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YMCA's youth soccer season kicks off with fun

Sep. 08, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

LESAGE -- "Organized chaos" is how Tony Christian, a first-time youth soccer coach, described his experience thus far, as he stood smiling amid waist-high players in little cleats and shin guards on the opening day of YMCA Youth Soccer in Huntington.

But it's also "a blast," he said.

After a rain delay last weekend, the league got its fall season started on Saturday, drawing a lawn-full of SUVs filled with families and lawn chairs out to the Kennedy Center on W.Va. 2 on a gorgeous September morning.

"The madness -- it's crazy, but it's worth it," said Elicia Bridges, who was there with her son, 8-year-old Nicholas Spears.

"The coaches are great. They're nice, and they're dedicated," she said. And her son, who has played since age 6, loves it.

"It's very fun, and you get exercise," he said. "And sometimes, your friends play."

Kate Jones said she had heard the "horror stories" about the traffic, but was still shocked at the number of people there when they showed up Saturday. Her daughter, 6-year-old Mary Moffat Jones, was there to try her first season at soccer.

Her grandmother and namesake, Mary Moffat Jones, and grandfather, Bob, came out for the fun as well. Having been to their share of tennis matches for Kate as she was growing up and playing through college, they're well-practiced at doing the sideline thing, they said.

"We know how to carry chairs," Bob Moffat said.

After watching a while, they said they were impressed with how quickly some of the young kids learn the rules of the game.

Christian, who was coaching a team of kids under 4, said you start with small goals: Kick the ball. Kick it into the net. Let everyone on the team try to score.

"It's hard to keep them in a straight line," he joked.

It's definitely fun to watch, said Marcia Hankins of Huntington, who was there to cheer on her great-niece and nephew.

"You blink, and they grow up," she said.

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