travel soccer teams this fall with tryouts taking place later that month, a major change from its original stance that it would only compete in recreational competition during its inaugural year.
Staying on schedule, SCFC hosted boys tryouts on May 18 and 20, with girls tryouts being held the following week; each was met with an impressive reception. In total, around 80 players showed up to try out, including an even split of about 40 boys and 40 girls.
“Given this was our first time out and that there wasn’t much time between setting the dates and holding the tryouts for us to get the word out,” Shea said, “it was great to see that much excitement and engagement from the community.”
From those 40 boys, SCFC was able to create both the U11 and U13 teams, which Shea hopes to see compete in at least three or four local tournaments this fall until mid-November, with Greensboro acting as the first stepping stone.
Shea mentioned that both teams will also participate in the Triangle Futsal League this winter, a U.S. Youth Futsal-sanctioned league that “deliver(s) an exceptional, unique and innovative Futsal experience designed to bring out the very best in its players’ skill sets,” according to its website.
Futsal is a form of indoor soccer with smaller courts, less players — five in futsal, 11 in soccer — on each side at once, among other differences.
However, while participation numbers were high on both sides, the age range on the girls’ side varied so much — the players who tried out having birth years ranging from 2003-2012 — that it only would have been possible for SCFC to form a U17 girls team this year, with many 14- and 15-year-old players having to play above their typical age group.
“We pursued this, but ultimately couldn’t get enough players to commit and we had to move on,” Shea said. “We are looking into ways to offer some girls programs in the near future to keep these players engaged with the game, and maybe start building the foundation for girls travel teams in the future.”
One of the ways that Shea and SCFC kept players engaged this summer — both girls and boys — was through regular weekly pickup games at Chatham Middle School’s soccer field, allowing players across Siler City and the rest of Chatham to play against others for free.
In addition to pickup games and preparing for the upcoming travel season, SCFC is still gearing up for its recreational season this fall, with practices starting last week for both girls and boys teams after registration opened in July.
“Summer for me was a much-needed family vacation, followed by splitting time between my real job and Siler City FC,” Shea said. “(But) in the next few weeks, I think we are going to be plenty busy just dealing with what’s in front of us for rec and travel teams.”
Players can still register for the fall recreation season, which begins Sept. 11, by visiting the Siler City FC website at www.silercityfutbolclub.org or emailing email@example.com. Boys and girls ages 4 through 12 are eligible. The season cost is $70, along with an added $20 uniform fee. The deadline to register is the day of the first game, Sept. 11.
Additionally, there are a few spots remaining for both the U11 and U13 boys travel teams. Any interested players born between 2009 and 2012 should contact Shea via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.
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